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Robert Edward Nuddleman
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Robert Nuddleman’s Answers

79 total


  • Can in-home employers discriminate on whom they hire without being in violation of an Equal Employment Opportunity laws?

    I recently created a job post on the website Care.com to hire a caregiver for my grandmother. She is very particular and only wants a straight, white, Christian, and female caregiver. She wants me to put that in the job posting. Would this be ...

    Robert’s Answer

    California's Fair Employment and Housing Act only applies to employers with 5 or more employees. So, technically, employers with fewer than 5 employees are not subject to FEHA's anti-discrimination laws.

    That doesn't mean an employer with only one employee is free to discriminate. Under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, all persons are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments, including both private and public entities. The Unruh Civil Rights Act protects all persons against arbitrary and unreasonable discrimination by a business establishment (Civil Code section 51).

    Employers of any size should not discriminate against persons based on protected characteristics, and they certainly shouldn't advertise such discrimination.

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  • Can someone please explain any downside to a plaintiff making a 998 offer to compromise rather than a simple settlement offer?

    Plaintiff would like to make 998 offer to compromise but would like to understand better any potential pitfalls or reasons to simply make a settlement offer without the 998?

    Robert’s Answer

    A 998 offer is a special kind of offer that can impact how the costs are allocated. Depending on the type of case, the 998 offer can be very valuable. Defendants tend to make 998 offers more frequently than plaintiffs, because there may be some liability but the parties disagree on damages. When the defendant makes a 998 offer, the plaintiff's costs may be cut off as of the date of the offer unless the plaintiff does better than the offer at trial.

    998 offers from plaintiffs occur less frequently, because the defendant is going to have to pay the plaintiff's costs if the plaintiff wins regardless of whether the plaintiff does better or worse than the plaintiff's 998 offer. The real benefit for plaintiffs comes with respect to expert witness costs that are not otherwise recoverable as a "cost." If a defendant rejects the plaintiff's 998 offer and fails to obtain a more favorable judgement or award, the court can require the defendant to pay a reasonable amount to "cover postoffer costs of the services of expert witnesses" in addition to the other recoverable costs.

    Additionally, parties may take a 998 offer more seriously than other offers.

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  • How to avoid potential liability/mitigate potential risk from giving non-work related rides to co-worker?

    I am a 21-year-old, petite, female professional working for a corporation. My aggressive over 6 feet colleague keeps asking me to giving him "non-work related" rides to various places including dropping off /picking up at airport, etc. We're equa...

    Robert’s Answer

    You can talk with your insurance broker about insurance options, but I don't think there is a way for you to actually limit your liability toward passengers. You could have him sign an assumption of risk waiver, but that's not a guarantee that you will actually limit your liability.

    It sounds like you are trying to come up with a reason to not give him a ride when you already have a good reason: You don't want to. You are under no obligation to give someone a ride if you don't feel comfortable giving that person a ride. Even though the rides are not work-related, if his conduct impacts your work environment he could be creating a hostile work environment without even intending to do so.

    It's possible to nip the problem in the bud by telling him the truth in a respectful manner: "I'd rather not, thank you." Or, "Not today, thank you." You mention your colleague's size compared to you and describe him as "aggressive." If you don't feel comfortable or safe talking with him alone (which is a good indication you don't want him in your car), then have someone else present with you that you trust and who knows what you are going to do/say. If he can't respect your position like a professional, you may need to seek additional assistance from HR.

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  • Hi When my employment ended I was offered severance package for 4 month but my stock option expired in 3 month and lost money

    The initial severance offer was 3 month but I asked for 4 month and I was granted. Thinking that I had 4 month I did not exercise my option. The severance offer that I signed is for 4 month.

    Robert’s Answer

    Whether you can do anything will depend on what the agreement say. Many stock option agreements specifically state they employee must exercise the rights to vested stock within 90 days of the end of the employment relationship. Most severance agreements either say nothing about stock options, or restate the stock option exercise obligation, or make it clear that nothing in the severance agreement modifies the rights or obligations under the stock option agreement.

    You would need to have your agreements reviewed by an experienced counsel if you want advice regarding the effect of the agreements.

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  • Harassment and retaliation from employer after asking a female coworker to wear clothing not revealing her nipples through shirt

    I reported to management 10 mos. prior and again 3 mos. ago that I was bothered by my female coworker showing nipples under her t shirts around myself and male coworkers. My employer discharged me when I told my female coworker to please wear clo...

    Robert’s Answer

    Sexual harassment can include verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. To establish sexual harassment, you will need to show that you were subject to unwelcome sexual behavior that creates a hostile working environment constitute employment discrimination on the basis of sex. It may be difficult to establish that the co-workers clothing choices created a sexually hostile work environment.

    To the extent your complaint regarding your co-worker's clothing choices constituted a complaint about sexual harassment, it was a protected activity and your employer cannot terminate you because you made a good faith complaint about sexual harassment. Of course, proving the employer fired you for your complaint versus some other lawful reason is easier said than done.

    An attorney will need more information about your situation before advising you regarding your matter. I highly recommend contacting an attorney familiar with employment law in your locale.

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  • In an employment case and based on CACI document, is coerced self-publication a valid and separate cause of action on its own?

    What is its corresponding verdict form number?

    Robert’s Answer

    Your question is not clear. CACI refers to the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions. Your use of the phrase "self publication" leads me to believe you are referring to a defamation action wherein you are required to self-publicize a false or defamatory statement. The cause of action would be for defamation. The self-publication is the means by which the defamation occurred.

    I recommend speaking with an attorney about your issue.

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  • Meal Breaks in California

    Our employer has informed us she doesn't want us eating in our tutoring center. Most of us are there more than 5 1/2 hours. Some of us are there for at least 7 hours. Doesn't there have to be a designated spot for us to eat food? We are all op...

    Robert’s Answer

    Most, if not all, wage orders state:
    (C) In all places of employment where employees are required to eat on the premises, a suitable place for that purpose shall be designated.

    If the employees are free to leave the premises during their lunch break, then the employer does not have to provide a suitable place for eating. If the employees are required to remain on the premises (which could create a presumption that the employees were not afforded the opportunity to take a meal break) then the employer should provide a suitable place for eating. I am not aware of any case authority regarding what qualifies as a "suitable place for eating," but I suspect the place must at least be sanitary.

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  • Vacation days encashment - intracompany transfer from California to India

    I am on L1 visa and currently working in California. My company is transferring me back to its India office. Is it legal for the company to refuse by pay for my unused vacation days? Is it legal for them to transfer those vacation da...

    Robert’s Answer

    This poses a number of interesting questions, and with employee mobility is something we will likely see in the future. I am not aware of any published cases on point, but in analyzing the situation I think the employer may be obligated to pay out your vacation pay - although not necessarily at the time of transfer.

    California treats vacation pay as a wage. Labor Code section 227.3 states:

    Unless otherwise provided by a collective-bargaining
    agreement, whenever a contract of employment or employer policy
    provides for paid vacations, and an employee is terminated without
    having taken off his vested vacation time, all vested vacation shall
    be paid to him as wages at his final rate in accordance with such
    contract of employment or employer policy respecting eligibility or
    time served; provided, however, that an employment contract or
    employer policy shall not provide for forfeiture of vested vacation
    time upon termination.

    Since you are not being "terminated," the employer is not necessarily obligated to pay out your vacation. If your employment is terminated when you are outside California, the employer could argue Labor Code section 227.3 does not apply. However, Labor Code section 227.3 does not limit its application to where the employee worked when the employee was terminated. There are cases that require employers to comply with California's wage and hour laws even when an employee only works in California for a short period. You could certainly bring a claim with the local Labor Commissioner, however doing so from out of state will be difficult.

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  • W-2 from previous employer thousands of dollars off.

    I was hired for x amount salary per year, I have an offer letter which was signed by myself and that employer. In 2014 I also received an $8k raise (annual) which raised my base pay even more. Then w-2 I received for 2014 doesn't reflect , not ev...

    Robert’s Answer

    You should have your final pay stub for the year, which should reflect the total wages paid and taxes withheld. You may be able to use that as a basis for your tax filing. You should contact a CPA or a tax attorney to assist you in filing your taxes correctly.

    You could also ask the IRS to initiate a Form W-2 Complaint. See:
    http://www.irs.gov/Help-&-Resources/Tools-&-FAQs/FAQs-for-Individuals/Frequently-Asked-Tax-Questions-&-Answers/IRS-Procedures/W-2---Additional,-Incorrect,-Lost,-Non-receipt,-Omitted/W-2---Additional,-Incorrect,-Lost,-Non-receipt,-Omitted-2

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  • I had a many abuse from customer before so I tell him off and 2nd had a fight with Co worker 2 suspension and got fired today.

    Currently working Moderfied shifts and they accommodate my disability but cancel my health insurance so couldn't get med refill and i had to take oxy to get through 8hours shifts while I am watting to get obama care to provide me insurance card. a...

    Robert’s Answer

    I highly recommend speaking with an attorney familiar with disability discrimination claims. There are a lot of issues evident from your inquiry that an attorney would need to examine in order to evaluate your claims. Employers are required to accommodate the known disabilities of its employees, but there are limits, and an employer has the right to ensure a productive work environment.

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