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 Expands Jury Rolls

Gov. Newsom has signed Senate Bill 592 (“SB 592”) into law.  Effective next year, SB 592 requires jury commissioners across the state to include anyone who files state taxes in the pool of prospective jurors.  Currently, prospective jurors are summoned from lists of registered California voters and licensed drivers, which total approximately 47 million people.  While … Continue Reading

California Expands Its Already Generous Leave Requirements To Cover Even Smaller Employers

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the flurry of associated leave issues, Gov. Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 1383 (“SB 1383”) into law, which provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) to employers with as few as five employees.  Beginning on January 1, 2021, when SB 1383 takes … Continue Reading

California Mandates Diversity Quotas for Corporate Boards

On September 30, 2020, Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 979 (“AB 979”) into law.  The new statute, which adds section 301.4 to the Corporations Code, is aimed at increasing representation from communities of color and the LGBT community on the boards of publicly traded companies.  The law follows in the footsteps of earlier legislation that … Continue Reading

September 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employee Entitled To $17.2 Million For Wrongful Termination/Defamation “Continuing Violation” Theory Saves Employee’s Sexual Harassment Claim Tortious Interference With At-Will Contract Requires Independently Wrongful Act … Continue Reading

CUIAB Should Have Considered Additional Evidence In Support Of Unemployment Claim

Land v. CUIAB, 2020 WL 5200858 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Justin Land’s employer terminated his employment as a field service specialist based upon his “violation of company policy,” involving his failure to finish a job or return the next day to finish it because he “just forgot”; Land also gave out his personal phone number … Continue Reading

Litigant’s Attorney Is Entitled To Fees As “Prevailing Party” In UTSA Case

Aerotek, Inc. v. The Johnson Group Staffing Co., 2020 WL 5525180 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) The law firm Porter Scott, P.C., defended its client The Johnson Group Staffing (TJG) through two rounds of litigation against claims asserted by TJG’s chief competitor Aerotek. In the litigation, Aerotek alleged that TJG (whose founder came from Aerotek) misappropriated … Continue Reading

Trial Court Properly Refused To Certify Rest Break Class Action

Davidson v. O’Reilly Auto Enter., LLC, 968 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2020) Kia Davidson worked as a delivery specialist at one of O’Reilly’s stores in San Bernardino. In this putative class action, Davidson alleged that she and other employees did not receive their rest breaks as required by state law based upon the fact that … Continue Reading

Trial Court Properly Denied Massage Parlor’s Request For Waiver Of Bond In Wage/Hour Matter

Li v. Department of Indust. Relations, 2020 WL 4814112 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Fushan Li, the owner of four massage parlors in Lawndale, received three citations from the Labor Commissioner for violations of the state’s wage and hour laws. Citations ordering Li to pay a total of $198,576 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages were … Continue Reading

Amount In Controversy Satisfied CAFA Minimum

Salter v. Quality Carriers, Inc., 2020 WL 5361459 (9th Cir. 2020) Clayton Salter, a truck driver, filed this putative class action against his employer, Quality Carriers and Quality Distribution, alleging that he and the other class members had been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. Quality removed the action to federal court, asserting the … Continue Reading

Later-Filed, Substantially Identical PAGA Claim Was Properly Dismissed

Starks v. Vortex Indus., Inc., 2020 WL 5015248 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Chad Starks gave notice to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) of his allegations that his employer (Vortex) had violated certain Labor Code requirements that employers pay overtime wages and provide meal and rest periods and comply with various other requirements of … Continue Reading

Court Affirms Dismissal of Medical Assistant’s Discrimination Lawsuit

Arnold v. Dignity Health, 53 Cal. App. 5th 412 (2020) Virginia M. Arnold worked as a medical assistant at Dignity Health before her employment was terminated for, among other things, failure to safeguard a patient’s personal health information (a HIPAA violation); display of inappropriate materials in the workplace (a picture of a bare-chested male model); … Continue Reading

Ashley Judd May Proceed With Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein

Judd v. Weinstein, 967 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 2020) Actor Ashley Judd brought this sexual harassment claim against motion picture producer Harvey Weinstein under Cal. Civil Code § 51.9, which prohibits such harassment in the context of a “business, service, or professional relationship” between the plaintiff and a physician, psychotherapist, dentist, attorney, real estate agent, … Continue Reading

Time Spent By Employees In Exit Searches Is Compensable

Frlekin v. Apple, Inc., 2020 WL 5225699 (9th Cir. 2020) Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the Ninth Circuit: “Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices voluntarily brought to work purely for personal … Continue Reading

Tortious Interference With At-Will Contract Requires Independently Wrongful Act

Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc., 9 Cal. 5th 1130 (2020) In this commercial dispute between two companies, the California Supreme Court determined the bounds of a claim for tortious interference of an at-will contract – a holding that has application in the employment context as well. Plaintiff Ixchel Pharma, a biotechnology company, entered into … Continue Reading

Employee Entitled To $17.2 Million For Wrongful Termination/Defamation

King v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 52 Cal. App. 5th 728 (2020) Timothy King sued his former employer for defamation, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing after he was terminated following an investigation into claims of gender discrimination and harassment that were … Continue Reading

Spread The Word: California Enacts COVID-19 Exposure Notification Law

Late last week, Gov. Newsom signed AB 685 into law which, among other things, adds section 6409.6 (“Section 6409.6”) to the Labor Code.  The new statute, which takes effect January 1, 2021, requires that employers notify employees and, in some instances, public health officials about COVID-19 exposures at work. Specifically, Section 6409.6 requires that employers … Continue Reading

California Amends Independent Contractor Law (Again) – New Exemptions for Music Industry Workers, Freelance Writers and Photographers

Last Friday, September 4, Governor Newsom signed AB 2257, which includes a slew of modifications to the now-infamous AB5, which went into effect this year and codified the strict ABC independent contractor test, which we have addressed previously in this blog. With this new amendment, there are now more than 100 exemptions and limitations to … Continue Reading

Bloomberg Law Podcast: Can Employers “Directly Observe” Drug Testing of Their Employees?

Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that employees had no claim for invasion of privacy when a drug-testing facility “directly observed” them as they provided a urine sample.  Proskauer’s Anthony Oncidi joins Bloomberg Law podcast host June Grasso to discuss the ruling’s significance and what it means for employers. Listen to the podcast here.… Continue Reading

“Oh, We Were Just Leaving!”: California Court Halts Order Requiring Uber and Lyft to Reclassify Drivers

Last week, Uber Technologies, Inc. and Lyft, Inc. announced that they would suspend ridesharing operations in the State of California in response to an August 10, 2020 San Francisco Superior Court judge’s preliminary injunction, requiring the companies to reclassify their California drivers as “employees” within 10 days.  The order came in the context of a … Continue Reading

July 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Supreme Court Recognizes Discrimination Protection For Gay/Transgender Employees Under Title VII Dark Day For Hollywood – Law Prohibiting Online Publication Of Actors’ Ages Is Struck Down … Continue Reading

Class Action Claims Were Moot After Class Representative Settled His Individual Claims

Brady v. AutoZone Stores, 960 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2020) Michael Brady sued AutoZone Stores for alleged violations of Washington State’s meal break laws.  After several years of litigation, the district court denied Brady’s motion for class certification; Brady then settled his individual claims with AutoZone.  Although the settlement agreement stated that it was “not … Continue Reading

Hirer Of Independent Contractor Was Not Liable For Death Of Latter’s Employee

Horne v. Ahern Rentals, Inc., 50 Cal. App. 5th 192 (2020) The surviving heirs of Ruben Dickerson sued Ahern Rentals, a company that leases forklifts and other heavy-duty construction vehicles to its customers.  Dickerson’s employer, 24-Hour Tire Service, provided tire repair and replacement services for Ahern’s equipment.  Dickerson was killed on Ahern’s premises while he … Continue Reading
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