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2011 Labor and Employment Law in Review: GINA, Charlie Sheen, Walmart v. Dukes

January 16, 2012

In this month's Costa Mesa, California employment lawyers newsletter, Howard Law attorney Vincent Howard reviewed key California and federal labor and employment law developments from 2011--hot topics that our Riverside, California employment lawyers blog covered over the course last year, including GINA's final regulations, the Supreme Court's ruling in the Walmart v. Dukes sex-discrimination lawsuit, and Charlie Sheen's wrongful termination lawsuit against Warner Brothers and Chuck Lorre, among others.

GINA's Final Regulations Take Effect
After the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted unanimously in late 2010, the final regulations that implement the employment provisions of GINA (Title II), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, took effect in early 2011. Title II of GINA represents the first extension of the EEOC's jurisdiction since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and makes it illegal for employers to engage in genetic testing or discriminate against employees based on genetic make-up.

Third Party Retaliation Limits Case Decided by Supreme Court
In January of last year, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thompson v. North American Stainless, a retaliation ban limits case, stating that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a company can be sued for retaliation by terminating an employee's fiancée. The case arose after a former female engineer with North American Stainless, who was engaged to a metallurgic engineer at the company--claimed to have experienced gender-based discrimination and filed a complaint with the EEOC. The female engineer's fiancée was fired three weeks after her EEOC sex-discrimination complaint was revealed, whereupon the fiancée filed his own third-party retaliation claim. As Vincent Howard reported in our California employment attorney blog, the highest court decided that third-party victims of retaliation are covered by federal protections.

Charlie Sheen Sues for Millions
One of the highest-profile employment lawsuits from 2011 that garnered massive media attention was filed by Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen in March, who sued Warner Brothers Studio and Chuck Lorre, the executive producer of Two and a Half Men, in a $100 million dollars lawsuit--for wrongful termination, breach of contract, retaliation and other Los Angeles, California labor and employment charges. Sheen's contract was reportedly terminated for health issues that allegedly led to his inability to perform his duties for the television show, for public tirades against Lorre, and for alleged substance abuse and destructive behavior. Sheen and Warner Brothers reportedly finalized a multi-million dollar settlement in September.

Supreme Court Decides Wal-Mart Gender-Discrimination Claim
In July, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its ruling on Walmart v. Dukes, the ten-year discrimination lawsuit brought by a class of female Wal-Mart employees who accused the retail giant of engaging in sex discrimination and violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In the ruling, that could have been the largest class-action gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history--the Supreme Court sided with Wal-Mart, stating that the discrimination lawsuit could not move forward as a potential class of 1.5 million female employees, who accused the retail giant of engaging in sex-discrimination in every level of employment from entry-level workers up to management. The Supreme Court found that the former and current female workers in the claim are too different to proceed as a class action unless the members had common elements to link them together as one class.

In cities throughout Orange County, California and Southern California, contact Vincent Howard at Howard Law, PC today.

Howard Law, PC Newsletter, January 2012

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

California Department of Industrial Relations, (DIR)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Related Blog Posts:

Final Regulations of Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) Issued by EEOC, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 17, 2010

Supreme Court Rules Third-Party Victim of Retaliation Has the Right to Sue, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 26, 2011

Hollywood Star Charlie Sheen and Warner Brothers Settle Multimillion Dollar Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blob, September 30, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court's Decision Sides with Wal-Mart in Sex Bias Discrimination Case, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 6, 2011

Verizon's Class Action Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Settles for $20 Million, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 11, 2011

DOL Continues to Track Down Federal Wage and Hour Law Violations in the Workplace, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 8, 2011