30 Mar New Coronavirus Safety Guidelines

There are new Coronavirus safety guidelines. Both the state of California and the federal government have certain workplace safety regulations. These regulations set minimum safety requirements that employers must meet. Employers that fail to take adequate steps to protect their employers can face legal consequences. New Coronavirus safety guidelines highlights responsibility to protect employees These safety regulations are still in effect in the midst of the global Coronavirus outbreak. This means that your employer still has an obligation to take particular steps to keep you safe. While there are no workplace safety regulations that were intended specifically for a global pandemic, there are some regulations which apply to the current situation. For example, hospitals, clinics, and other medical providers are required to take steps to protect workers from aerosol transmissible diseases. California has also issued new guidance to childcare providers regarding protecting their employers from the spread of the Coronavirus. While medical providers are subject to particularly strict guidelines regarding protecting workers from communicable diseases, all employers have a general duty to provide a safe workplace. Accordingly, the state of California has also published general guidance for employers not covered by more specific regulations. Safety regulations apply to Coronavirus outbreak The bottom line is that all employees have a right to a safe workplace. This does not change in moments of crisis. In fact, it’s more important than ever that employers abide by regulations that will protect their employees. Even a shortage of equipment, such as those experienced by some healthcare providers, does not necessarily excuse employers from fulfilling their obligation to provide a safe workplace. If you believe your employer has not taken appropriate steps to protect you or your workplace from Coronavirus, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free initial consultation. For updates on this and more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And like us on Facebook....

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Hearsay Evidence

10 Mar What is hearsay evidence?

You've probably heard the word hearsay, but what is hearsay evidence? Colloquially, people often use hearsay to mean something like "second hand information." But in the courtroom, hearsay is a term of art with a specific legal meaning. It's one of the most important rules of evidence. It's also one of the most complicated. Accordingly, to evaluate the admissibility of a piece of evidence (whether that evidence can be used in court), it's important to understand the hearsay rule . What is hearsay evidence? Hearsay evidence is evidence of a statement that was made other than by a witness while testifying at the hearing and that is offered to prove the truth of the matter stated. There's a few parts to this, so let's take it piece by piece. First, it's important to note that "statement" includes both oral and written statements.  The second part just means statements made outside of court. The final part, "offered to prove the truth of the matter stated," is more complicated. Suppose I want to prove that Jim was driving a red car at the time of the accident. Now say Juan said to Christine: "Jim was driving a red car at the time of the accident." Juan's statement to Christine would be evidence that Jim was driving a red car at the time of the accident. But it would be hearsay if Christine testified to that statement to prove Jim was driving a red car. That's because I'm using the statement "Jim was driving a red car," to prove Jim was driving a red car. Now suppose I want to prove that Christine believed that Jim was driving a red car at the time of the accident. In this case, Christine's testimony that Juan told her that Jim was driving a red car would not be hearsay. That's because I'm not offering that statement to prove that Jim was driving a red car. Instead, I'm using it to prove only that Christine believed Jim was driving a red car. Therefore, it is not offered to prove the truth of the matter stated (that Jim was driving a red car) and is not hearsay. What is the significance of evidence being hearsay? So that's hearsay. But what is the significance of the hearsay rule? In general, hearsay evidence is inadmissible in court. So, if one side tries to offer hearsay evidence, the other side can object and ask the judge not to allow the evidence. If the judge determines the evidence is hearsay, the judge will not allow that evidence to be admitted (unless there's an exception, which is discussed below). But remember, a statement is only hearsay if it's offered to prove the truth of the statement. So a statement might be inadmissible for one purpose (to prove that Jim was driving a red car), but admissible for another (to prove that Christine believed Jim was driving a red car). Specifically, lawyers often use out of court statements to show things like knowledge or intent. If there is no reason to offer the evidence other than the proving the truth of the matter stated, the party seeking to offer the evidence will need to find an exception to the hearsay rule. Also, note that when an out of court statement is offered to prove something other than the truth of the matter stated, the judge will typically give the jury a special instruction. For example, take the red car example above. There, I offered Christine's testimony about Juan telling her that Jim was driving a red car to prove she believed Jim was driving a red car. This is not hearsay, but I can't use it to prove Jim was driving a red car. So the judge might instruct the jury that it may not consider that evidence in deciding whether Jim was driving a red car. Of course, in practice, it's difficult for jurors to consider evidence for one issue and ignore it for another, but that's the rule. Exceptions to the hearsay rule Hearsay is subject to numerous exceptions. That is, in certain situations, a statement may be admissible even if it is technically hearsay. For example, probably the most common is the opposing party statement or party admission exception. Under this rule, one side can freely offer statements made by the opposing party, even if the opposing party made those statements out of court. For example, say Ann sues Casey for stealing Ann's purse. Ann could call Ali to testify that Casey told him that he stole Ann's purse to prove that Casey stole Ann's purse. Normally, this would be inadmissible hearsay, since it's an out of court statement and Ann is offering it to prove the truth of what's stated. But, because it's the statement of the opposing party, Ann can offer this statement. Keep in mind, however, that this only applies to statements made by an opposing party. You cannot bring in your own statements under this exception. Policy rationale for the hearsay rule and it's exceptions The hearsay rule has numerous other exceptions. There's too many to list here, but thinking about the purpose of the hearsay rule can be a shortcut to finding exceptions. The hearsay rule exists because statements made under oath, in court, where the witness is subject to cross-examination by attorneys, are more reliable than those made casually on the street. If somebody is making statements that are damaging to your case, you want to be able to cross-examine them to test the reliability of those statements and the trustworthiness of the person making them. You can't do this unless that person is in court under oath. A lie can be debunked under cross-examination, but even an egregious lie is difficult to rebut with no opportunity to confront the liar. But sometimes, this isn't as important. For example, the opposing party statement exception discussed above makes sense in light of the purpose of the hearsay rule. You can't cross-examine yourself so there's no need to ensure an opportunity to cross-examine. Additionally, there's another exception for statements against...

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Bullying and harassment at work

23 Oct Bullying and harassment at work

Many people experience what they consider bullying and harassment at work. While bullying and harassment is morally wrong, it's not always unlawful. In fact, the most common forms of this conduct are not prohibited by state or federal employment law. That's because the major anti-harassment laws define harassment fairly narrowly. Much of what ordinary people would describe as bullying or harassment does not fit into that definition. So when does bullying and harassment at work become unlawful? When bullying and harassment at work becomes unlawful The two major laws prohibiting workplace harassment are Title VII and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or the FEHA. Title VII is federal law, the FEHA is state law. They both apply in California. Title VII and the FEHA mostly take the same approach to harassment. Both prohibit harassment, but only harassment based on certain characteristics. For example, if your boss is simply a jerk that is constantly rude and demeaning to you, that's probably not harassment as defined by Title VII or the FEHA. But if your boss is rude and demeaning to you because of your race or gender, that may be actionable harassment. A good way to illustrate this is a manager who insults your intelligence. This comes up quite often and can fall on either side of line. If your manager tells you she doesn't think you're smart or good at your job, that's probably not harassment under Title VII or the FEHA. Now suppose your boss says that she doesn't think African Americans are as intelligent as other groups and implies you can't do your job well because you're African American. This is the type of conduct that Title VII and the FEHA were enacted to address. In the simplest terms, bullying and harassment become unlawful when based on a protected characteristic. It's important to note that sexual harassment is different from other types of harassment. Sexual harassment is unlawful under any circumstances and it doesn't matter what the harasser's motive is. When is harassment based on a protected characteristic? Garden variety harassment isn't typically unlawful, but when does it cross the line? The strongest cases generally involve repeated use of slurs or other explicitly derogatory comments. This can also be conduct such as making threats or drawing offensive symbols around the workplace. But in most cases, things will be a little more complicated. Just because your harasser hasn't repeatedly used the most offensive possible words to refer to you doesn't mean it's not harassment. For example, the use of stereotypes can be evidence of unlawful harassment. Typical bullying or rude treatment is not unlawful. And it's not necessarily a question of severity. Even severe bullying might not be unlawful if it isn't based on some protected characteristic. But it's a fine line and it's not always obvious the kinds of conduct that rises to the level of unlawful harassment. If you're not an attorney, you may overlook conduct that crosses the line. Accordingly, if you think you are being bullied or harassed at work, you should speak with an employment attorney, even if you're not sure whether it's based on a protected characteristic. If you believe your are experiencing harassment at work, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram....

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Follow us on Twitter

15 Oct The Khadder Law Firm is Now on Twitter

The Khadder Law Firm is now on Twitter! We'll be tweeting out links to our blogs and posting about new developments in employment law. To stay up to date with the Khadder Law Firm, give us a follow. You can also follow us on Instagram. If you'd like to speak with an attorney about an employment matter, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation....

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New trial in preganancy discrimination lawsuit against the French Laundry

30 Sep Court grants new trial in French Laundry discrimination suit

The Khadder Law Firm is pleased to announce that the Honorable Judge Victoria Wood of Napa County Superior Court has granted a Khadder Law Firm client a new trial in her pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against renowned Chef Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, and the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. For several years, our client worked at Per Se, a Keller restaurant in New York. During a 2016 visit to California, she became interested in transferring to The French Laundry in Yountville. After speaking with management at The French Laundry, our client believed she had secured a position there. Before starting at The French laundry, she discovered she was pregnant. After The French Laundry learned of the pregnancy, it told our client it had no position for her. The French Laundry then denied that it ever offered our client a transfer. She retained the Khadder Law Firm and filed suit in Napa County Superior Court in September 2016. After a month-long trial during May and June of 2019, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants on each of our client's four claims. The Khadder Law Firm, along with our co-counsel, moved the court for a new trial. On September 5, 2019, Judge Wood ordered a new trial as to each of our client's four claims. Judge Wood’s order acknowledges significant irregularities in the jury deliberation process. Additionally, Judge Wood found multiple instances of attorney misconduct by the defense. Based on the strength of our client's evidence and the jury verdict, Judge Wood concluded that these irregularities were prejudicial and that “a new trial is most certainly warranted.” As of now, the court has not set a date for the new trial. For updates on this and more, follow us Twitter and Instagram. If you believe you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation....

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