California Employment Law Update
Tony Oncidi

Tony Oncidi

Partner

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

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September 2018 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2018 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employer Must Obtain Written Authorization To Conduct Background Check Some Of California’s “Sanctuary State” Employer Obligations Are Struck Down No-Employment Provision In Settlement Agreement Is An Unenforceable Restraint  Court … Continue Reading

Employer Must Obtain Written Authorization To Conduct Background Check

Connor v. First Student, Inc., 2018 WL 3966434 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) Eileen Connor worked as a school bus driver for Laidlaw Education Services, a company that was later acquired by First Student.  First Student retained a consumer reporting agency to conduct background checks on its employees.  The background reports elicited information about the employees, … Continue Reading

Some Of California’s “Sanctuary State” Employer Obligations Are Struck Down

United States v. California, 314 F. Supp. 3d 1077 (E.D. Cal. 2018) United States District Judge John A. Mendez issued an order enjoining California from enforcing parts of the California Immigration Workers Protection Act (Assembly Bill 450), a new state law that restricts private employers from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement.  Among other things, the … Continue Reading

No-Employment Provision In Settlement Agreement Is An Unenforceable Restraint 

Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Med. Group, 896 F.3d 1018 (9th Cir. 2018) Donald Golden, M.D. is an emergency-room doctor formerly affiliated with the California Emergency Physicians Medical Group (“CEP”), a large consortium of over 1,000 physicians that manages or staffs many emergency rooms in California and other western states. Dr. Golden sued CEP for … Continue Reading

Court Affirms $500,000 Jury Award To Employee Who Stutters

Caldera v. California Department of Corr. & Rehab., 25 Cal. App. 5th 31 (2018) Augustine Caldera is a correctional officer at a state prison who stutters when he speaks.  Caldera alleged that the prison’s employees, including a supervisor, “mocked and mimicked” his stutter at least a dozen times over a period of two years.  Caldera … Continue Reading

Member Of Tribe Could Proceed With Whistleblower Suit

The Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, 2018 WL 3978542 (9th Cir. 2018) Ken St. Marks, a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, informed the United States Department of the Interior (the “Department”) that he believed members of the Tribe’s governing body were misusing federal stimulus … Continue Reading

Professional Golf Caddies May Be Required To Wear Bibs Containing Advertisements

Hicks v. PGA Tour, Inc., 897 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2018) Professional golf caddies sued the PGA Tour, contending they should not be compelled to wear bibs featuring advertising sold by the Tour and local hosts of the PGA tournaments.  The caddies allege contract, quasi-contract, publicity and unfair competition claims under California law, a false … Continue Reading

Employee May Recover For Breach Of Contract, But Not For “Theft Of Labor”

Lacagnina v. Comprehend Sys. Inc., 25 Cal. App. 5th 955 (2018) David Lacagnina sued his former employer for fraud, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and “theft of labor by false pretenses” in violation of Cal. Pen. Code §§ 484 and 496.  The jury awarded $556,446 in … Continue Reading

Attorneys Were Not Liable For Breach Of Confidential Settlement Agreement

Monster Energy Co. v. Schechter, 26 Cal. App. 5th 54 (2018) The attorneys for two individuals who had sued Monster Energy Company signed and approved as to “content and form” a confidential settlement agreement between the individuals and Monster.  During an interview with a reporter for lawyersandsettlements.com, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys disclosed information that … Continue Reading

Injured Employee Who Was Denied Prescription Drug Is Limited To Workers’ Comp Benefits

King v. CompPartners, Inc., 2018 WL 4017874 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) Two physician-utilization reviewers acting on behalf of Kirk King’s employer determined that a treatment that had been recommended for King (an employee who had suffered an injury covered by workers’ compensation) was not “medically necessary” and decertified the prescription without providing for a weaning … Continue Reading

FLSA’s De Minimis Doctrine Does Not Apply To California “Off-The-Clock” Claims

Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829 (2018) In this opinion, the California Supreme Court answered a legal question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:  “Does the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s de minimis doctrine…apply to claims for unpaid wages under California Labor Code sections 510, 1194 and 1197?”  … Continue Reading

Taco Bell Did Not Deny Meal Breaks By Providing Employee Discounts For Meals Eaten On Premises

Rodriguez v. Taco Bell Corp., 896 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 2018) In this putative class action, employees challenged a special offer that Taco Bell provided to its employees:  They could receive discounted meals and complimentary soft drinks so long as they ate the discounted meals on the premises of the restaurant.  On behalf of the … Continue Reading

$80.00 Error On Final Check Results In Six-Figure Judgment In Favor Of Employee

Nishiki v. Danko Meredith, APC, 25 Cal. App. 5th 883 (2018) Taryn Nishiki worked as office manager and paralegal for a law firm before resigning her employment via email on Friday, November 14, 2014.  At the time of her resignation, Nishiki was owed $2,880.31 for her accrued but unused vacation time.  On Tuesday, November 18, … Continue Reading

Change In Retirees’ Health Benefits Did Not Constitute Age Discrimination, But May Be A Breach Of Contract

Harris v. County of Orange, 2018 WL 4211161 (9th Cir. 2018) This case arises from a restructuring of two benefit plans that the County of Orange provides to its retirees.  The retirees allege they have an implied contractual right to receive the benefits provided to them throughout their retirement.  Although the district court dismissed the … Continue Reading

Class Action Dismissed For Failure To Bring Lawsuit To Trial Within Five Years

Martinez v. Landry’s Rest., Inc., 2018 WL 4091279 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) The trial court dismissed this putative class action due to plaintiffs’ failure to bring it to trial within five years as required by the Code of Civil Procedure.  The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion … Continue Reading

Employer’s Future Attorneys’ Fees Should Be Considered In Connection With CAFA Amount-In-Controversy Requirement

Fritsch v. Swift Transp. Co. of Ariz., LLC, 899 F.3d 785 (9th Cir. 2018) At issue in this case is whether the district court erred in remanding an action to state court that had been removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) on the ground that the defendant failed to prove … Continue Reading

Employer Of Piece-Rate Employees May Assert Safe-Harbor Defense

Jackpot Harvesting Co. v. Superior Court, 26 Cal. App. 5th 125 (2018) Labor Code Section 226.2, which became effective Jan. 1, 2016, addresses the manner in which piece-rate employees are to be compensated for rest and recovery periods and other non-productive time on the job (“rest/NP time”).  The Court of Appeal held that an employer … Continue Reading

Social Media Mania — Be Careful Out There!

Employers are increasingly turning to social networking sites to find additional information about candidates. In fact, recent articles suggest that an applicant’s failure to have a social media presence is viewed by many employers as a decided negative, and a 2006 CareerBuilder survey found that 70 percent of employers use social networking sites to research … Continue Reading

Do California’s New Restrictions on Independent Contractors Apply Retroactively?

On May 1, we reported on the California Supreme Court’s opinion in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, in which the Supreme Court set forth the standard for determining if a worker may properly be classified as an employee or independent contractor. See  Cal. Employment Law Blog (May 1, 2018). An issue that the Court … Continue Reading

Another Gargantuan California Verdict… This Time for $18.6 Million

A San Diego jury awarded that amount to a former employee who claimed he was wrongfully terminated based on his arrest record and then defamed. Michael Tilkey worked for Allstate Insurance for 30 years and was fired from his job as a field sales leader after he admitted to Allstate that he was arrested for domestic violence … Continue Reading

New California Statute Shields Victims/Employers from Defamation Claims

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 2770 (Assembly Member Irwin; D-Thousand Oaks), an act to amend Section 47 of the Civil Code.  The bill should protect both sexual harassment victims and employers against defamation claims from alleged harassers. The bill was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and passed the Legislature with unanimous, bipartisan … Continue Reading

July 2018 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2018 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Supreme Court Bars Mandatory Union Dues For Public Employees Supreme Court Upholds Employee Class Action Waivers Court Reverses Defense Verdict In Sexual Harassment Case Employer May Be … Continue Reading

Employer Improperly Adopted Alternative Workweek Schedule But Wage Statement Penalties Are Reversed

Maldonado v. Epsilon Plastics, Inc., 22 Cal. App. 5th 1308 (2018) Olvin Maldonado filed this class action against his employer based upon an improperly adopted Alternative Workweek Schedule (“AWS”). The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the trial court, finding that Epsilon failed to prove that there had been a preadoption vote of the … Continue Reading
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