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“Class Counsel displayed skills beyond those that might be expected of attorneys of comparable expertise or experience.”

- Honorable Jeffrey Hamilton, Jr.

 

“The stipulated class has been adequately represented by competent class counsel from the law firm of Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.”

- Honorable Nancy W. Stock

 

“Class counsel has extensive experience in class action matters.”

- Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez

 

“If You Feel You’re Being Cheated By You’re Current Or Former  Employer This Is Law Firm For You. I Submitted An Email Too There Website  And Within A Few Short Hours I Got A Response… Its Nice To Know In Theses Troubling Times There’s A Law Firm Like Blumenthal Nordrehaug & Bhowmik That Will Stick Up For The Rights Of The Blue Collar Worker. Thanks Again ”

 

- David LaRue

 

“My experience dealing with Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik was fantastic. They understood the nature of my complaint, they had experience in dealing with similar cases and were extremely helpful and quick to respond throughout the process. I would not have wanted to go through this without having someone like AJ Bhowmik on my side.”

 

- Former Client DWalsh

 

“When I first emailed Blumenthal, Nordrehaug and Bhowmik, I did not expect a response that same day… They have been extremely responsive to my complaint and is moving forward in a timely manner.”

 

- Former Client MartinH

 

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Wednesday
Jan212015

Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Filed by School Teacher Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

In Swanson v. Morongo Unified School Dist., 2014 WL 7399317 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014), Lauralyn Swanson, schoolteacher for the Yucca Valley Elementary School, sued for discrimination based on medical condition. Swanson claims that after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy the district’s board of education voted against renewing Swanson’s teaching contract. She alleged a denial of reasonable accommodation and a refusal to engage in the interactive process.

While the trial court initially granted the Morongo Unified School District’s motion for summary judgment, the decision was reversed by the Court of Appeal, holding that there were triable issues of fact regarding claims made by Swanson in the suit. Specific triable issues of fact included evidence that after Swanson provided the school district with information regarding her condition and took a medical leave in order to receive proper medical treatment, the district put in place a course of conduct that was specifically designed to set Swanson up to fail with difficult assignments and a lack of appropriate resources. When she failed to successfully fulfill the impossible requirements, the district later used Swanson’s performance as an excuse for their decision not to renew her teaching contract. 

The Court also decided that the school district failed to meet its burden to negate an essential element of Swanson’s failure to accommodate claim. They didn’t present appropriate evidence exhibiting that a second grade position was not available or proof that it was not a reasonable accommodation/that the alternate positions offered to Swanson were reasonable allowing her to perform the necessary job functions to succeed. It was also held that the district failed to provide any proof that they engaged in appropriate dialogue with Swanson as required by the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

If you would like to discuss workplace discrimination based on medical condition, please get in touch immediately. Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik are the southern California employment law experts and can help you reach a resolution. 

Monday
Jan192015

Record Number of OSHA Whistleblower Investigations

OSHA has officially reached a milestone in federal whistleblower cases: they have investigated over 3,000 cases in a fiscal year. It’s the first time they have handled this many cases in one fiscal year. According to OSHA, they took on 3% more cases in 2014 (fiscal year) than they did in 2013 (fiscal year). The actual number of whistleblower complaints wasn’t disclosed by OSHA, but a study conducted by Bloomberg BNA in 2014 indicated that only 41% of the complaints made passed the initial screening process and resulted in further investigation (from cases filed 2011-2013).

The meaning behind the increase in cases investigated isn’t clear, but some point to the increased amount of media attention that is being given to substantial settlements and awards being offered to plaintiffs in whistleblower cases. The new high in case filings aside, OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee’s chairperson, E. Spieler, indicated that there had been predictions that the caseload would increase at OSHA due to the introduction of online filing for whistleblower complaints that occurred in 2013. In combination with the release of the online filing capability, findings in late 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court on whistleblower provisions (Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)) hold that statutory protection extends to a public company’s private contractors/sub-contractors.

The bulk of the cases were related to safety:

  • 1,729 filed under the anti-retaliation clause, Section 11(c)
  • 463 filed under the STAA
  • 351 filed under the Federal Railroad Safety Act

The growth of cases could spring from a 2014 memorandum of understanding between FMSCA and OSHA. The memorandum put OSHA in charge of handling cases involving commercial vehicle drivers making allegations of discrimination based on the reporting of safety issues.

For more information on safety regulations and standards in California workplaces, contact the southern California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.