California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Privacy

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Actors’ Ages to Remain Available Online (At Least for Now)

A federal court has granted IMDb’s request for a preliminary injunction to allow the entertainment website to keep actors’ ages in their online profiles – despite the enactment of a statute in California prohibiting same. The lawsuit, IMDb.com, Inc. v. Becerra (Case No. 16-cv-06535-VC) was filed in response to the passage of A.B. 1687, which required … Continue Reading

Actors’ Online Age Disclosures Restricted

This bill prohibits a commercial online entertainment employment service provider that enters into a contractual agreement to provide specified employment services to an individual paid subscriber from publishing information about the subscriber’s age in an online profile of the subscriber and would require the provider, within five days, to remove from public view in an … Continue Reading

CA Governor Signs Bill Allowing Actors to Delete Their Age from Online Profiles

On September 24, 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1687 – a measure aimed at preventing age discrimination against film, television, and other professionals in the entertainment industry whose ages could be viewed by casting directors and other potential employers.  As a result of this bill, industry professionals whose profiles are listed on commercial … Continue Reading

Liability For Employer’s Harassment, False Imprisonment Of Employees Was Not Covered By Insurance

Jon Davler, Inc. v. Arch Ins. Co., 229 Cal. App. 4th 1025 (2014) After one of the owners of Jon Davler, Inc. (Christina Yang) found a used sanitary napkin in the women’s bathroom and blood around the toilet seat, she started yelling at the employees that they were “dirty” and demanded to know which of … Continue Reading

Google Required To Produce Emails In Response To Former Employer’s Subpoena

Negro v. Superior Court, 2014 WL 5341926 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) Navalimpianti USA, Inc. subpoenaed Google, Inc. to produce copies of email messages it had relating to one of Navalimpianti’s former employees, Matteo Negro. Prior to initiating this action against Google in state court in California, Navalimpianti sued Negro and other former employees in state … Continue Reading

University Professor Was Properly Terminated For Refusing Fitness-For-Duty Exam

Kao v. The University of San Francisco, 229 Cal. App. 4th 437 (2014) Dr. John S. Kao was a tenured professor at USF who submitted a 485-page complaint (plus a 41-page addendum) to the university alleging race-based discrimination and harassment at the school. Kao was not satisfied with the university’s two-page response, which he said … Continue Reading

March 2014 California Employment Law Notes

$150,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And $680,000 Fee Award Affirmed Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP, 222 Cal. App. 4th 1228 (2014) Max Taylor worked as a floorhand on an oil rig where he alleged he was harassed by his supervisors who called him “queer,” “fagot [sic],” “homo,” and “gay porn star” and was subjected to … Continue Reading

New California Law Protects Employee Use of Social Media

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law protecting employee use of social media by prohibiting an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for employment to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing the employee’s personal social media.  Additionally, an employer may not require an employee or applicant … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Recognizes Priests’ Privacy Interest In Their Personnel Files

In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland, 657 F.3d 1008 (2011) Documents that were produced in discovery and filed in the bankruptcy court contained allegations that Fathers “M” and “D” (two priests who were not parties to the Portland Archdiocese’s bankruptcy case) had sexually abused children. The bankruptcy court held that the discovery documents could … Continue Reading

Pregnancy Harassment Claim Was Properly Dismissed, And Employee Waived Attorney-Client Privilege By Using Employer’s Computer

Holmes v. Petrovich Dev. Co., 191 Cal. App. 4th 1047 (2011) Gina Holmes sued her employer for harassment based on pregnancy, retaliation, constructive discharge, violation of the right to privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted summary adjudication to the defendants with respect to the claims for harassment, retaliation and constructive … Continue Reading

NASA Employees’ Privacy Was Not Invaded By Background Check

NASA v. Nelson, 562 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 746 (2011) Twenty-eight contract employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (“JPL”), which is owned by NASA but operated by Cal Tech, had never been subjected to a government background investigation. In 2004, a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission prompted the President to order new, uniform identification … Continue Reading

Non-Union County Employees Must Be Permitted To Object To Disclosure Of Personal Information

County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Comm’n, 190 Cal. App. 4th 178 (2010) During the course of collective bargaining, the Service Employees International Union asked the county for the personal contact information (names, home addresses and home telephone numbers) of county employees who are in the bargaining unit but who are … Continue Reading

City’s Search Of Text Messages Was Reasonable Despite Employee’s Expectation Of Privacy

City of Ontario v. Quon, 130 S. Ct. 2619 (2010) The City of Ontario’s Computer Usage, Internet and E-mail Policy provides that use of the city’s computers and other electronic equipment, networks, etc., is limited to city-related business, that access is not confidential and “users should have no expectation of privacy or confidentiality when using … Continue Reading

Client Alert: Ninth Circuit Reversed in Sexting Privacy Decision

Today, in a decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a case involving an employee’s assertion that a government employer had violated the Fourth Amendment by unreasonably obtaining and reviewing personal text messages sent and received on … Continue Reading

Television Writers’ Privacy Objections Overruled In Age Class Action Against Studios, Networks And Talent Agencies

Alch v. Superior Court, 165 Cal. App. 4th 1412 (2008) In this ongoing putative class action filed by television writers alleging “industry-wide” age discrimination, the writers served subpoenas on the Writers Guild of America (“WGA”) and other third parties, seeking demographic information, including dates of birth, employment data such as writers’ employers, job titles, credits … Continue Reading

Police Officer Had Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy In Text Messages Sent And Received On Pager

Quon v. Arch Wireless Operating Co., 529 F.3d 892 (9th Cir. 2008) Arch Wireless contracted to provide wireless text-messaging services for the City of Ontario, including its police department. Pursuant to the city’s general Computer Usage, Internet and E-mail Policy, the use of the city’s computers and other electronic equipment, networks, etc., was limited to city-related … Continue Reading

Employee Had No Expectation Of Privacy While Using Company’s Computer

United States v. Ziegler, 456 F.3d 1138 (9th Cir. 2006) After the owner of Frontline Processing contacted the FBI with a tip that an employee, Brian Ziegler, had accessed child pornography on the Internet from a workplace computer, Frontline entered Ziegler’s locked office and made a copy of the computer’s hard drive, which was provided … Continue Reading

Company’s Out-of-State Employees May Have Violated California Privacy Law With Surreptitious Taping

Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 39 Cal. 4th 95 (2006) In this proceeding, several California clients of SSB filed a putative class action seeking damages and injunctive relief against SSB’s Atlanta-based branch’s practice of recording telephone conversations with California residents without their knowledge or consent. The lower court affirmed dismissal of the lawsuit after … Continue Reading

Names And Addresses Of Putative Plaintiffs In Class Action Are Protected By Privacy Rights

Tien v. Superior Court, 139 Cal. App. 4th 528 (2006) In this wage and hour class action litigation against Tenet Healthcare Corporation, plaintiffs sought from Tenet the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all of the putative members of the class, which Tenet estimated to be approximately 50,000 people. The parties subsequently agreed that a … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Asked To Decide Whether Website Posting Invaded Company Owner’s Privacy

Readylink Healthcare v. Lynch, 440 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2006) Readylink Healthcare and its founder, sole shareholder and officer, Barry Treash, sued David Lynch and his law firm for invasion of privacy (public disclosure of private facts) based upon, among other things, Lynch’s posting on his website that Treash was a “convicted felon.” (Lynch had … Continue Reading

Employee Had Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy In Documents Saved On Employer’s Laptop

People v. Jiang, 131 Cal. App. 4th 1027 (2005) Weibin Jiang was arrested and charged with committing sexual offenses against an acquaintance. While he was out on bail, Jiang prepared numerous password-protected documents for his attorneys, which he saved in a folder labeled “Attorney” on his employer-issued laptop computer. The prosecutor obtained the documents by … Continue Reading

Airline May Have Unlawfully Rescinded Job Offers To HIV-Positive Applicants

Leonel v. American Airlines, Inc., 400 F.3d 702 (9th Cir. 2005) Walber Leonel and two other individuals applied for flight attendant positions with American Airlines. Plaintiffs were interviewed in Dallas and received conditional offers of employment, contingent upon their passing background checks and medical examinations. Although none of the applicants disclosed his HIV-positive status or … Continue Reading
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