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Category Archives: Supreme Court

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$6.3 Million Attorney’s Fees Award (1/3 Of Total Recovery) Was Reasonable In Class Action Settlement

Posted in Attorney's Fees, California Labor & Employment Law, Class Actions, Supreme Court

Laffitte v. Robert Half Int’l Inc., 1 Cal. 5th 480 (2016) An objecting class member in a wage and hour lawsuit challenged the trial court’s award of an attorney’s fee calculated as a percentage (one-third) of the overall settlement amount of $19 million. The objector asserted that pursuant to Serrano v. Priest, 20 Cal. 3d… Continue Reading

Prompt Final Pay Provisions Of California Labor Code Apply To Retiring Employees

Posted in California Labor & Employment Law, California Labor Code Section 202, California Labor Code Section 203, Client Alerts, Public Employment, Retirement, Supreme Court, Uncategorized

McLean v. State of Cal., 2016 WL 4395672 (Cal. S. Ct. 2016) Janis McLean, a retired deputy attorney general, filed suit against the State of California on behalf of herself and a class of former state employees who, having resigned or retired, did not receive their final wages within the time period set forth in… Continue Reading

Auto Dealership Service Advisors May Be Exempt From Federal Overtime Requirements

Posted in California Labor & Employment Law, Exempt Employees, Field Operations Handbook, FLSA, Overtime, Supreme Court, U.S. Department of Labor

Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, 579 U.S. ___, 2016 WL 3369424 (2016) An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) exempts from its overtime requirements “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, or farm implements.” Later, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion letter and amended… Continue Reading

Statute Of Limitations For Constructive Discharge Claim Began To Run After Employee’s Resignation Date

Posted in California Labor & Employment Law, Constructive Discharge, Discrimination, Public Employment, Supreme Court, Title VII

Green v. Brennan, 578 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1769 (2016) Marvin Green alleged racial discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, claiming he was denied a promotion because he is black; his supervisors had accused Green of the crime of intentionally delaying the mail. In an agreement between the parties dated December… Continue Reading

Outside Counsel’s Investigation Of Sexual Harassment Was Privileged

Posted in California Labor & Employment Law, Harassment, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment, Supreme Court

City of Petaluma v. Superior Court, 2016 WL 3342543 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Andrea Waters, who worked as a firefighter and paramedic for the City of Petaluma, alleged she was harassed and discriminated against based upon her sex. Waters also claimed she suffered retaliation after she complained about the treatment. Waters took a leave of… Continue Reading

Employees Are Entitled To Suitable Seating If The Tasks Being Performed Reasonably Permit Seating

Posted in Employment Policies, Reasonable Accommodation, Supreme Court

Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 63 Cal. 4th 1 (2016) In this opinion, the California Supreme Court answered three questions posed to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit involving suitable seating requirements under California law. Section 14(A) of California Wage Order No. 7-2001 states that “All working employees shall… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Affirms $2.9 Million Class Action Judgment Based On Expert’s Study Of Time Spent On Donning And Doffing Activities

Posted in Class Actions, FLSA, Overtime, Supreme Court, Wage and Hour

Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, 577 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1036 (2016) Following a jury trial, the employees in this class/collective action recovered $2.9 million in compensatory damages for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The employees alleged that they did not receive statutorily mandated overtime pay for the time they spent… Continue Reading

Federal Air Marshal Could Proceed With Whistleblower Lawsuit

Posted in Retaliation, Supreme Court, Whistleblowers

Dep’t of Homeland Sec. v. MacLean, 574 U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 913 (2015) Robert J. MacLean became a federal air marshal for the TSA in 2001. In that role, MacLean was assigned to protect passenger flights from potential hijackings. In July 2003, the Department of Homeland Security issued a confidential advisory about a potential hijacking… Continue Reading

PAGA Claims and Arbitration – A Federal Court Parts Ways With Iskanian

Posted in FAA, PAGA, Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, (discussed here), held that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) except as to claims that were made pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). PAGA allows aggrieved employees to represent other current and… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Emphasizes Importance of Common Issues in Class Actions

Posted in Class Actions, News, Off-the-clock Issues, Overtime, Supreme Court, Wage and Hour

Over the past two weeks, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly underscored the importance of having common questions that are susceptible to common answers in cases where plaintiffs are seeking class certification. Most recently, the Court clarified that this requirement, which has now been considered in both antitrust and employment cases, applies with respect… Continue Reading

Teacher/Minister’s Disability Discrimination Claim Is Barred By The First Amendment

Posted in ADA, Disability, Employment Law Notes, Religion, Supreme Court, Wrongful Termination

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC, 565 U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 680 (2012) Cheryl Perich was a “called” teacher for the church and also had the formal title of “Minister of Religion, Commissioned.” After Perich developed narcolepsy, the church replaced her with a lay teacher and eventually terminated her employment for “insubordination… Continue Reading

False Claims Act Lawsuit Was Barred By Public Disclosure Of Records

Posted in Employment Law Notes, Supreme Court

Schindler Elevator Corp. v. United States ex rel. Kirk, 563 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1885 (2011) Daniel Kirk, a former employee of Schindler Elevator Corporation, filed this lawsuit under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), alleging Schindler had submitted false or fraudulent claims for payment to the United States. Kirk alleged the company had falsely… Continue Reading

Arizona Law Requiring Use Of E-Verify Is Upheld

Posted in E-Verify, Employment Law Notes, Employment Verification, Immigration, Supreme Court

Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 563 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1968 (2011) In 1996, Congress created E-Verify, which is “an internet-based system that allows an employer to verify an employee’s work-authorization status.” In 2007, Arizona enacted the Legal Arizona Workers Act, which allows Arizona to suspend or revoke the licenses necessary to do business… Continue Reading

Class Of 1.5 Million Female Wal-Mart Employees Was Improperly Certified

Posted in Class Actions, Discrimination, Employment Law Notes, Exempt Employees, Supreme Court

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011) The United States Supreme Court held that this class of as many as 1.5 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees was improperly certified by the lower court. The three lead plaintiffs claimed they were discriminated against on the basis of their gender and that… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Tightens Class Action Rules, Rejecting Class Composed of 1.5 Million Wal-Mart Employees

Posted in Class Actions, Discrimination, Supreme Court

In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, No. 10-277 (U.S. June 20, 2011), the Supreme Court vacated class certification of a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by 1.5 million current and former Wal-Mart employees because the plaintiffs failed to identify a specific, company-wide policy or practice of discrimination. Additionally, the Court held unanimously that the employees’ backpay claims… Continue Reading

The State Bar Labor and Employment Law Section Presents 2011 Employment Law Update: A Mid-Year Review of Recent Developments

Posted in Computer and Internet Use, Disability, News, Supreme Court, Wage and Hour

On Wednesday, June 22, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., Anthony Oncidi of Proskauer and plaintiff-side attorney, Andrew Friedman of Helmer Friedman LLP, will summarize the latest developments and discuss the practical implications of this year’s most significant employment decisions. Among other developments, attendees will hear about the new U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding the “cat’s… Continue Reading

State Limitations On Arbitration Agreements Are Preempted By Federal Law

Posted in Arbitration Agreements, Class Actions, Employment Law Notes, FAA, Supreme Court

AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011) In this landmark new opinion, the United States Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) prohibits states from conditioning the enforceability of an arbitration agreement on the availability of class action arbitration procedures. Although this case arose in the consumer context (it involved AT&T’s… Continue Reading

Employee Who Complained Orally About FLSA Violation Is Protected From Retaliation

Posted in Employment Law Notes, FLSA, Off-the-clock Issues, Retaliation, Supreme Court

Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., 563 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011) Kevin Kasten alleged that his former employer, Saint-Gobain, terminated his employment because he orally complained to Saint-Gobain about the location of its time clocks, which prevented workers from receiving credit for the time they spent putting on and taking off their… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Tips the Scales Back Toward Arbitration

Posted in Arbitration Agreements, Class Actions, FAA, Supreme Court

In a ruling that has garnered significant interest among employers, the U.S. Supreme Court held on Wednesday that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts the California Supreme Court’s efforts to impose heightened unconscionability standards on class action waivers in consumer arbitration agreements. This decision may also sound the death knell for similar restrictions imposed by California… Continue Reading

Plaintiff Must Prove That Age Was The “But-For” Cause Of Challenged Employment Action

Posted in Discrimination, Employment Law Notes, Supreme Court

Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., 557 U.S. 167, 129 S. Ct. 2343 (2009) Jack Gross worked for FBL as a claims administration director until he was reassigned to the position of claims project coordinator. At the time of his reassignment, many of Gross’s job responsibilities were transferred to a newly created position (claims administration… Continue Reading

City Violated Title VII By Discarding Results Of Test That Disparately Impacted Minorities

Posted in Affirmative Action, Discrimination, Employment Law Notes, Supreme Court

Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009) One hundred eighteen firefighters took written examinations administered by the city of New Haven, Connecticut in order to qualify for promotion to the rank of lieutenant or captain. When the examination results showed that white candidates had outperformed minority candidates, the mayor and other local… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules Against the City of New Haven in Highly Publicized Reverse Discrimination Case: What Does Ricci vs. DeStefano Mean For Employers?

Posted in Affirmative Action, Client Alerts, Discrimination, Supreme Court

Yesterday, in a highly anticipated 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Ricci v. DeStefano that the City of New Haven engaged in unlawful intentional race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) when it discarded a firefighter promotional test because of the racial makeup of… Continue Reading