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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New California Law Imposes Strict Quota on Warehouse Distribution Centers (This Means You, Amazon!)

A new California law, effective January 1, 2022, closely regulates productivity quotas for warehouse distribution centers.  AB 701 applies to employers of 100 or more employees at a single warehouse distribution center or 1,000 or more employees at one or more warehouse distribution centers in the state and purports to address warehouse safety concerns by … Continue Reading

Employers Beware! 1 in 3 Americans Admit They Lied on Their Resumes

A recent ResumeBuilder survey found that 32% of Americans admit to lying on their resume.  In the current highly active labor market, with 65% of employees searching for a new job according to the PwC US Pulse Survey, employers should carefully review incoming resumes. Interestingly, the ResumeBuilder survey found: 1) resume lies are most frequent … Continue Reading

September 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Ninth Circuit Rejects “Paramour Preference” Liability Arising From Supervisor’s Affair With Another Employee $3.5 Million Emotional Distress Award Was “Shockingly Disproportionate” To Evidence Of Harm … Continue Reading

Farm Labor Employers Did Not Fail To Pay Minimum Wage To Discharged Employees

Jaime Zepeda Labor Contracting, Inc. v. Department of Indus. Relations, 2021 WL 3560937 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) issued minimum wage citations to farm labor employers pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code § 1197.1 despite the fact that it was undisputed that the employers paid all of the employees … Continue Reading

Section 998 Settlement Offer Violated Labor Code

Wasito v. Kazali, 2021 WL 3878379 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Subiono Wasito and Enny Soenjoto (plaintiffs) were employed as resident managers of a motel owned by the Kazali family. When the Kazalis closed the motel for renovations, plaintiffs were told their employment was being terminated. After plaintiffs demanded their unpaid wages, the Kazalis paid the … Continue Reading

PAGA Plaintiff’s Expert Statistician Should Have Been Permitted To Testify

Zuniga v. Alexandria Care Ctr., LLC, 2021 WL 3560665 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Rosalinda Zuniga was employed by Alexandria Care as a housekeeper who filed a PAGA claim, alleging her former employer failed to provide required meal and rest breaks, to indemnify employees for expenditures and to maintain required records.  The trial court excluded the … Continue Reading

Employee Who Signed Promissory Note To Pay For Losses May Proceed With Class Action Lawsuit

Gallano v. Burlington Coat Factory of Cal., LLC, 2021 WL 3616152 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Krizel Gallano, a former employee of Burlington Coat Factory, filed this putative class action in which she alleged that Burlington forces its employees to pay for business losses incurred for common on-the-job mistakes by “misusing” California’s shoplifting statute (Cal. Pen. … Continue Reading

Family Member In-Home Supportive Services Worker Is Ineligible For Unemployment Benefits

Skidgel v. CUIAB, 2021 WL 3671434 (Cal. S. Ct. 2021) Tamara Skidgel was an in-home supportive services (IHSS) provider who was being paid under the state’s IHSS program to care for her own daughter.  In this lawsuit, Skidgel alleged that she had been an IHSS provider for her daughter since May 2013 and expected to … Continue Reading

Meal/Rest Break Premiums Must Include All Forms of Remuneration

Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, 11 Cal. 5th 858 (2021) Like the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Cal. Lab. Code § 510 requires that employers pay non-exempt employees overtime at their “regular rate[s] of pay.”  Under a different section of the Labor Code and the Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders, employers also must … Continue Reading

Hirer Of Independent Contractor Is Not Liable For Injuries To Workers

Gonzalez v. Mathis, 2021 WL 3671594 (Cal. S. Ct. 2021) John R. Mathis (aka Johnny Mathis) lives in a one-story house with a flat, sand-and-gravel roof.  The roof contains a large skylight covering an indoor pool.  Luis Gonzalez is a professional window washer who regularly cleaned Mathis’s skylight.  At the direction of Mathis’s housekeeper, Gonzalez … Continue Reading

Dutch Executive “Publicly Presented” Himself As An Executive Of California Company

Swenberg v. Dmarcian, Inc., 2021 WL 3856599 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Charles Swenberg sued Martijn Groeneweg (among others), alleging various claims related to his ownership interest in and employment with dmarcian, Inc. Groeneweg (a Dutch citizen) filed a motion to quash service for lack of personal jurisdiction over him in the State of California. The … Continue Reading

Employer Must Prove Employee Knew Or Should Have Known Of Discriminatory Failure To Hire For Statute Of Limitations Bar To Apply

Pollock v. Tri-Modal Distrib. Servs., Inc., 11 Cal. 5th 918 (2021) Pamela Pollock, a customer service representative for Tri-Modal, alleged she was passed over for several promotions because she refused to have sex with Michael Kelso, Tri-Modal’s executive vice-president. Kelso initiated a dating relationship with Pollock in 2014, but the relationship ended in 2016 when … Continue Reading

Employee Nonsolicitation Clause Does Not Violate Antitrust Law And Is “Pro-Competitive”

Aya Healthcare Servs. v. AMN Healthcare, Inc., 2021 WL 3671384 (9th Cir. 2021) AMN Healthcare contracted with Aya Healthcare for Aya to staff temporary “spillover assignments” of travel nurses to hospitals at which AMN was the managed service provider.  In AMN’s agreement with Aya, Aya agreed not to solicit AMN’s employees; eventually, Aya became AMN’s biggest … Continue Reading

$3.5 Million Emotional Distress Award Was “Shockingly Disproportionate” To Evidence Of Harm

Briley v. City of W. Covina, 66 Cal. App. 5th 119 (2021) Jason Briley worked for the City of West Covina as a deputy fire marshal. During his employment, Briley complained that various city officials, including his former supervisor, had ignored his reports of safety issues and engaged in misconduct. The city investigated Briley’s complaints … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects “Paramour Preference” Liability Arising From Supervisor’s Affair With Another Employee

Maner v. Dignity Health, ___ F.4th ___, 2021 WL 3699780 (9th Cir. 2021) William “Bo” Maner worked as a biomedical design engineer in the obstetric and gynecological laboratory of Dr. Robert Garfield for several decades. Shortly after he joined the lab, Maner learned that Garfield and another researcher (Dr. Leili Shi) were engaged in a … Continue Reading

California Jury Awards Employees $7.6 Million in Latest Gargantuan Wrongful Termination Verdict

A Los Angeles jury has ordered an apartment building owner and property management company to pay $7.6 million to two former live-in apartment managers who claimed to have been wrongfully terminated and discriminated against based upon a medical condition and disability (thyroid cancer). Albert Garcia and his wife Stephanie Garcia sued Gresham Apartments Investors, owners … Continue Reading

California Encourages Mandating Employee COVID-19 Vaccinations

Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, California officials are recommending that private employers require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face regular testing.  In an article in the Sacramento Business Journal, Governor Gavin Newsom’s senior advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Dee Dee Myers, called … Continue Reading

Federal Court in California Greenlights Drug Testing of Job Applicants

A U.S. District Court recently dismissed the lawsuit of a former employee who claimed disability discrimination after he was terminated for testing positive for marijuana in a pre-employment drug test.  Espindola v. Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., Case 2:20-cv-03702 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2021).  The Court held that an employer can condition an offer of employment … Continue Reading

New Restriction on Background Checks in California

The California Court of Appeal has ruled that date of birth and/or a driver’s license number cannot be used to identify individuals in an electronic search of the criminal index of court records.  All of Us or None v. Hamrick.  This ruling complicates and further restricts how and even whether (from a practical standpoint) employers … Continue Reading

July 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Board of Directors Quota Law May Be Unconstitutional 2:1 Ratio of Punitive to Compensatory Damages Was Appropriate High School Football Coach’s Title VII Claim Was … Continue Reading

Trial Court Properly Failed to Certify Signature Gatherers’ Class Action

Wilson v. The La Jolla Group, 61 Cal. App. 5th 897 (2021) The trial court declined to certify a class action filed by individuals who worked as signature gatherers for the La Jolla Group (“LJG”) on behalf of political campaigns and political action committees.  LJG classified these workers as independent contractors, though they alleged they were … Continue Reading

Police Sergeant Who Accessed Computer Database in Exchange for Money Did Not Violate CFAA

Van Buren v. United States, 593 U.S. ___, 141 S. Ct. 1648 (2021) Nathan Van Buren, a former police sergeant, ran a license-plate search in a law enforcement computer database in exchange for money.  Among other things, Van Buren was charged with violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) for “exceed[ing] authorized access” to … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Overturns $100 Million Wage-Hour Judgment Entered Against Walmart

Magadia v. Wal-Mart Assocs., Inc., 999 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 2021) In this class action, Roderick Magadia, a former Walmart employee, alleged violations of California’s meal-break and wage-statement requirements (Cal. Lab. Code §§ 226.7 and 226(a)).  After the district court (Judge Lucy H. Koh) determined that Magadia suffered no meal-break violation, it decertified the class, but … Continue Reading
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