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’s Arbitration Ban Challenged in Federal Court

As expected, California’s effort to ban employers from requiring employees and applicants to sign an arbitration agreement has been challenged in federal court.  The lawsuit was filed by a business coalition that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation. AB-51 was signed into law in October along with a constellation of other … Continue Reading

“OK, Boomer!”: Not Okay In the Office

As recently highlighted by the New York Times, a new phrase emblematic of the real or perceived “War Between the Generations” has gone viral: “OK, Boomer!”  The phrase, popularized on the Internet and, in particular, Twitter by Generation Z and Millennials, has been used to dismiss baby boomers’ thoughts and opinions, sometimes viewed by younger … Continue Reading

November 2019 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2019 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Court Upholds Whistleblower Verdicts In Favor Of Fired Parking Ticket Hearing Examiners College Professor Was Retaliated Against For Complaining About Hostile Environment Discriminatory Failure-To-Hire Claim Must … Continue Reading

Determination Of Class Certification Motion Should Be Based On Dynamex’s “ABC Test”

Gonzales v. San Gabriel Transit, Inc., 2019 WL 4942213 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) Francisco Gonzales filed this putative class action against his former employer, San Gabriel Transit (“SGT”), alleging that he and 550 other drivers were misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. The trial court denied class certification on the ground that Gonzales had … Continue Reading

Employer’s “Service Charge” May Be A Gratuity Owed To Employees

O’Grady v. Merchant Exchange Prods., Inc., 2019 WL 5617001 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) In this putative class action, banquet server and bartender Lauren O’Grady alleged that her employer’s practice of automatically imposing a 21 percent “service charge” to every food and beverage banquet bill constituted a gratuity that had to be fully paid to nonmanagerial … Continue Reading

Employer Must Have Written Meal Period Agreement, Which Includes A Revocation Clause

Naranjo v. Spectrum Sec. Servs., Inc., 40 Cal. App. 5th 444 (2019) Spectrum contracts with federal agencies to take temporary custody of federal prisoners and ICE detainees who must travel offsite for medical treatment and other appointments; Spectrum’s officers provide continuous supervision until the individuals are returned to their custodial locations. Spectrum had a policy … Continue Reading

Expense Reimbursement Claims Are Covered By Employment Practices Insurance

Southern Cal. Pizza Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, 40 Cal. App. 5th 140 (2019) Lloyds of London provided the employer in this case with an employment practices liability insurance (“EPLI”) policy, which contained an exclusion relating to “wage and hour or overtime law(s).” In this insurance coverage dispute, the employer alleged the policy … Continue Reading

McDonald’s Corp Was Not The Joint Employer Of Its Franchisees’ Employees

Salazar v. McDonald’s Corp., 939 F.3d 1051 (9th Cir. 2019) McDonald’s Corporation (“McDonald’s”) was named as a defendant in a putative class action filed by the employees of the Haynes Family Limited Partnership, which operated eight McDonald’s franchises in the Bay Area. The putative class members alleged they were denied overtime premiums, meal and rest … Continue Reading

Employer May Have FEHA Liability If It Exercised Direction/Control Over Temp Worker

Jimenez v. U.S. Continental Mktg., Inc., 2019 WL 5257938 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) Elvia Velasco Jimenez asserted claims under the FEHA against her “contracting employer,” a manufacturing company named U.S. Continental Marketing Inc. (“USCM”) for which she performed services, and a “temporary-staffing agency” named Ameritemps. At trial, the jury agreed with USCM that it was … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Whistleblower Verdicts In Favor Of Fired Parking Ticket Hearing Examiners

Hawkins v. City of Los Angeles, 40 Cal. App. 5th 384 (2019) Todd Hawkins and Hyung Kim were terminated from their jobs as hearing examiners at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Hawkins and Kim alleged they had been fired for whistleblowing on the City’s practice of pressuring parking ticket hearing examiners to change decisions … Continue Reading

Two Important Stragglers Among California’s New Labor Laws

Last week, we blogged about the avalanche of new labor laws that California employers will face in 2020.  Here are two late additions to the list  — just in time for Halloween!: AB 61 (Ting, D-San Francisco) grants employers and coworkers the right to petition a court to issue a gun violence restraining order, which prevents an … Continue Reading

Take That, Employers! California is Done (for Now) with this Year’s Legislative Thrashing

Here’s a comprehensive list of the new employment-related statutes enacted and signed into law in the Golden State (effective Jan. 1, 2020 unless otherwise specified): AB 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) makes it extremely difficult for most California employers to hire an independent contractor and would convert such workers into “employees” in the eyes of the … Continue Reading

California Enacts a Raft of New Employment Laws

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law several new measures that employers will need to comply with by January 1, 2020 and that will generally make it easier for employees to sue their employers.  Specifically: AB 9 extends the statute of limitations period for employees to file claims of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation … Continue Reading

Stray Kitty Moonlights as Lawyer

Following passage of AB-5, the recent string of multi-million dollar employee jury verdicts, and other challenging developments, we concluded that our subscribers need some feel-good news every meow and then (sorry). An association of lawyers in Brasília, Brazil has hired Leon the cat as one of their new “attorneys” in order to lighten the mood around … Continue Reading

Employees Will Be Exempted from Most Requirements of the Amended California Consumer Privacy Act … For Now

In an effort to give consumers more control over the data businesses collect from and about them, the California legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2018 (and amended it a few months later). The CCPA gives consumers the right to know about and have deleted the data businesses have gathered about them, among … Continue Reading

California Employment Law Notes

California Supreme Court Invalidates Agreement To Arbitrate Wage Disputes OTO, LLC v. Kho, 2019 WL 4065524 (Cal. S. Ct. 2019) In the most recent chapter of the ongoing saga regarding the enforceability of arbitration agreements in California, the California Supreme Court has determined that because the execution of the arbitration agreement in this case involved … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hands Employers A Rare Victory, Trims Bloated PAGA Claims

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court held that private litigants may not recover unpaid wages under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).  See ZB, N.A. v. Superior Court (Lawson) (Cal. S. Ct. Sept. 12, 2019). In a rearguard effort to fight employment arbitration agreements, which usually include class action waivers, plaintiffs’ lawyers have been … Continue Reading

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash Pledge $90 Million To Fund Voter Initiative To Overturn Assembly Bill 5

Assembly Bill 5, a proposed new law currently pending in the California legislature, would limit and codify last year’s California Supreme Court Dynamex opinion.  If passed and signed into law by Gov. Newsom (he’s already said he’ll sign it), AB-5 would make it nearly impossible for most California employers to hire an independent contractor and … Continue Reading
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