California Employment Law Update

Monthly Archives: September 2007

Defamation Claims Of University’s Former Head Coach Were Properly Dismissed Under Anti-SLAPP Law

McGarry v. University of San Diego, 154 Cal. App. 4th 97 (2007) Following the termination of Kevin McGarry’s employment as head coach of USD’s football team, two university officials allegedly commented to the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper about the reasons for the termination. In response to these statements, McGarry sued the university and the … Continue Reading

Company Failed To Prove Trade Secret Misappropriation By Former Employee

Yield Dynamics, Inc. v. TEA Systems Corp., 154 Cal. App. 4th 547 (2007) Yield Dynamics, which develops and markets software products designed to facilitate the fabrication of microchips, sued its former employee, Terrence Zavecz, and two business entities of which he is a principal for breach of contract, violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and related claims. … Continue Reading

Customs Service Employee Was Retaliated Against, But Not Constructively Discharged

Poland v. Chertoff, 494 F.3d 1174 (9th Cir. 2007) James R. Poland, a former employee of the U.S. Customs Service, alleged age discrimination in violation of the ADEA, retaliation and constructive discharge resulting from his transfer to a new job in a new location. After a bench trial, the district court entered a $339,000 judgment in … Continue Reading

Negligence Suit Against Employment Agency Was Not Time-Barred

E-Fab, Inc. v. Accountants, Inc. Services, 153 Cal. App. 4th 1308 (2007) E-Fab designs and manufactures precision components and tools. When in 1996 E-Fab needed a temporary accountant, it contacted defendant Accountants, Inc. Services. Accountants represented to E-Fab that it had screened Vickie Hunt and had confirmed and verified her qualifications, credentials and accomplishments. From 1996 to … Continue Reading

No Private Right Of Action Under Federal Whistleblower Protection Program

Williams v. United Airlines, Inc., 500 F.3d 1019 (9th Cir. 2007) Anthony L. Williams, a maintenance worker, sued United Airlines and his former supervisor, alleging retaliatory discrimination under the Federal Airline Deregulation Act’s Whistleblower Protection Program (WPP) and related state law claims. Williams claimed that he was terminated in retaliation for a dispute related to an … Continue Reading

Discrimination, Retaliation Claims Under Title VII Were Untimely Filed

Payan v. Aramark Mgmt. Services Ltd. P’ship, 495 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2007) In response to a charge of discrimination and retaliation that Martha E. Payan filed with the EEOC, the agency issued a right-to-sue letter on September 26, 2003. Payan asserted that the date she received the letter was “unknown.” However, it was undisputed that … Continue Reading

Discrimination And Sexual Harassment Suit Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Jones v. California Dep’t of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 152 Cal. App. 4th 1367 (2007) Kim C. Jones worked as a correctional officer at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility for approximately 16 years before experiencing alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment, race discrimination, assault and battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The trial court … Continue Reading

FedEx Drivers Were Employees For Purposes Of Obtaining Reimbursement For Expenses

Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 154 Cal. App. 4th 1 (2007) Anthony Estrada, a former driver for FedEx, alleged unfair business practices under Business & Professions Code § 17200, contending that the pick-up and delivery drivers were improperly classified as “independent contractors” rather than employees and, as a result, they were owed reimbursement … Continue Reading

Federally Chartered Credit Union Not Immune From Punitive Damages

McGee v. Tucoemas Fed. Credit Union, 153 Cal. App. 4th 1351 (2007) Kimberly McGee, a former vice president of lending for the credit union, took a leave of absence for surgery and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The credit union allegedly told McGee that if she did not return to work within four … Continue Reading

Insurance Claims Adjusters Are Not Exempt From Overtime

Harris v. Superior Court, 154 Cal. App. 4th 164 (2007) Plaintiffs, members of four coordinated class actions filed against two insurance companies, alleged they were improperly classified as exempt employees in violation of the administrative exemption from the overtime requirements of California law. Applying the Administrative/Production Worker Dichotomy analysis, the Court of Appeal concluded that … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Granted In Meal/Rest Period Case

White v. Starbucks Corp., 497 F. Supp. 2d 1080 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (Walker, J.) Steve White, a former store manager for Starbucks, claimed the company had failed to (1) pay overtime wages in violation of Labor Code §§ 201 and 204 and Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11070(12)(A); (2) provide meal and rest periods in … Continue Reading

CEO Could Proceed With Malicious Prosecution Action Against Former Employee’s Attorneys

Siebel v. Mittlesteadt, 41 Cal. 4th 735 (2007) Thomas M. Siebel, the CEO of Siebel Systems, Inc. (SSI), sued Carol L. Mittlesteadt and E. Rick Buell, II (the “Lawyers”), for malicious prosecution based on their representation of Debra Christoffers, a former SSI employee. Through the Lawyers, Christoffers sued Siebel (individually) as well as SSI for … Continue Reading

Disabled Employee Bears Burden Of Proving Ability To Perform Essential Duties Of The Job

Green v. State of Cal., 2007 WL 2388920 (Cal. S. Ct. Aug. 23, 2007) Dwight Green worked as a stationary engineer for the Department of Corrections at the California Institute for Men in Chino. Seven years after contracting hepatitis C (presumably from the sewer pipes at the Institute), Green began taking the drug interferon, which … Continue Reading

Operating Expenses May Be Deducted From Revenues In Supplemental Compensation Plan

Prachasaisoradej v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 2007 WL 2388914 (Cal. S. Ct. Aug. 23, 2007) Eddy Prachasaisoradej, a produce manager for Ralphs, challenged the calculation of bonuses he received under a written incentive compensation plan, which included deductions for expenses and losses due to cash and merchandise shortages and shrinkage, workers’ compensation, tort claims and other … Continue Reading