California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: class action

It’s Time to Think About Arbitration Agreements Again Following Recent $15 Million+ Employee Verdicts

Jury panels in the Los Angeles Superior Court (which is often referred to as “The Bank” by the plaintiffs’ bar) have recently delivered multimillion-dollar verdicts to former-employee plaintiffs.  Many employers doing business in California already have insulated themselves from such disasters by adopting comprehensive arbitration regimes, which would require that such cases be heard by a retired … Continue Reading

Texas Choice Of Forum and Choice Of Law Provisions Violated California Public Policy

Verdugo v. Alliantgroup, L.P., 237 Cal. App. 4th 141 (2015) Rachel Verdugo, an associate director in the Irvine office of Alliantgroup, filed this putative class action against her employer for various violations of the California Labor Code governing overtime compensation, meal and rest breaks, vacation pay, the Private Attorneys General Act and accurate wage statements. … 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 Supreme Court Leaves Unanswered Questions in Independent Contractor Case

On Monday, June 30, 2014, the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, a lawsuit brought on behalf of a group of newspaper delivery carriers who alleged that they had been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.  The trial court had initially denied certification, finding that common issues … 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

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

Brinker Round 2: Plaintiffs Secure Class Certification in Trial Court

After the renowned remand from the California Supreme Court, the Hohnbaum plaintiffs in Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (2012) sought to certify meal period claims alleging that all California employees were denied meal periods because Brinker’s corporate meal period policies were unlawful. Plaintiffs argued that Brinker’s corporate policies were unlawful … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Attempt To Plead Around CAFA’s Jurisdictional Amount In Controversy

In 2005, Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which creates federal jurisdiction over class actions involving more than 100 class members and $5 million in controversy. Plaintiffs have long attempted to avoid CAFA’s invocation of federal jurisdiction by stipulating to no more than $5 million in classwide damages. In Standard Fire Ins. Co. … Continue Reading

California Further Restricts Employer Recovery of Prevailing Party Attorney’s Fees

California has amended Labor Code § 218.5 to limit the circumstances under which an employer may recover its attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party in a lawsuit in which an employee has sued for nonpayment of wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions (SB 462).  Prior to enactment of Senate Bill 462, the prevailing … 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

Reporters’ Class Action For Unpaid Overtime Should Not Have Been Certified

Wang v. Chinese Daily News, 2013 WL 781715 (9th Cir. 2013) Plaintiffs (reporters for the Chinese Daily News) alleged they were non-exempt employees entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California state law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the reporters, finding journalists are not subject to … Continue Reading

Arbitration Clauses Are Enforceable Despite Waiver Of Classwide Arbitration Rights

Flores v. West Covina Auto Group, 2013 WL 139200 (Cal. App. Jan. 11, 2013) Israel Flores and Andrea Naasz sued West Covina Toyota (WCT) and Toyota Motor Sales for selling them a “lemon,” alleging both individual and class action claims, including claims for violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).  WCT filed a motion … Continue Reading

Employer Permitted To Proceed With Defense Of Class Action Based On “Rounding” Policy

See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court, 2012 WL 5305729 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) Pamela Silva sued her former employer, See’s Candy, for various wage-and-hour violations. After certifying a class of current and former California employees, the trial court granted Silva’s motion for summary adjudication on four of See’s Candy’s affirmative defenses. In a writ … Continue Reading

“Rounding” Is Lawful In California – As Long As It’s Even-Handed

Pamela Silva brought a wage-and-hour class action against her former employer, See’s Candy Shops, Inc., alleging, in part, that See’s failed to pay her wages for all hours worked because the See’s timekeeping system rounded employee time entries to the nearest tenth of an hour/nearest six minutes.  In response to the complaint, See’s alleged that … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Certifies Question To California Supreme Court Regarding Commission Exemption

Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., 2012 WL 3538753 (9th Cir. 2012) Susan J. Peabody was employed as a commissioned salesperson by Time Warner Cable (“TWC”) for approximately 10 months. Peabody’s commissions were based on the revenue generated by advertising that was aired every broadcast month, which lasted four or five weeks. Peabody also received … 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

California Law Should Have Been Applied To Determine If Drivers Were Employees Or Independent Contractors

Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp., 667 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 2012) Fernando Ruiz and similarly situated drivers filed a class action against Affinity alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law for failure to pay overtime, failure to pay wages, improper charges for workers’ compensation insurance and unfair business practices. To work … Continue Reading

Employer Was Deprived Of Due Process By Trial Court’s Erroneous Use Of Representative Sampling

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 203 Cal. App. 4th 212 (2012) U.S. Bank (“USB”) appealed a $15 million judgment that was entered against it following a bifurcated bench trial. The plaintiffs are 260 current and former business banking officers who claimed they were misclassified by USB as outside sales personnel exempt from overtime pay. … Continue Reading

PAGA Judgment Is Mostly Affirmed In Employee’s Favor

Thurman v. Bayshore Transit Mgmt., Inc., 203 Cal. App. 4th 1112 (2012) Leander Thurman sued Bayshore for alleged violations of the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) and the Unfair Competition Law and, following a bench trial, a judgment was entered imposing civil penalties, including unpaid wages, against Bayshore in the total amount of … Continue Reading

January 2012 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2012 California Employment Law Notes – a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Insurance Claims Adjusters May Be Exempt Administrative Employees Attorney Was Properly Denied Precertification Discovery To Find A New Class Representative Employee-Attorney’s $440,000 Verdict Against … Continue Reading

California Overtime Requirements Apply To Work Performed By Non-Resident Employees

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 662 F.3d 1265 (2011) Three Oracle instructors (all non-residents of California) filed this class action to recover allegedly unpaid overtime under California law for work they performed while in California. Two of the instructors were residents of Colorado and one was a resident of Arizona; all of them worked in their … Continue Reading

Nonexclusive Insurance Agent Was An Independent Contractor

Arnold v. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co., 202 Cal. App. 4th 580 (2011) Kimbly Arnold filed a complaint against Mutual of Omaha on her behalf and on behalf of a putative class of similarly situated “licensed agents” and “sales representatives” of the company, alleging violations of the California Labor Code, including provisions governing expense reimbursement … Continue Reading

Claims For Reporting Time Pay And Split Shifts Were Properly Dismissed

Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular, 202 Cal. App. 4th 117 (2011) Daniel Krofta and Mary Katz filed this putative class action against their employer, alleging reporting time pay violations and seeking additional compensation for working split shifts. Krofta sought reporting time pay for days he attended meetings at work even though he was furnished work (and … Continue Reading
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