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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January 2018 Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2018 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Trial Court Erroneously Granted Bill Cosby’s Anti-SLAPP Motion Obese Former Employee May Proceed With Disability Discrimination Claim Cal-WARN Act Applies To Temporary Layoffs Employer Had … Continue Reading

Claims For Alleged Unauthorized Payments To Retirement Plan Are Preempted By ERISA

Skillin v. Rady Children’s Hosp. of San Diego, 2017 WL 6029754 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) David Skillin brought a Private Attorneys General Act lawsuit against his former employer, Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego, based upon allegedly unauthorized payroll deductions that the hospital made from his wages, resulting in higher than desired contributions to his … Continue Reading

Employees’ Alter Ego/Joint Employer Claims Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Turman v. Superior Court, 17 Cal. App. 5th 969 (2017) Former employees of the restaurant Koji’s Japan, Inc. sued Koji’s along with Koji’s president, sole shareholder and director Arthur J. Parent, Jr. (“Parent”) and A.J. Parent Company, Inc. (aka “America’s Printer”). Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that Parent and America’s Printer were … Continue Reading

Instructional Error In ADA Case Was Harmless

Dunlap v. Liberty Natural Products, 2017 WL 6614570 (9th Cir. 2017) Tracy Dunlap sued her employer Liberty Natural Products for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Oregon state law when Liberty terminated her employment after she was diagnosed with bilateral lateral epicondylitis in both elbows. The jury awarded Dunlap $70,000 in noneconomic … Continue Reading

District Court Has Discretion To “Gross Up” Backpay Award To Compensate For Tax Liability

Clemens v. Qwest Corp., 874 F.3d 1113 (9th Cir. 2017) Arthur Clemens, Jr., sued his employer Qwest Corporation for race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. A jury awarded Clemens $157,000 for lost wages and benefits, more than $275,000 for emotional distress and $100,000 in punitive damages. The district court reduced the emotional … Continue Reading

Employer Was Properly Sanctioned $4,000 Per Day For Noncompliance With Discovery Order

Padron v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc’y of NY, Inc., 16 Cal. App. 5th 1246 (2017) Oswaldo Padron sued Watchtower for negligence; negligent supervision/failure to warn; negligent hiring/retention; sexual battery and sexual harassment, etc., associated with his allegedly being molested by one of Watchtower’s agents (Gonzalo Campos) when Padron was a child. Following multiple hearings … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Adopts “Primary Beneficiary” Test To Determine If Students Were Employees

Benjamin v. B&H Educ., Inc., 2017 WL 6460087 (9th Cir. 2017) Plaintiffs in this case are students of cosmetology and hair design at the Marinello Schools of Beauty (“B&H”) in California and Nevada. Plaintiffs claim that they are employees within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and under California and Nevada state … Continue Reading

Cal-WARN Act Applies To Temporary Layoffs

International Bhd. of Boilermakers, et al. v. NASSCO Holdings Inc., 17 Cal. App. 5th 1105 (2017) The union and several employees sued the employer NASSCO, alleging it had violated the California WARN Act (Cal. Lab. Code § 1400, et seq.) by not providing at least 60 days’ advance notice to approximately 90 employees who were … Continue Reading

Obese Former Employee May Proceed With Disability Discrimination Claim

Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club, 2017 WL 6524707 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Ketryn Cornell is a severely obese woman (BMI > 50) who was fired from her job as a manager and tennis court washer for the Berkeley Tennis Club. Following her termination, she sued the Club for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate her disability, … Continue Reading

Trial Court Erroneously Granted Bill Cosby’s Anti-SLAPP Motion

Dickinson v. Cosby, 17 Cal. App. 5th 655 (2017) After Janice Dickinson went public with her accusations of rape against Bill Cosby, Cosby’s attorney (Martin Singer) reacted with: (1) a letter demanding that media outlets not repeat Dickinson’s allegedly false accusation, under threat of litigation; and (2) a press release characterizing Dickinson’s rape accusation as … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Awards $17.4 Million to Sanitation Bureau Employee

Continuing an alarming recent pattern of multi-million dollar jury awards (see our earlier post), a Los Angeles jury panel recently awarded $17.4 million to a former employee of the Bureau of Sanitation.  The employee claimed he had been retaliated against because he had taken part in “protected activities” and because he had filed a complaint … Continue Reading

Tax Reform Act Denies Deductions for Some Sexual Harassment Settlements

In a little-noticed provision buried deep inside the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (signed into law on Dec. 22) is the following “denial of deduction”: “Payments related to sexual harassment and sexual abuse – No deduction shall be allowed under this chapter for – any settlement or payment related to sexual harassment or sexual … Continue Reading

Labor Commissioner Issues New Guidance On Breaks

The California Labor Commissioner recently issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo regarding breaks and lactation accommodation. The FAQ memo contains no new concepts, but emphasizes the following longstanding principles: California employers must authorize and permit a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked (or major fraction thereof). To the extent practicable, … Continue Reading

November 2017 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2017 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Newly Enacted California Statutes Statewide “Ban-the-Box” Legislation; Parental Leave Protections Expanded; California Becomes A “Sanctuary State”; Mandatory Training To Prevent Gender Identity Harassment; New Restrictions On Inquiries Into … Continue Reading

Statewide “Ban-the-Box” Legislation

Known as “Ban-the-Box” legislation in reference to the box applicants are asked to check if they have any prior criminal convictions, the new law prohibits employers from inquiring about or considering a job applicant’s conviction history prior to an offer of employment. Specifically, the new law amends California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) by … Continue Reading

Mandatory Training To Prevent Gender Identity Harassment

This law expands the scope of mandatory sexual harassment training employers must provide to their supervisory employees. Currently, FEHA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of prescribed training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position and … Continue Reading

Parental Leave Protections Expanded

This new law expands parental leave protections to those individuals who work for employers with at least 20 employees. Under the new law, employers with at least 20 employees must allow an employee who has more than 12 months of service with the employer to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond … Continue Reading

California Becomes A “Sanctuary State”

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law nearly a dozen new immigration-related bills, including AB 450, which prohibits employers from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in the absence of a judicial warrant or court order. Among other things, the new law: Prohibits employers from voluntarily consenting to an immigration enforcement agent’s entering nonpublic areas of the … Continue Reading

New Restrictions On Inquiries Into Applicants’ Salary History

This law is a new statewide salary history inquiry law that will largely restrict employers in the state from seeking and relying upon salary history information obtained from applicants during the hiring process. The law will apply to all private and public sector employers and will prohibit employers from: relying on salary history as a … Continue Reading

Employer Must Provide Assistance To Employees Injured By Domestic Terrorism

In instances in which the governor has declared a state of emergency in connection with an act of domestic terrorism, employers must provide immediate support to injured employees from a nurse case manager who will assist claimants to obtain medically necessary medical treatment. “Treatment” includes mental health treatment and counseling services for psychological injuries and … Continue Reading

Labor Commissioner’s Anti-Retaliation Jurisdiction Expanded

This law expands the Labor Commissioner’s power to commence an investigation of an employer – with or without a retaliation complaint being filed – when retaliation by the employer against an employee is suspected during the course of adjudicating a wage claim, a field inspection or in instances of suspected immigration-related threats in violation of the Labor … Continue Reading

Employer May Be Liable For Sexual Harassment By Nonemployee Trespasser

M.F. v. Pacific Pearl Hotel Mgmt. LLC, 2017 WL 4831603 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) M.F., a housekeeping employee who worked for a hotel, alleged she had been raped while working on the employer’s premises by a drunk, nonemployee trespasser whom the employer knew or should have known was on the premises and who had “aggressively … Continue Reading
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