California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Off-the-clock Issues

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New Notice Regarding Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault And Stalking Protections

Existing law prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work for specified purposes related to addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This bill requires employers to inform each employee … Continue Reading

Employer Is Not Liable For $885,000 In Damages Caused By Off-Duty Employee

Jorge v. Culinary Inst. of Am., 3 Cal. App. 5th 382 (2016) Leopoldo Jorge, Jr., sued Almir Da Fonseca and his employer, the Culinary Institute of America, for injuries Jorge sustained when he was struck by a car driven by Da Fonseca. Da Fonseca, who is employed as a chef instructor for the Institute, had … Continue Reading

Lawful Shmawful: Ninth Circuit Ignores Lawful Written Policy and Uses Statistical Sampling to Certify Class Based on Alleged “Unofficial Policy”

On September 3, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld certification of a class of approximately 800 nonexempt insurance claims adjusters who claimed they worked overtime without compensation despite the employer’s lawful written policy to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked. In Jimenez v. Allstate Ins. Co., the Ninth Circuit upheld … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Was Properly Granted In Favor Of Employer In Off-The-Clock Overtime Case

Jong v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 226 Cal. App. 4th 391 (2014) Henry Jong, who worked as an hourly Outpatient Pharmacy Manager for Kaiser, claimed he was owed unpaid overtime that was earned from alleged “off-the-clock” hours that Kaiser either knew or should have known he had worked. Jong testified in his deposition that … Continue Reading

Rebuking “Trial by Formula,” Federal Court Decertifies Rule 23(b)(3) Class Action

In Stiller v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 3:09-cv-2473-GPC-BGS, Plaintiffs Eric Stiller and Joseph Moro alleged that Costco’s loss-prevention closing procedures effectively “forced” employees to work off-the clock without getting paid because they were required to remain on-site after they had clocked out of their shifts to go through security screenings. In December 2010, the district court … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Affirms Denial Of Class Certification

As we recently reported here, there have been a number of appellate decisions ordering class certification based on the existence of an employer’s companywide policy – all while overlooking numerous individualized questions that would undoubtedly create manageability problems during trial.  On December 30, 2013, the California Court of Appeal in Johnson v. California Pizza Kitchen, … Continue Reading

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

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

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

Employers Need Only Provide (Not Ensure) Meal And Rest Breaks

Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (2012) In this long-awaited opinion, the California Supreme Court determined several important issues of law regarding meal and rest breaks. First and foremost, the Supreme Court determined that “an employer’s obligation is to relieve its employee of all duty, with the employee thereafter at liberty … Continue Reading

Employee Who Complained Orally About FLSA Violation Is Protected From Retaliation

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

Employer Need Only Provide, Not Ensure, Meal And Rest Periods

Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 165 Cal. App. 4th 25 (2008) In this case, the Court of Appeal decided a number important issues concerning employee class action claims for alleged rest break violations, meal period and “early lunching” violations and off-the-clock/“time shaving” violations. The Court of Appeal determined the claims were not amenable to … Continue Reading

County Was Not Liable For The Death Of Employee’s Husband (Whom She Murdered)

deVillers v. County of San Diego, 156 Cal. App. 4th 238 (2007) Kristin Rossum, who was employed as a toxicologist for the County of San Diego, took toxic materials from the Office of Medical Examiner (“OME”) and used them to murder her husband, Greg deVillers. After Rossum was convicted of murdering deVillers, his survivors sued … Continue Reading

Off-Duty Employee Injured On Employer’s Water Slide Was Entitled To $4.4 Million Judgment

Mason v. Lake Dolores Group, LLC, 117 Cal. App. 4th 822 (2004) James Mason was rendered a paraplegic after he rode down the “Doo Wop Super Drop” water slide and crashed into a dam at the end of the slide that was owned and operated by his employer, Lake Dolores Group (LDG). Shortly before the … Continue Reading

Stripper Cop’s Termination May Have Violated His Right To Free Speech

Roe v. City of San Diego, 356 F.3d 1108 (9th Cir. 2004) While working as a San Diego police officer, John Roe videotaped himself stripping off a generic police officer’s uniform and engaging in acts of masturbation. Roe sold the videos on the adults-only section of eBay – under the username “Code3stud@aol.com.” After one of … Continue Reading

Newspaper Columnist May Have Been Terminated In Violation Of Public Policy

Ali v. L.A. Focus Publication, 112 Cal. App. 4th 1477 (2003) Najee Ali, who worked as the community affairs columnist for L.A. Focus Publication, was terminated after he expressed support while a guest on a local radio program for Antonio Villaraigosa, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, and criticized United States Representative Maxine Waters … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate Public Policy Or Privacy Right By Terminating Manager For Dating His Subordinate

Barbee v. Household Auto. Fin. Corp., 113 Cal. App. 4th 525 (2003) Household Automotive Finance Corporation (HAFC) terminated the employment of its national sales manager, Robert Barbee, after learning that Barbee had a “special relationship” with one of his subordinate employees and after giving Barbee the choice of either ending the relationship or effecting his … Continue Reading

City Is Not Liable For Actions Of Employees Who Acted Outside Scope Of Official Duties

Hoblitzell v. City of Ione, 110 Cal. App. 4th 675 (2003) Timothy Hoblitzell, a construction contractor, sued three employees of the City of Ione and the city itself after the employees identified themselves to one of Hoblitzell’s customers (a property owner) as building inspectors, told the customer that Hoblitzell had been performing the construction without … Continue Reading

Employer May Be Liable For Auto Accident Caused By Employee Who Became Sick From Fumigation

Bussard v. Minimed, Inc., 105 Cal. App. 4th 798 (2003) Barbara Bussard was injured when Irma Hernandez, a Minimed clerical employee, rear-ended Bussard, who was stopped at a red light. Hernandez was on her way home after she became ill at work the day after Minimed had fumigated its premises in order to eliminate a … Continue Reading
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