California Employment Law Update
Tony Oncidi

Tony Oncidi


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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March 2018 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2018 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Former LA Times Columnist’s Age/Disability Discrimination Judgment Upheld, New Trial On Damages Ordered; Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Protection Does Not Apply Absent Prior Notice To The SEC; California Rejects Federal Rule … Continue Reading

Former LA Times Columnist’s Age/Disability Discrimination Judgment Upheld, New Trial On Damages Ordered

Simers v. Los Angeles Times Commc’ns, LLC, 18 Cal. App. 5th 1248 (2018) T.J. Simers, a well-known sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, alleged disability and age discrimination and constructive discharge – Simers, who had suffered a “mini-stroke” from which he quickly recovered, quit his job after his column was suspended and he was … Continue Reading

California Rejects Federal Rule For Calculating Overtime Rate For Employees Who Earn Flat Sum Bonus

Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of Cal., 2018 WL 1146645 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) Hector Alvarado, who worked as a warehouse associate for Dart, is a member of a putative class of employees who, in addition to their normal hourly wages, received a $15 per day attendance bonus if they were scheduled to work on … Continue Reading

$48,000 Judgment Affirmed In Favor Of Former Parks & Recreation Employee

Hurley v. California Dep’t of Parks & Recreation, 2018 WL 989506 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Delane Hurley worked as a staff services analyst who sued her employer, the Department of Parks & Recreation (“DPR”), and her former supervisor Leda Seals for harassment based on sex and sexual orientation in violation of the Fair Employment and … Continue Reading

Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Protection Does Not Apply Absent Prior Notice To The SEC

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, 583 U.S. ___, 2018 WL 987345 (2018) Paul Somers alleged that his former employer Digital Realty terminated his employment after he reported to senior management suspected securities-law violations by the company. Somers neither alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) of his concerns prior to his termination nor did … Continue Reading

Urging Other Employees To Quit And Sue Employer Is Protected Conduct Under Anti-SLAPP Statute

Bel Air Internet, LLC v. Morales, 2018 WL 1045222 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Bel Air Internet sued two of its former employees, Albert Morales and Flavio Delabra, for encouraging their fellow employees to quit and sue the company for alleged employment violations rather than sign a release of claims as Bel Air had requested. Bel … Continue Reading

Unsuccessful Disability Discrimination Plaintiff Is Not Entitled To Attorney’s Fees

Bustos v. Global P.E.T., Inc., 19 Cal. App. 5th 558 (2017) William Bustos sued his former employer for disability discrimination. A jury determined that Bustos’ actual or perceived physical condition was a substantial motivating reason for his termination, but nevertheless returned defense verdicts on all of his claims. After the trial, Bustos sought an award … Continue Reading

Employee’s Qui Tam Action Is Not Barred By The Litigation Privilege

People ex rel. Alzayat v. Hebb, 18 Cal. App. 5th 801 (2017) Mahmoud Alzayat filed this qui tam action against his employer (Sunline Transit Agency) and his supervisor (Gerald Hebb), alleging a violation of the Insurance Frauds Prevention Act (“IFPA”) based upon allegedly false statements that Hebb made in an incident report submitted in response … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Waive Its Right To Remove Action to Federal Court By Filing Demurrer

Kenny v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 881 F.3d 786 (9th Cir. 2018) Kris Kenny filed a putative class action in California state court, challenging Wal-Mart’s policy requiring employees who have suffered workplace-related injuries to submit to drug and/or urine testing. Wal-Mart filed a demurrer in response to the complaint, but before the hearing date on the … Continue Reading

Statute Of Limitations For State Law Claims Was Suspended While Case Was Pending In Federal Court

Artis v. District of Columbia, 583 U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 594 (2018) Stephanie Artis filed a Title VII employment discrimination case against her employer, the District of Columbia, which was eventually dismissed on summary judgment by the district court; the district court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims that were … Continue Reading

Payments Made To Union Trust Fund Are Not Subject To California Wage Statement Law

Mora v. Webcor Constr., L.P., 20 Cal. App. 5th 211 (2018) Steven Mora filed this putative class action/PAGA claim against his former employer, Webcor Construction, for violation of the California wage statement statute (Cal. Lab. Code § 226(a)) based upon payments made to a union vacation trust fund authorized by the Labor Management Relations Act … Continue Reading

PAGA Claim Dismissed Where Employee Failed To Provide Adequate Notice To LWDA

Khan v. Dunn-Edwards Corp., 19 Cal. App. 5th 804 (2018) Hamid H. Khan brought this lawsuit against his former employer pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) based on the fact that his final paycheck (in contrast to all other wage statements he had received) did not include the start date for … Continue Reading

Class Certification Was Properly Denied In Outside Sales Exemption Case

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 19 Cal. App. 5th 630 (2018) Samuel Duran and Matt Fitzsimmons filed this wage-and-hour class action challenging the Bank’s classification of its business banking officers as exempt employees under the outside salesperson exemption. The trial court denied class certification after concluding plaintiffs had failed to carry their burden of … Continue Reading

Federal Government Challenges California’s “Sanctuary State” Status

  On Tuesday, the United States of America filed a lawsuit in federal court in Sacramento, naming California Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra as defendants, and claiming that California’s proclaimed status as a “sanctuary state” puts federal agents in danger. Specifically, the lawsuit targets three state laws that became effective on January … Continue Reading

“Inclusion Riders” On The Storm

  Last night, Oscar-winner Frances McDormand ended her acceptance speech  with a reference to two words – “Inclusion Rider” – that sent many Oscar viewers scrambling to Google her cryptic message. But the term, and its legal implications, are somewhat more complicated than several news and entertainment outlets are reporting today. The term “inclusion rider” … Continue Reading

California Labor Commissioner Issues $500,000 Citation Against Los Angeles Restaurant For Labor Code Violations

The California Labor Commissioner issued a press release this week announcing a $500,000 citation against Los Angeles restaurant Shrimp Lovers, arising from wage theft allegations made against the restaurant by employees who claimed they were paid far below the minimum wage. Although relatively rare, the Labor Commissioner does occasionally bring charges against California employers for … Continue Reading

Dark Day For Hollywood – Law Prohibiting Online Publication Of Actors’ Ages Is Unconstitutional!

A federal court has struck down as unconstitutional a California law (AB 1687) that prohibits commercial online services from publishing actors’ ages without their consent.  The law, which the California legislature enacted in 2016, was undoubtedly one of the best things to happen to Hollywood since the invention of BOTOX.  Now, however, a court has … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Awards Former UCLA Oncologist $13 Million In Gender Discrimination Case

On Thurs. Feb. 15, 2018, a downtown Los Angeles jury awarded Dr. Lauren Pinter-Brown, a former UCLA oncologist, $13 million in a gender discrimination case.  Pinter-Brown alleged that she was forced to take another job after complaining about discriminatory treatment based on her gender.  (The jury rejected Pinter-Brown’s age discrimination claim.)  Among other things, Pinter-Brown claimed … Continue Reading

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