California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Wage and Hour

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Health Care Employees Should Not Have Been Permitted To Waive Their Second Meal Periods

Gerard v. Orange Coast Mem. Med. Ctr., 2015 WL 535730 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015) 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 … Continue Reading

Oops! California Court Gets Around to Invalidating 22-Year-Old Meal Period Waiver Rules for Healthcare Employees

For nearly 22 years, IWC Wage Order No. 4 and IWC Wage Order No. 5 have permitted employees in the “health care industry” who work shifts in excess of eight total hours in a workday to “voluntarily waive their right to one of their two meal periods. . . . in a written agreement that … Continue Reading

Trial Court Properly Denied Class Certification For Unpaid Meal Break Claims

In re Walgreen Co. Overtime Cases, 231 Cal. App. 4th 437 (2014) The putative class members in this case moved for class certification on the theory that although Walgreens’s stated policy on meal breaks was proper, its actual practice departed from its stated policy in an illegal and class wide way. The trial court denied … Continue Reading

Time Spent By Warehouse Workers In Security Screening Is Not Compensable Under Fair Labor Standards Act

Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 574 U.S. ___, 2014 WL 6885951 (2014) The employer in this case, Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc., provides staffing to Amazon.com throughout the United States. Plaintiffs Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro worked as hourly employees retrieving and packaging products at Integrity Staffing warehouses in Nevada. Integrity Staffing required its employees … Continue Reading

Employee Recovers $131,000 For Unpaid Wages Against Former Employer

Tabarrejo v. Superior Court, 2014 WL 7335417 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) Manuel Tabarrejo was employed as a caregiver by Princess Retirement Homes, Inc. (“PRH”). After Tabarrejo left his employment with PRH, he filed a claim with the Labor Commissioner for unpaid wages and other wage-related claims and was awarded $131,096.77. PRH appealed the Labor Commissioner’s … Continue Reading

Trial Court Should Have Certified Class Claims Of Managerial Employees

Martinez v. Joe’s Crab Shack Holdings, 231 Cal. App. 4th 362 (2014) Roberto Martinez and three other current or former employees of Joe’s Crab Shack (“JCS”) filed this putative class action asserting that they and similarly situated salaried managerial employees had been misclassified as exempt employees and were entitled to unpaid overtime and related wages. … Continue Reading

Multiple PAGA Representative Claims Crumble As Federal Courts Continue To Reject Iskanian and Enforce Arbitration Agreements Containing PAGA Waivers

When the California Supreme Court decided Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (2014), this June, some legal commentators assumed that employees could not waive pre-litigation claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Those assumptions may have been premature. As we noted here, at least one federal court refused to … Continue Reading

Employee Who Falsified Timesheets Was Ineligible For Unemployment Benefits

Irving v. CUIAB, 229 Cal. App. 4th 946 (2014) Jim L. Irving who worked as a probationary heavy truck driver for the Los Angeles Unified School District was terminated for, among other things, taking excessively long breaks and falsifying his time records. The Court of Appeal determined that Irving had committed misconduct and was thus ineligible … Continue Reading

Class Of Insurance Claims Adjusters Was Properly Certified

Jiminez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 765 F.3d 1161 (9th Cir. 2014) Jack Jiminez and approximately 800 other Allstate employees claimed that Allstate has a practice or unofficial policy of requiring its claims adjusters to work unpaid off-the-clock overtime in violation of California law. The district court certified the class with respect to the unpaid overtime, … Continue Reading

Federal Law Does Not Preempt Meal And Rest Break Requirements For Motor Carrier Employees

Godfrey v. Oakland Port Servs. Corp., 2014 WL 5439289 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) Plantiffs Lavon Godfrey and Gary Gilbert initiated this class action against AB Trucking, alleging that AB did not pay its drivers for all hours worked, misclassified some drivers as non-employee trainees whom it did not pay at all, and failed to provide … Continue Reading

Unpaid Interns Are Now Protected Against Discrimination and Harassment

On September 9, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1443, which extends the state’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination protections to unpaid interns. Employers are now prohibited from discrimination based on protected characteristics in the “selection, termination, training or other terms” of unpaid interns. A.B. 1443 also prohibits harassment of unpaid interns based on protected characteristics, … Continue Reading

Employer Properly Deducted Hours From Exempt Employee’s Leave Bank

Rhea v. General Atomics, 227 Cal. App. 4th 1560 (2014) Lori Rhea is an exempt employee of General Atomics who receives a salary and accrues comprehensive annual leave (“Annual Leave”) that can be used by employees to take paid time off for any reason, including vacation, sickness, medical appointments, family obligations and leisure pursuits.  The … Continue Reading

Commission Wages Paid In One Pay Period May Not Be Attributed To Other Pay Periods In Order To Satisfy Minimum Wage Requirements

Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., 59 Cal. 4th 662 (2014) Susan Peabody worked as a commissioned salesperson for Time Warner Cable, Inc. (“TWC”).  Peabody regularly worked 45 hours per week but received no overtime.  TWC considered Peabody and the other members of the putative class to be subject to the commissioned employee exemption under California … Continue Reading

Employees Of Electrical/Gas Company Are Not Entitled To Off-Duty Meal Periods

Araquistain v. Pacific Gas & Elec. Co., 2014 WL 4227872 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) Plaintiffs Ignacio Araquistain, David Page and Douglas Girouard are non-exempt, unionized employees of PG&E, which is an “electrical corporation” and a “gas corporation” within the meaning of Labor Code § 512(f)(4).  The operative collective bargaining agreement states that “shift employees and … Continue Reading

FedEx Drivers Are Employees Not Independent Contractors

Alexander v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 2014 WL 4211107 (9th Cir. 2014) In this class action the named plaintiffs represent approximately 2,300 individuals who were full-time delivery drivers for FedEx in California between 2000 and 2007.  FedEx characterizes its drivers as independent contractors in its Operating Agreement.  Similar cases to this one were filed … 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

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

Class Action Plaintiffs Must Develop A Trial Plan That May Include Statistical Sampling

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 59 Cal. 4th 1 (2014) Plaintiffs in this case are loan officers for U.S. Bank (“USB”) who claim they were misclassified as exempt employees under the outside salesperson exemption. After certifying a class of 260 plaintiffs, the trial court devised a plan to determine the extent of USB’s liability … Continue Reading

California Courts May No Longer Be Able to Certify a Ham Sandwich

Commentators have quipped that class certification is so easy in California that with little effort a group of plaintiffs could certify even a ham sandwich.  In fact, as we have discussed here, we have seen a proliferation of recent appellate decisions hinging class certification on the mere existence of an employer’s uniform policy – no … Continue Reading

Severance Payments Are Taxable Wages Under FICA

United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., 572 U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 1377 (2014) Before and following the filing of an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Quality Stores and its affiliated companies terminated thousands of employees. The employees received severance payments, and Quality Stores reported those payments as wages on W-2 tax forms, paid the employer’s required … Continue Reading

PAGA Action Should Have Been Remanded To State Court

Baumann v. Chase Inv. Servs., 2014 WL 983587 (9th Cir. 2014) Joseph Baumann sued his employer, Chase Investment Services Corporation, under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), alleging claims for unpaid overtime, meal breaks and rest periods and timely expense reimbursements. Baumann further alleged his potential share of any recovery and attorney’s fees would be … Continue Reading
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