California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: wage and hour

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

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 Employers Down, But Not Out, Concerning Class Certification Issues

Shortly after the California Supreme Court issued its 2012 decision in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, employers saw an immediate uptick in appellate court decisions supporting the denial of class certification to plaintiffs in wage and hour lawsuits. Today, the opposite seems to be true: appellate courts are reversing decisions denying class certification and … 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

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

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

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

Insurance Claims Adjusters Are Not Exempt Administrative Employees

Harris v. Superior Court, 207 Cal. App. 4th 1225 (2012) Plaintiffs in this case are insurance claims adjusters who claim they were misclassified as exempt from overtime under the administrative exemption. The Court of Appeal held that because the adjusters’ primary work duties are the day-to-day tasks of adjusting individual claims and are not directly … Continue Reading

Claim For Unpaid Vacation Benefits Was Properly Dismissed

Bell v. H.F. Cox, Inc., 2012 WL 3846827 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) Oscar Bell and other truck drivers filed a putative class action against Cox, alleging wage and hour violations. Among other things, the drivers alleged that Cox had failed to pay promised vacation benefits to current employees (it paid them a flat rate of … Continue Reading

Appellate Courts Begin To Apply Brinker Decision

Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 2012 WL 3579567 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) Rogelio Hernandez appealed from the order denying his motion for class certification and granting Chipotle’s motion to deny class certification as to his claims that Chipotle denied non-exempt employees their meal and rest breaks. Chipotle moved to deny class certification on the … Continue Reading

Unfair Competition Claim Against Franchisor Was Properly Dismissed

Aleksick v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 205 Cal. App. 4th 1176 (2012) Kimberly Aleksick, who worked as a clerk at a 7-Eleven store, sued 7-Eleven (the franchisor of the store where Aleksick was employed) for violation of the Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”). Aleksick alleged that 7-Eleven, which provides payroll services to its franchisees, violated the UCL by … 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

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

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

Attorney Was Properly Denied Precertification Discovery To Find A New Class Representative

Pirjada v. Superior Court, 201 Cal. App. 4th 1074 (2011) Putative class representative Obaidul H. Pirjada filed a complaint on behalf of himself and a putative class of all security guards who had been employed in California by Pacific National Security, Inc. during the preceding four years. The complaint alleged a failure to provide meal-and-rest … Continue Reading

Claims Adjusters Were Properly Classified As Exempt Administrative Employees

Hodge v. Aon Ins. Servs., 192 Cal. App. 4th 1361 (2011) Plaintiffs in this case are claims adjusters employed by a third party administrator (Cambridge Integrated Services Group, Inc.). Depending on the entity with which it contracts and the terms of the contract, Cambridge adjusts general liability, vehicle-related and workers’ compensation claims. In their claim … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate FLSA By Changing Pay Rates For Nurses Working Alternative Workweeks

Parth v. Pomona Valley Hosp., 2010 WL 5064380 (9th Cir. 2010) The Fair Labor Standards Act required Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (“PVHMC”) to pay its employees 1-1/2 times the employees’ regular rate for any employment in excess of eight hours in any workday and in excess of 80 hours in a 14-day period. However, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Clarifies Liability on Waiting Time Penalties

On November 18, the California Supreme Court in Pineda v. Bank of America, No. S170758 (Cal. Nov. 18, 2010) (pdf) clarified two issues regarding so-called “waiting time penalties” (i.e., penalties under California Labor Code Section 203 associated with the late payment of final wages upon termination of employment). First, the Court ruled that a three-year statute … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Refuses to Allow Parallel Federal and State Wage-and-Hour Class Actions to Proceed

On November 3, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear an appeal brought by a Harrah’s Las Vegas casino dealer challenging the District Court’s ruling that her proposed state wage-and-hour class action was preempted by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  In so doing, the Ninth Circuit chose not to revisit the … Continue Reading
LexBlog