California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Employment Contracts

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FAQ About California’s New Law on Venue and Choice of Law in Employment Agreements

We recently blogged about Governor Brown signing S.B. 1241, which is now codified as Section 925 of the California Labor Code. The law, which affects venue and choice of law provisions in agreements entered into as a condition of employment, will begin applying to agreements entered into, modified, or extended beginning on January 1, 2017. … Continue Reading

California Protects Employees’ Rights to Have Their Claims Heard in the State, Under California Law

In recent years, some employers doing business in the Golden State have required their employees to sign arbitration and employment agreements that require the employee to sue or arbitrate in – or under the law of – another state.  After January 1, 2017, this practice will be illegal unless the employee was represented by legal … 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

Employee Could Proceed With Misclassification Claim, Though Wrongful Termination Claim Was Properly Rejected

Davis v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 245 Cal. App. 4th 1302 (2016) William A. Davis brought suit against Farmers, claiming he had been wrongfully classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee and asserting that he had been wrongfully terminated on the basis of his age. The trial court directed a verdict in Farmers’s favor … Continue Reading

Employee Who Dismissed Claims Upon Receipt Of Settlement Can Recover Costs As Prevailing Party

DeSaulles v. Community Hosp. of the Monterey Peninsula, 62 Cal. 4th 1140 (2016) Maureen deSaulles agreed to dismiss her causes of action for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in exchange for a settlement payment from her former employer in the amount of $23,000. The trial … Continue Reading

Employee’s Qui Tam Fraud Claims Should Not Have Been Dismissed

United States ex rel. Mateski v. Raytheon, 816 F.3d 565 (9th Cir. 2016) Steven Mateski worked as an engineer at Raytheon. Mateski filed a complaint in federal court alleging that Raytheon had violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”) by failing to comply with numerous contractual requirements in developing a project for the government, fraudulently covering … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reaffirms Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements Containing Collective Action Waivers In Two FLSA Cases

Two recent decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have reaffirmed the enforceability of employment-related arbitration agreements containing class action waivers. In Sutherland v. Ernst & Young and Raniere v. Citigroup, Inc. the Second Circuit held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires courts to enforce a valid agreement to arbitrate … Continue Reading

California Court Upholds Arbitration Agreement

Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc., 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 1292 (Dec. 20, 2012) Maribel Baltazar sued her former employer, Forever 21, Inc., alleging she was constructively discharged and subjected to discrimination and harassment based on her race and sex.  In response, Forever 21 filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement between … Continue Reading

Trial Court Erred In Failing To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Overtime And Meal-And-Rest Breaks

Bradley v. Networkers Int’l, LLC, 2012 WL 6182473 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) The three named plaintiffs in this case were among approximately 140 skilled workers retained by Networkers to provide repair and installation services at cell sites. Each worker was required to sign a standard contract, which stated that he or she was an independent … Continue Reading

$1.347 Million Award To Former General Counsel For Breach Of Implied Contract Is Upheld

Faigin v. Signature Group Holdings, Inc., 211 Cal. App. 4th 726 (2012) Alan W. Faigin worked as an in-house attorney for Fremont General Corporation (which later became Signature Group Holdings) for 17 years before his employment was terminated for cause in March 2008. Faigin sued Fremont based on a number of theories, including breach of … Continue Reading

Touchstone Television Productions v. Superior Court (Sheridan): Refusal To Renew An Employment Contract Is Not A Termination

Touchstone Television Productions v. Superior Court, No. BC435248, 2012 WL 3525609 (Aug. 16, 2012) If you are among the throngs of Desperate Housewives fans, you may recall when Wisteria Lane’s Edie Williams, played by actress Nicollette Sheridan, tragically died of electrocution following a car accident during the show’s fifth season. Sheridan later filed a lawsuit … Continue Reading

Proskauer Wins Summary Judgment on Behalf of Paramount in Breach of Contract, Discrimination Case

The plaintiff was an Australian citizen working as an associate attorney for the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP on a work visa. In October 2009, Paramount extended to her a conditional offer of employment to serve as its Vice President, IT Legal, the offer being contingent upon the completion of a background investigation … Continue Reading

Talent Agencies Act Applies To Personal Managers As Well As Agents

Marathon Entm’t, Inc. v. Blasi, 42 Cal. 4th 974 (2008) Marathon Entertainment and Rosa Blasi entered into an oral contract by which Marathon would serve as Blasi’s personal manager in exchange for 15% of Blasi’s earnings from entertainment employment obtained during the course of the contract. Marathon sued Blasi after she reneged on her agreement … Continue Reading

Predispute Waiver Of Right To Jury Trial Is Unenforceable

Grafton Partners LP v. Superior Court, 115 Cal. App. 4th 700, 9 Cal. Rptr. 3d 511 (2004) Grafton Partners and related parties (Grafton) retained PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to perform an independent audit on their accounting records. The parties’ engagement letter contained a predispute jury waiver whereby both parties agreed not to demand a trial by jury “in the … Continue Reading

Employee Who Was Induced To Resign Previous Job Was Entitled To Proceed With Fraud Claim

Blitz v. Fluor Enterprises, Inc., 115 Cal. App. 4th 185, 8 Cal. Rptr. 3d 833 (2004) Mr. Blitz had been employed in a financial position at Raytheon in New Jersey for 12 years before he was contacted by a member of Fluor’s management team and offered a job in California. Before resigning his position with Raytheon and … Continue Reading

Airline Was Not The Joint Employer Of Service Workers For Purposes Of FMLA/CFRA

Moreau v. Air France, 356 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 2003) Stephane Moreau worked as the Assistant Station Manager for Air France at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Moreau requested a 12-week leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act to assist his ill father in France. Air France … Continue Reading

Employee Who Would Be Deprived Of His Day In Court Not Required To File Suit In Wisconsin

Murphy v. Schneider Nat’l, Inc., 349 F.3d 1224 (9th Cir. 2003) Charles E. Murphy was injured on premises owned by Trane Company while he was working as a long-haul trucker for Schneider National, Inc. Murphy filed a personal injury action against Schneider (which had failed to maintain a workers’ compensation policy) and Trane in the … Continue Reading

Good Cause Was Not Required To Terminate Independent Contractors Of Insurance Company

Appling v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 340 F.3d 769 (9th Cir. 2003) The State Farm agents in this case alleged that the company had terminated them in breach of their independent contractor agreements. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of State Farm, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the termination … 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

Former Employee Required To Litigate Breach Of Contract Claim In Germany

Intershop Communications AG v. Superior Court, 104 Cal. App. 4th 191 (2002) Frank Martinez, a California resident, sued his former employer, Intershop Communications, Inc., and its German parent company for breach of a stock options exchange agreement. The exchange agreement contained a choice-of-law (German law) and forum-selection clause (Hamburg, Germany). The trial court denied Intershop’s … Continue Reading

Subcontractor Could Not Recover On Quantum Meruit Theory After Admitting Existence Of Contract

Valerio v. Andrew Youngquist Constr., 103 Cal. App. 4th 1264 (2002) Andrew Youngquist Construction (a general contractor doing business as Birtcher Construction Services) solicited bids from subcontractors to build the Brenden Theater complex in Vacaville. Birtcher awarded Valerio the painting subcontract on the condition that he submit a performance bond. Valerio began working on the … Continue Reading

Company’s Family Leave Policy Did Not Supersede At-Will Agreement

Tomlinson v. Qualcomm, Inc., 97 Cal. App. 4th 934 (2002) While working on a reduced schedule as part of a family leave of absence, Lona Tomlinson was selected for layoff and terminated. Tomlinson asserted that her termination violated the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), Cal. Gov’t Code § 12945.2, based on her contention that employees who are … Continue Reading

Employee Had No Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy In Home Computer Provided By Employer

TBG Ins. Serv. Corp. v. Superior Court, 96 Cal. App. 4th 443 (2002) The employer in this case had provided its employee, Robert Zieminski, with two computers – one for the office and the other to permit Zieminski to work at home. The employee had signed the company’s “electronic and telephone equipment policy,” which, among … Continue Reading
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