Jenell Van Bindsbergen is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Fresno office and co-chair of the firm's Local Government Practice Group. In addition to local government and labor and employment issues, she is also experienced with matters relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Pitchess motions, OSHA matters, code enforcement, harassment, and discrimination issues, layoffs, administrative and court trials for certificated, civil service and classified dismissals, public safety and grievance issues.
Ms. Van Bindsbergen has practiced law on behalf of public agencies for more than 20 years. She is an experienced litigator on behalf of public agencies and has 20 years of experience representing Fresno County area cities. She provides a full range of legal advice and services in all aspects of municipal, finance and public agency law. She represents both municipal agencies and school districts in personnel and safety compliance litigation.
In addition to attending city council meetings and advising city councils with regard to legal matters affecting their cities, Ms. Van Bindsbergen has worked with police departments on Pitchess motions, POBR/FOBR issues, records, personnel matters, policy updates, search warrants and other code enforcement issues. Ms. Van Bindsbergen has represented police and fire departments on personnel matters including litigation, implementation of personnel policies, bids for departmental purchases, and implementation of the Police Officer Bill of Rights and Fire Fighter Procedural Bill of Rights.
She has organized and litigated many cases including preparation of complaints, answers, correspondence, mediation/arbitration, summary judgments, motions and all phases of discovery, interaction with clients and co-counsel, statute calendaring, trial preparation and trial. Ms. Van Bindsbergen has also represented various cities and school districts in matters of ADA, FMLA/EFRA and other personnel matters.
Ms. Van Bindsbergen received her J.D. from the San Joaquin College of Law in 1996. She earned a B.A. in History from California State University, Fresno, in 1992. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1997.
She is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern and Central Districts. Ms. Van Bindsbergen is a member of the League of California Cities and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
After years of failed attempts, the Legislature has passed, and Governor Brown has signed into law, two bills that remove the longstanding layers of protection and confidentiality for certain law enforcement records. Senate Bill (SB) 1421, which becomes effective January 1, 2019, increases public access to certain records relating to allegations of misconduct by law enforcement. Assembly Bill (AB) 748, effective July 1, 2019, subjects body camera footage to public r...
A federal appeals court has held that a city could not enforce local ordinances that prohibit homeless persons from sleeping outside when shelter is not available. Municipalities with similar ordinances may be affected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Martin v. City of Boise.
At a time when homelessness is an issue that cities and counties are increasingly called to address, a common trend is to prohibit sleeping and camping on t...
When a public official with responsibility for labor relations sponsors a ballot measure affecting workers' terms and conditions of employment, the duty to meet and confer arises, the California Supreme Court recently ruled. (Boling v. Public Employment Relations Board)
In 2010, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders developed a citizen's initiative to eliminate traditional pensions for new hires. Sanders told the press that his purpose for pursuing pension r...
In Estill v. County of Shasta, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a public entity has no duty under the Government Claims Act to advise a claimant that they may seek leave to file a late claim within 45 days, where the claim appears to be timely on its face.
Renee Estill, a former employee of the Shasta County Sherriff's Office, submitted a government claim form to Shasta County on February 23, 2012. In the claim form, she alleged that her coworkers ...
Beginning January 1, 2018, minors under the age of 16 must consult with legal counsel prior to a custodial interrogation and before waiving their Miranda rights.
Existing law requires a peace officer to advise minors of their rights by providing a Miranda warning. But if the minor or parent waives those rights, officers can interrogate the minor. Senate Bill (SB) 395, which adds section 625.6 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, will prohibit a law enforcement ...
Automated license plate reader (ALPR) scan data is not subject to the "records of investigation" exemption under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), the California Supreme Court has ruled. The Court, however, did not foreclose the ability to withhold such information if it would invade an individual's privacy.
In American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Aug. 31, 2017, No S227106) ___ Cal.5th ____, the Co...
Eight months after California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized adult use of recreational marijuana in California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill that will facilitate the issuance of marijuana business licenses beginning in January 2018. Despite marijuana industry efforts to minimize local government regulation, the new bill guarantees continued local agencies' control over marijuana operations in their jurisdictions.
The primary thrust of Se...
On November 8, 2016, California voters passed the "Control, Regulation and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act" ("Prop. 64"), legalizing recreational marijuana use for those 21 years old and older. The new law, effective immediately, among many other provisions does the following related to marijuana:
Establishes a regulatory scheme for cultivation, distribution, sale, testing and use;
Allows for personal cultivation of up to six plants inside a private home;
The Governor recently signed Assembly Bill 2228, establishing a program for California code enforcement officers to become certified. The purpose of the program, which is voluntary, is to provide a mechanism for code enforcement officers to become trained in the substantive law and legal processes affecting their duties while also reducing the risk of liability for the agency. The program will ensure uniform and consistent training throughout the state, increasing...
An appellate court recently held that data generated from automated license plate recognition systems are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act. The Public Records Act exempts certain types of records from disclosure, including records of law enforcement investigations under Government Code section 6254, subdivision (f). In American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California et al. v. Superior Court (2015) 2015 Cal.App. Lexis 378, the court e...
A recent court of appeal decision held that employers may require a fitness for duty exam (FFDE) under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to evaluate a workplace threat when an employee exhibits erratic and confrontational behavior in a manner that causes reasonable fear and confusion to other members of the work environment. (Kao v. University of San Francisco (September 3, 2014) __ Cal.App.4th__ 2014 WL 4375929.)
An FFDE under FEHA is an em...
Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum wage increased from $8.00 an hour to $9.00 an hour. The minimum wage will increase a second time on January 1, 2016 to $10.00 an hour. (Labor Code § 1182.12.) Due to this change in the law, local educational agencies should review their pay practices and ensure they are in compliance with all wage and hour laws.
Most California employees must be paid at least the state minimum wage. Accordingly, employers should examine the...
California Education Code section 48980 requires school districts to annually notify parents of their rights and responsibilities with respect to a number of topics, such as prohibited discrimination, sexual harassment policies, uniform complaint procedures, and disciplinary rules. Additionally, Education Code section 48982 requires that parents or guardians sign and submit to the district an acknowledgement of receipt of the notice.
For the 2014-2015 school year...
The Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) has adopted new pregnancy disability leave regulations (PDL Regulations) which could affect you as an employer. The revised PDL Regulations include significant additions, deletions, and modifications. The following provides a brief overview of the most substantive changes.
Four Months Defined. The revised PDL Regulations provide clarification regarding the four months of leave an employee is entitled to receive due ...
Employees who are terminated for misconduct are generally disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits. A recent court of appeal decision held that misconduct for these purposes can include refusing to sign a disciplinary notice after an employer's directive to do so. In Paratransit, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1319, the court of appeal found an employee was not entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefit...
Recently, California law did not expressly prohibit employers from asking employees for their usernames and passwords in order to access and view employee's personal social media accounts. An employer could demand to view an employee's Facebook or Twitter account, or any other social networking account, and the employee would have little recourse.
Effective January 1, 2013, Assembly Bill (AB) 1844 changes the law in this area. The bill adds section 980 to the Lab...
A recently published opinion from the First Appellate District of California entitled Reliable Tree Experts v. Baker (Caltrans) (October 7, 2011) ___ Cal.App.4th ___ [2000 WL 35918591] affirmed the trial court ruling that a one-time contract for pruning and removal of diseased trees along state highways was performed as "maintenance work" and was therefore subject to prevailing wage laws.
Caltrans advertised for bids to prune and remove diseased trees at various...
In 2010, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) proposed procedural regulations for complaints received by the DFEH. After a series of public hearings and comments by the public, the final regulations were approved on September 7, 2011. The new regulations formalize the existing procedural steps for intake, filing, investigation, settlement and prosecution of complaints for discrimination, harassment and retaliation based upon a protected cl...