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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California Has a New Governor – Will it Make Much Difference for Employers?

After Jerry Brown’s second set of 8 years in office (1975-83 and 2011-19), employers now look to Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom for what’s in store for them in the Golden State.  (Although Jerry Brown wasn’t a particularly good friend of employers, he often was the only friend they had in Sacramento, vetoing some of the more … Continue Reading

Court Provides Further Clarification of CA’s New Independent Contractor Test

On May 1, we reported about the Dynamex Operations W., Inc. v. Superior Court opinion in which the California Supreme Court adopted a new standard (the “ABC test”) for determining if a worker may properly be classified as an employee or independent contractor.  Last Monday, the California Court of Appeal clarified that the “ABC” test … Continue Reading

Viacom Sues Netflix for Employee Poaching

Viacom, like Fox before, asserts the streamer is knowingly interfering with contracts. Viacom has filed a lawsuit alleging that Netflix induced one of its employees to break contract to join the streaming giant. The case, lodged in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, continues to explode the issue of the legality of fixed-term employment contracts.Read … Continue Reading

“Bill Bites” – More New Labor and Employment Laws in California

In addition to the #MeToo inspired legislation, which we covered in a recent blog post, Governor Brown signed several other pieces of legislation amending existing laws and imposing new requirements regarding employment. Here are our “Bill Bites,” which provide a snapshot of the new laws PAGA Does Not Apply to Construction Workers: Assembly Bill 1654 … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Signs Slew Of #MeToo-Inspired Laws

This weekend Governor Brown signed many laws that were authored and gained traction in response to the #MeToo movement: New Restrictions On Confidentiality Of Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Settlements Senate Bill 820 prohibits confidentiality or non-disclosure provisions in settlement agreements that prevent the disclosure of factual information involving allegations of sexual misconduct – unless the party alleging … Continue Reading

California Imposes New Mediation Disclosure Requirement On Attorneys

Earlier this month, Governor Brown signed new legislation (SB 954), which requires lawyers to provide their clients with a printed disclosure describing the confidentiality restrictions applicable to mediation.  This disclosure must be provided to a client as soon as reasonably possible before the client agrees to participate in a mediation.  Lawyers also will be required … Continue Reading

Could “CEO Action Pledge” Lead to Unintended Consequences?

The #MeToo movement has propelled employers across the U.S. to look not only at their policies for dealing with discrimination and harassment but also at their efforts to hire and promote employees from traditionally underrepresented groups. More than 450 CEOs and presidents across 85 industries have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a … Continue Reading

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
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