Posts from August 2012.

Many employers require employees to acknowledge in writing the employee’s receipt of a notice or memorandum of discipline when workplace discipline is imposed. In Paratransit, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, the California Court of Appeal held: (1) it is lawful for an employer to require an employee to sign such an acknowledgement, (2) an employee’s refusal to sign such an acknowledgement form when lawfully presented to the employee is “misconduct” as that term is defined in Unemployment Insurance Code section 1256, and (3) such “misconduct” is grounds for denying unemployment insurance benefits to an employee who is terminated for refusing to sign a discipline acknowledgement form lawfully presented to him or to her.

As employers increasingly consider adopting mandatory arbitration agreements for employment disputes following last year’s Supreme Court decision upholding class arbitration waivers in Concepcion, there is an increasing need to review old agreements and policies contained in Employee Handbooks to ensure that they do not render such attempts futile. Nowhere was this demonstrated more clearly than in the recent decision in Sparks v. Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, issued on July 31, 2012, in which the court denied the enforcement of a policy requiring arbitration because of its inclusion in a handbook which contained general language permitting an employer to change its terms unilaterally and stating that it was “not an agreement.”

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