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POSTED February 8, 2013 8:31 p.m.

NO BACK PAY FOR BAD WORKERS IN BIAS CASES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court says poor performing workers won't get back pay even if discrimination plays a role in firings.

Thursday's 6-0 ruling will likely change the way most bias cases are handled in the state.

Previously, employees could receive back pay and other compensation and get their jobs back if they could prove discrimination was a motivating factor in a firing.

Employees will now have to show discrimination was a substantial motive. The employer can argue that performance alone would have resulted in the worker's termination.

The decision overturned a $178,000 jury award to a Santa Monica bus driver who was fired after revealing she was pregnant.

The employer says she was fired because of accidents and failure to show up for work.

CALIF. WINE GRAPE GROWERS SET 2012 RECORD: SACRAMENTO (AP) — California vintners have something to celebrate. Both the tonnage of grapes harvested and the prices recorded for them set records in 2012.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released preliminary figures Friday showing that California's crush last year was a record high 4.3 million tons. Red wine grapes accounted for the largest share at 2.3 million tons, up nearly 20 percent from 2011.

The average price growers received for grapes across the state was up nearly 25 percent to $734 a ton. But premium wine grapes grown in Napa County were a lot more valuable, averaging $3,578 a ton.

LAWYER SAYS LA POLICE SHOT WOMEN WITHOUT WARNING:TORRANCE. (AP) — A lawyer says two women delivering newspapers had no warning before they were mistakenly shot by Los Angeles police officers searching for triple murder suspect Christopher Dorner.

Investigators say 47-year-old Maggie Carranza and her 71-year-old mother Emma Hernandez were in a Toyota Tundra pickup truck similar to Dorner's vehicle.

They were delivering newspapers in Torrance when LAPD officers guarding a target named in Dorner's manifesto peppered the pickup with bullets, wounding the women, before dawn on Thursday.

Police Chief Charlie Beck says the pickup's headlights weren't on and it was a case of mistaken identity.

Carranza had minor hand injuries. Hernandez is hospitalized with a gunshot wound in the back.

US ORDERS SHUTDOWN OF BUS COMPANY IN CALIF. CRASH: LOS ANGELES (AP) — US regulators have ordered the immediate shutdown of a tour bus operator involved in a Southern California crash that killed eight people.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a statement Friday that the buses operated by Scapadas Magicas LLC pose an imminent hazard to public safety.

On Feb. 3, one of the company's buses was transporting passengers to Tijuana, Mexico, when it smashed into a sedan, flipped, slammed into a pickup and crashed on a road in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles.

Regulators say a post-crash investigation of the company's two other buses that had been operating in the U.S. found serious mechanical safety violations. The buses were immediately placed out of service.

SONOMA SLAYINGS DELAY POT GARDEN MURDER TRIAL : SANTA ROSA  (AP) — A judge has postponed the murder trial of two Sonoma County men charged with killing another man at a marijuana garden because of the murders this week of three people in what authorities think was a pot deal gone bad.

Lawyers for 36-year-old Sidonio Cruz-Santos and 24-year-old Augustin Zepeda-Onofre sought the delay Thursday on the grounds that publicity over the triple-slaying might prejudice a jury.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gary Medvigy agreed to reschedule their trial for late March after asking about 100 prospective jurors assembled in his courtroom how many had seen newspaper headlines about the latest killings near Forestville.

 

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