California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Employee Benefits

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Employer Properly Challenged CUIAB’s Determination That Worker Was Not An Independent Contractor

West Hollywood Cmty. Health & Fitness Ctr. v. CUIAB, 2014 WL 6852700 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) After leaving his job as a massage therapist at West Hollywood Community Health & Fitness Center (d/b/a “Voda Spa”), Mario Serban applied for unemployment benefits. The Employment Development Department sent Voda Spa a letter indicating that Serban had been … Continue Reading

Update: California Employees Entitled to Paid Sick Leave Starting July 2015

On September 10th, California became the second state in the country to require businesses to provide employees with paid sick leave, following Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of A.B. 1522, which goes into effect on July 1, 2015, and will be known as the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.   Click here to read … Continue Reading

California Employees May Soon Be Entitled to Paid Sick Leave

California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30th to sign or veto A.B. 1522, a recently passed bill that would require businesses employing at least one person in California to provide employees with paid sick leave and to comply with new recordkeeping and informational requirements. If signed by the governor, the bill will become effective … Continue Reading

Employee’s Refusal To Sign Disciplinary Notice Did Not Disqualify Him From Unemployment Benefits

Paratransit, Inc. v. CUIAB, 2014 WL 2988013 (Cal. S. Ct. 2014) Craig Medeiros worked as a vehicle operator for Paratransit for six years. Medeiros was a member of a union, and the union and the employer were parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Paratransit investigated a complaint filed by a passenger, alleging that Medeiros had … Continue Reading

Employer Is Permitted To Deny Employees Vacation Benefits That Had Not Yet Vested

Owen v. Macy’s, Inc., 175 Cal. App. 4th 462 (2009)  Lisa Owen worked as a sales associate at Robinsons-May until it was acquired by Macy’s in August 2005. In January 2006, employees at the Arcadia store where Owen worked were informed that the store would close by April. After the store closed on March 18, … Continue Reading

Don’t Terminate That 401(k) or 403(b) Safe Harbor Plan Just Yet: IRS Proposes New Rules Allowing Employers Experiencing Substantial Business Hardship To Reduce Non-elective Contributions Mid-Year

Introduction On May 18, 2009, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued new proposed regulations that allow plan sponsors of Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) Section 401(k) or 403(b) safe harbor plans to reduce or suspend non-elective contributions mid-year if they are experiencing a “substantial business hardship.” Prior to the proposed regulations, a plan sponsor could … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rejects Retroactive Application of Pregnancy Discrimination Act

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

Forfeiture Provision In Incentive Compensation Plan Does Not Violate California Labor Code

Schachter v. Citigroup, Inc., 159 Cal. App. 4th 10 (2008) During his employment, David B. Schachter, a former securities salesperson for Salomon Smith Barney, participated in Smith Barney’s voluntary Capital Accumulation Plan, which allowed him to direct Smith Barney to pay him five percent of his total compensation in the form of restricted stock; the … Continue Reading

Employee Who Suffered “Psychiatric Injury” Due To Fluctuations In Company’s Stock Was Not Entitled To Benefits

Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. WCAB, 114 Cal. App. 4th 1174 (2004) Clifford Bryan filed a workers’ compensation claim against Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) after he was forced to leave work in October 2001 due to the stress of his job in interacting with customers who did not like the company and … Continue Reading

Disability Plan Administrator Was Not Required To Defer To Treating Physician’s Opinion

Black & Decker Disability Plan v. Nord, 538 U.S. 822 (2003) Kenneth L. Nord was employed by a Black & Decker subsidiary as a material planner in a job classified as “sedentary” because it required up to six hours of sitting and two hours of standing or walking per day. Nord consulted with a physician … Continue Reading

Terminated Executive Was Not Entitled To Receive Unvested Stock Options

Oracle Corp. v. Falotti, 319 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2003) Oracle Corporation terminated the employment of Pier Carlo Falotti, a senior executive of the company who was based in Switzerland, four months before he was scheduled to vest in stock options that were worth more than $85 million. Oracle filed this action in federal court … Continue Reading

Claims For Severance Benefits Were Not Preempted By ERISA

Winterrowd v. American General Annuity Ins. Co., 321 F.3d 933 (9th Cir. 2003) Three commissioned sales employees were laid off after their employer’s parent company was acquired by American General Corporation. As commissioned salespeople, the employees were not eligible for severance benefits under the employer’s Job Security Plan. However, the employees were offered and did … Continue Reading

Military Leave Benefits Are Not Owed To Employee Who Serves In Another State’s Militia

Opinion of Att’y Gen. Bill Lockyer, No. 02-213, 2003 WL 174019 (Jan. 24, 2003) In this opinion, the California Attorney General determined that employees who are residents of and employed in California are not entitled to the employment-related benefits established under California Military & Veterans Code § 395.05 for leaves of absence occasioned by service … Continue Reading

Employee Permitted To Proceed With Breach Of Contract Action Involving Stock Options

Alexander v. Codemasters Group Ltd., 104 Cal. App. 4th 129 (2002) Craig Alexander alleged breach of contract against Codemasters (a United Kingdom-based computer game company) for its failure to provide Alexander (a former executive with the company) with options to purchase 35,000 shares of Codemasters’ stock at an exercise price of $3.25 per share. In … Continue Reading

Court Approves $27 Million Fee Award To Attorneys In Microsoft Benefits Suit

Vizcaino v. Microsoft Corp., 290 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir. 2002) In this class action, eight former “freelance” Microsoft workers alleged that the company had improperly deprived them of employee benefits, including participation in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Nine years after the case was filed, the parties settled the matter when Microsoft agreed to pay … Continue Reading
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