California Employment Law Update
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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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January 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Manicurist Can Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim “Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute … Continue Reading

Flight Attendants Are Entitled To Labor Code Compliant Wage Statements

Gunther v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 72 Cal. App. 5th 334 (2021) Julie Gunther is an Alaska Airlines flight attendant who lives in San Diego. In this PAGA claim, Gunther alleged that her wage statements are not compliant with Cal. Labor Code § 226 because they fail to state the total hours worked; the number of … Continue Reading

Trial Court Failed To Properly Assess Fairness Of PAGA Settlement

Moniz v. Adecco USA, Inc., 72 Cal. App. 5th 56 (2021) Rachel Moniz filed a PAGA notice with the Labor Workforce and Development Agency (“LWDA”) and a subsequent lawsuit alleging that Adecco, her former employer, maintained and implemented unlawful limitations on the disclosure of information such as wages, working conditions and non-public information of commercial … Continue Reading

Employer Prevails On Breach Of Nondisclosure Agreement Claim Against Former Employee

Elation Sys., Inc. v. Fenn Bridge LLC, 71 Cal. App. 5th 958 (2021) Elation Systems sued one of its former software developers, Tiebiao “Joe” Shi, for breach of a nondisclosure agreement and a settlement agreement after he quit his employment and formed a new business entity called Efen Bridge (which became Fenn Bridge). At trial, … Continue Reading

Security Officer Can Proceed With Disability Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Claims, But Not Retaliation Claim

Zamora v. Security Indus. Specialists, Inc., 71 Cal. App. 5th 1 (2021) David Zamora sued his former employer, Security Industry Specialists, Inc. (“SIS”), for disability discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation. Eight days after he was hired, Zamora tripped over a curb at work and twisted his left knee. Zamora was later laid off as part … Continue Reading

Nurse’s Discrimination Claims Against Hospital Were Properly Dismissed

Wilkin v. Community Hosp. of the Monterey Peninsula, 71 Cal. App. 5th 806 (2021) Kimberly Wilkin worked as a registered nurse for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula before the hospital terminated her employment following its discovery she had violated the hospital’s policies governing the handling and documentation of patient medications. After her termination, … Continue Reading

“Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute

Woods v. American Film Institute, 2021 WL 5978072 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Laurie Woods worked for four days as a volunteer at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles. She alleges that she worked between 12 and 14 hours each of those days and that she and the other volunteers she purported to represent in … Continue Reading

California Voters May Deal a Fatal Blow to PAGA

Things aren’t looking so good for the long-term health of the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). On top of the U.S. Supreme Court’s granting review of a case challenging PAGA’s anti-arbitration rule (as we reported here) and a separate challenge brought by an association of California business owners currently pending before the California … Continue Reading

New Variants, New Regulations: Updates to the Emergency COVID Standards Take Effect January 14th

Last month, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) readopted and revised the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”).  By and large, OSHSB’s revised ETS retain most of the key requirements of the prior version, which had last been updated last June (as we reported here).  However, the revised ETS, which will take … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Employers Now Must Provide and Monitor Masks in the Workplace

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which has responsibility for the County’s more than 10 million residents, kicked off the new year with a brand new Health Officer Order on January 5, 2022. Among other changes, the new Health Officer Order imposes significant requirements on employers with respect to face coverings (effective January … Continue Reading

Heightened PAGA Penalties Are Inapplicable For Most Wage Statement Claims

Christmas came early this year for California employers.  Bucking the trend of unrelentingly bad news for employers in the state, the California Court of Appeal has held that the default (lower) penalties found in the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) and not the heightened penalties set forth in Labor Code section 226.3 (“Section … Continue Reading

Volunteers May Work For Nonprofits Without Compensation

The California Court of Appeal has definitively resolved an issue that was until now somewhat ambiguous:  Can volunteers in fact volunteer their time for nonprofit organizations without receiving pay or other forms of compensation?  The answer is YES.  Woods v. American Film Institute, Case No. B307220 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 17, 2021). Laurie Woods worked … Continue Reading

Court Rejects Netflix’s Challenge to Poaching Injunction

In the latest blow against Netflix’s aggressive recruiting practices, a California appellate court has affirmed a trial court’s injunction against Netflix and in favor of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (“Fox”), thus permanently barring the streaming giant from poaching Fox executives by inducing them to breach their fixed-term employment contracts. Netflix challenged the injunction, which … Continue Reading

Good Tidings for the Holidays! The U.S. Supreme Court Finally Will Review (and May Bury) PAGA’s Anti-Arbitration Rule

While the California Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld arbitration agreements with class action waivers (as they must under the Federal Arbitration Act), in a now infamous (and controversial) decision from 2014, the court held that an arbitration agreement could not include an enforceable waiver of an employee’s right to bring a “representative” action under the … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Hands $155 Million Holiday Gift to Fired Insurance Executive

As we recently reported, California juries continue to award massive verdicts to employees with alarming regularity.  And, just in time for the holidays, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury upped the ante on Thursday, handing a fired insurance company executive a verdict totaling $155.4 million – including $150 million in punitive damages. Plaintiff Andrew Rudnicki worked … Continue Reading

California Reclaims Top Spot in Annual “Judicial Hellhole” Awards!

After temporarily falling to third place in 2020, California once again claims the top spot on the American Tort Reform Foundation’s (ATRF) annual list of “Judicial Hellholes.” While California has not taken home the gold in two years, this year’s award does not come as much of a surprise after the state was deemed an … Continue Reading

House of Cards: What Employers Can Learn From Kevin Spacey’s Alleged Missteps

Kevin Spacey’s legal troubles have taken a costly turn as the production companies behind Netflix’s House of Cards recently asked a California court to confirm an arbitration award of almost $31 million against Spacey for breach of contract. In 2017, eight House of Cards crew members came forward to accuse Spacey of sexual harassment and … Continue Reading

Is the Customer Always Right? How Employers Should Respond to Patron Misconduct

As anyone who has worked in a customer-facing job can tell you, dealing with difficult customers often comes with the territory. However, when customer behavior crosses a line into illegal conduct like sexual harassment, both the customer and the employer may find themselves in hot water. Wynn Las Vegas, a Nevada hotel, learned the hard … Continue Reading

November 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Ninth Circuit Resurrects California’s Anti-Arbitration Statute In-House Counsel’s Claim For Breach Of Oral Promise Of Contingency Fee Was Barred By Statute Employee Can Proceed With … Continue Reading

Employer That Claimed Employment Records Were Stolen Cannot Challenge Calculation Of Lost Wages

Morales v. Factor Surfaces LLC, 2021 WL 4818687 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Byron Jerry Morales sued his former employer, Factor Surfaces LLC, and its managing agent for unpaid overtime wages, meal and rest break compensation, statutory penalties, and wrongful termination, among other things.  After a bench trial, the court awarded Morales $99,394.16, including $42,792 in … Continue Reading

Secretary Of Labor Could Be Compelled To Disclose Identities Of Informants

Skidgel v. CUIAB, 2021 WL 3671434 (Cal. S. Ct. 2021) The United States Secretary of Labor filed an action against Valley Wide Plastering Construction and various individuals, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  During discovery, the employer sought the identities of all informant employees who had provided information to the Secretary.  In response, … Continue Reading

Court Has Power To Strike PAGA Claims That Will Be Unmanageable At Trial

Wesson v. Staples the Office Superstore, LLC, 68 Cal. App. 5th 746 (2021) Fred Wesson sued Staples under PAGA, seeking $36 million in civil penalties for Labor Code violations related to an alleged misclassification of its store general managers.  At trial, Staples moved to strike Wesson’s PAGA claim, arguing that the number of employees and the … Continue Reading
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