Law360 looked to Labor and Employment partner Mark Terman for insight into California's recently implemented law, A.B. 749, limiting employers' ability to block employees who have resolved employment disputes from being rehired. The law could lead to an increase in retaliation claims, making it important, the publication reports, that businesses are certain their reasons for severing ties with workers are ironclad.
"What A.B. 749 reminds employers is of the need to be more specific in settlement agreements, particularly where there are reasons for discharge," Terman said, while cautioning that employees may be reluctant to agree that certain details about their job performance be documented in that way.
A.B. 749's passage is also likely to result in more instances where businesses have to process job applications from former workers who have previously settled claims against them. Terman explained that employers are best served anytime they consider an employment application to assess whether the applicant is qualified for the job and, if not, determine why.
"An employer is free to make a nondiscriminatory reason for not hiring that person, but bear in mind that the decision not to hire could very well be put under a microscope, particularly if the applicant is someone who is or was represented by counsel who may be looking for that particular employer to make a reactive decision not to hire instead of evaluating whether that person is qualified," Terman said.