California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Class Actions

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Trial Court Erred By Failing To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Rest Periods

Bartoni v. American Med. Response W., 11 Cal. App. 5th 1084 (2017) Current and former employees of an ambulance service company sued their employer for unpaid meal and rest periods. The complaint alleges claims on behalf of a putative class as well as non-class claims under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”). The … Continue Reading

Health Care Employees Can Waive Their Second Meal Period

Gerard v. Orange Coast Mem. Med. Ctr., 9 Cal. App. 5th 1204 (2017) In this putative class/Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) action, Jazmina Gerard (and others) challenged a hospital policy that allowed health care employees who worked shifts longer than 10 hours to voluntarily waive one of their two meal periods, even if their shifts … Continue Reading

Safeway/Vons Assistant Managers Were Properly Classified As Exempt From Overtime

Batze v. Safeway, Inc., 10 Cal. App. 5th 440 (2017) Gary Batze, et al., brought this lawsuit against their employer Safeway/Vons for failure to pay overtime wages. The employees alleged that they worked non-managerial tasks that rendered them non-exempt employees. After weeks of trial testimony, the trial court determined that the employees were engaged for … Continue Reading

Lawyers In Putative Class Action Were Properly Disqualified Based Upon Representation Of Another Class

Walker v. Apple, Inc., 4 Cal. App. 5th 1098 (2016) The trial court disqualified the attorneys for a putative class led by Stacey and Tyler Walker based upon the lawyers’ concurrent representation of a certified class in another wage and hour class action (the Felczer class) pending against the same employer (Apple). In its disqualification … Continue Reading

On-Duty Meal Periods Were Permissible For Concrete Mixer Drivers

Driscoll v. Graniterock Co., 2016 WL 6994923 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Brian Driscoll, et al., filed a putative class action against their employer, Graniterock, on behalf of 200 current and former concrete mixer drivers for its alleged failure to provide employees with off-duty meal periods and an additional hour of pay for meal periods during … Continue Reading

Security Guard Class Action Should Not Have Been Decertified

Lubin v. The Wackenhut Corp., 5 Cal. App. 5th 926 (2016) Nivida Lubin, et al., filed this class action lawsuit against their employer for its alleged failure to provide Lubin and similarly situated employees (private security guards) with off-duty meal and rest breaks and for providing inadequate wage statements. The trial court initially certified a … Continue Reading

$90 Million Judgment Reinstated: Employers Must Relieve Employees Of All Duties During Their Rest Periods

Augustus v. ABM Sec. Servs., Inc., 2016 WL 7407328 (Cal. S. Ct. 2016) Jennifer Augustus filed this putative class action on behalf of all ABM security guards, alleging that ABM consistently failed to provide uninterrupted rest periods as required by state law. During discovery, ABM acknowledged that it required guards to keep their radios and … Continue Reading

Del Mar Fairgrounds/Horsepark Employees Are Exempt From Overtime Under The Amusement Exemption

Morales v. 22nd Dist. Agricultural Ass’n, 1 Cal. App. 5th 504 (2016) Jose Luis Morales and 177 other similarly situated plaintiffs sued their employer under Cal. Labor Code § 510 and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for failure to pay them overtime. Plaintiffs’ employer is a California agency that owns and manages the … Continue Reading

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

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

Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Employer’s Class Action Waiver

Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP, 2016 WL 4433080 (9th Cir. 2016) As a condition of employment, Stephen Morris and Kelly McDaniel were required to sign agreements not to join with other employees in bringing legal claims via arbitration against their employer. Morris and McDaniel filed a class and collective action against the company, alleging … Continue Reading

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

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

EEOC Sufficiently Conciliated Class Claims Before Bringing Suit, And Employee Stated Hostile Environment Claim

Arizona ex rel. Horne v. The Geo Group, 2016 WL 945634 (9th Cir. 2016) Alice Hancock was employed by Geo as a correctional officer at the Arizona State Prison. Geo contracts with the Arizona Department of Corrections to maintain and operate two facilities in the state. Hancock filed a charge of discrimination and harassment based … Continue Reading

Employer Was Entitled To Obtain Reimbursement Of Short-Term Employee’s Training Costs

USS-POSCO Indus. v. Case, 197 Cal. Rptr. 3d 791 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Floyd Case voluntarily enrolled in a three-year, employer-sponsored educational program. Case agreed in writing that if he quit his job within 30 months of completing the program, he would reimburse his employer (UPI) a prorated portion of the program costs. Two months … Continue Reading

Unaccepted Settlement Offer Does Not Moot Putative Class Action

Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 663 (2016) In this putative class action involving an alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (prohibiting using an automatic dialing system to send a text message to a cellular telephone, absent the recipient’s express consent), Campbell-Ewald proposed to settle Jose Gomez’s individual claim … Continue Reading

Residential Care Facility Could Require Its Employees To Take On-Duty Meals

Palacio v. Jan & Gail’s Care Homes, Inc., 242 Cal. App. 4th 1133 (2015) Yvonne Palacio filed this putative class action against Jan & Gail’s Care Homes (“Care Homes”) based on a policy that required newly hired employees to sign an agreement waiving their right to uninterrupted meal periods. Palacio sought class certification based upon … Continue Reading

Agricultural Workers’ Putative Class Action Was Properly Denied Certification

Cruz v. Sun World Int’l, LLC, 2015 WL 9463140 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015) Plaintiffs in this putative class action alleged off-the-clock work had been performed by employees, that meal and rest breaks were shortened, that the additional hour of pay for each meal or rest period they were denied was not paid, and that their … Continue Reading

Court Affirms Dismissal Of PAGA Claims For Inadequate Notice But Orders Certification Of Class Action

Alcantar v. Hobart Serv., 800 F.3d 1047 (9th Cir. 2015) Joséluis Alcantar filed this action against his employer to represent a putative class of service technicians for the time spent commuting in the employer’s service vehicles from their homes to their jobsites and then back again. Alcantar also alleged failure to provide the technicians with … Continue Reading

Trial Court Improperly Failed To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Overtime

Alberts v. Aurora Behavioral Health Care, 2015 WL 6121981 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015) Valerie Alberts and others, formerly employed as members of the nursing staff at two acute care psychiatric hospitals owned and operated by Aurora, claimed that Aurora’s uniform practices and de facto policies routinely denied nursing staff employees their meal and rest periods … Continue Reading

California Enacts a Raft of New Employment Legislation

The latest legislative session has just ended, and, true to form, the California Legislature has added more than a dozen new laws affecting employers doing business in the nation’s largest state.  These statutes are in addition to the other six new laws that we reported on in September: Signed legislation: Sick Leave: Accrual And Limitations Language … Continue Reading

Missed Meal Break Class Action Was Properly Certified

Safeway, Inc. v. Superior Court, 238 Cal. App. 4th 1138 (2015) Plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit alleged claims against Safeway and Vons for failure to provide meal and rest breaks, failure to provide itemized pay statements, unfair business practices under the Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) and penalties under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General … Continue Reading

Two Class Actions Should Have Been Treated As One For Purposes of CAFA Removal

Bridewell-Sledge v. Blue Cross of Cal., 2015 WL 4939641 (9th Cir. 2015) Two similar class actions filed 13 minutes apart against the same defendants in the same California state court were consolidated by the state court “for all purposes.” Despite the fact that the two actions had been consolidated into a single action, defendants filed … Continue Reading

$90 Million Judgment In Favor Of Security Guards Who Remained On Call During Rest Breaks Is Reversed

Augustus v. ABM Sec. Servs., Inc., 182 Cal. Rptr. 3d 676 (2015) In this class action lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged that ABM did not provide rest periods to its security guard employees because it failed to relieve them of all duties and required them to remain on call during their breaks. The trial court certified the … Continue Reading

Employer Met Its Burden Of Proving At Least $5 Million Amount In Controversy For CAFA Removal

LaCross v. Knight Transp. Inc., 775 F.3d 1200 (9th Cir. 2015) In this putative class action, plaintiffs alleged that Knight Transportation had misclassified them as independent contractors when in fact they were employees who were not reimbursed their lease-related and fuel costs as required by Labor Code § 2802. Knight removed the case from state … Continue Reading
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