Thursday, December 27, 2012

Labor law practitioner on #SheriSangji: Not rare for employer to face charges

From the C&EN story (written by Jyllian Kemsley and Michael Torrice) on the preliminary hearing of evidence against Professor Patrick Harran (emphasis mine):
...When the hearing ended, O’Brien said he would submit motions to dismiss or reduce the charges against Harran. But he requested to do so in writing, noting that the facts in the case are “voluminous” and that the case itself represents a new use of California labor law. 
Upon accepting O’Brien’s request, Judge Lench ordered that motions and counterarguments be filed by Feb. 1, 2013, and she set the next court date for Feb. 15, 2013. 
Kirk McAllister, an attorney who is not involved in the case but is knowledgeable about this area of California law, says that a request to present written arguments is not unusual for a lengthy preliminary hearing. Harran’s hearing began in November and then was postponed until Dec. 17 for scheduling reasons. 
McAllister also says that felony labor code charges are not unusual for a workplace injury—even if they have not previously been filed against a university professor.
I think that's a helpful thing to know -- that employers do have felony labor code charges filed against them. That the employee was a lab technician and the employer is an organic chemistry professor is probably the most broadly newsworthy piece of this phase of the Sheri Sangji case.

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