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California Employment Law Blog

Category Archives: Supreme Court

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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

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Plaintiffs in Age Discrimination Suits to Higher Standard

Posted in ADEA, Client Alerts, Discrimination, Supreme Court

In an important ruling that increases the burden on plaintiffs in cases under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the United States Supreme Court held on June 18, 2009 that plaintiffs in age discrimination cases always bear the burden of proving that an adverse employment action would not have been taken against them… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rejects Retroactive Application of Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Posted in Client Alerts, Discrimination, Employee Benefits, Leaves of Absence, PDA, Pensions, Supreme Court

In a 7-2 decision, the United States Supreme Court has held that AT&T did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) when it based its calculation of employees’ pensions in part on a pre- PDA accrual rule that treated pregnancy leave less favorably than other forms of disability leave. AT&T Corp v. Hulteen, No. 07-543 (May… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Endorses Union-Negotiated Arbitration of Discrimination Claims

Posted in Arbitration Agreements, Client Alerts, Collective Bargaining, Discrimination, NLRA, Supreme Court, Union Issues

Proskauer Prevails As The Court Holds That Collectively Bargained Agreements for The Arbitration of Statutory Discrimination Claims are Enforceable On April 1, 2009, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled in favor of Proskauer Rose’s client 14 Penn Plaza LLC, holding that a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) that clearly and unmistakably requires… Continue Reading

California Law Limiting Use Of State Funds To Deter Union Organizing Is Unconstitutional

Posted in Employment Law Notes, NLRA, Supreme Court

Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, 554 U.S. 60, 128 S. Ct. 2408 (2008) Assembly Bill 1889, enacted in 2000, prohibited private employers that receive state funds – whether by reimbursement, grant, contract, use of state property or pursuant to a state program – from using such funds to “assist, promote, or deter union organizing.” Violators… Continue Reading

Employer Bears Burden Of Showing Reasonableness Of Layoff Criteria In Age Discrimination Case

Posted in ADEA, Employment Law Notes, Supreme Court

Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Lab., 554 U.S. 84, 128 S. Ct. 2395 (2008) When the United States government ordered Knolls (one of the contractors that maintains the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered warships) to reduce its workforce, the company conducted an involuntary reduction in force, resulting in the layoff of 31 employees, 30 of whom… Continue Reading

Punitive Damages Award Of 145 Times Compensatory Damages Was Excessive

Posted in Employment Law Notes, Supreme Court

State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 123 S. Ct. 1513 (2003) Curtis and Inez Campbell sued their automobile insurance carrier (State Farm) for bad faith, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress after State Farm declined to settle within the $50,000 policy limit a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit… Continue Reading