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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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

Trial Court Should Have Scrutinized Declarations Submitted By Employer In Wage Hour Case

Barriga v. 99 Cents Only Stores LLC, 2020 WL 3481717 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Sofia Wilton Barriga filed this lawsuit against her employer, 99 Cents Only, alleging that the “zero-tolerance” policy requiring its stores to lock their doors at closing time forced nonexempt employees such as herself and those similarly situated to wait for as … Continue Reading

Non-Severability Clause In Arbitration Agreement Invalidated Entire Agreement

Kec v. Superior Court, 2020 WL 3869721 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Nichole Kec brought individual, class and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims against her employer, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al.  Kec had signed a predispute contractual waiver of class actions and any “other representative action,” including a PAGA claim. The arbitration agreement further … Continue Reading

Class Action Was Improperly Removed To Federal Court Under CAFA

Adams v. West Marine Prods., Inc., 958 F.3d 1216 (9th Cir. 2020) Adrianne Adams filed a putative wage and hour class action in state court, which her former employer (West Marine) removed to federal court under the federal Class Action Fairness Act “CAFA”.  Invoking the discretionary home state controversy exception to CAFA jurisdiction, the district … Continue Reading

Religious Schools Were Permitted To Terminate Employment Of Teachers Despite Claims Of Discrimination

Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, 591 U.S. ___, 2020 WL 3808420 (2020) Agnes Morrissey-Berru and Kristen Biel worked as elementary school teachers at, respectively, Our Lady of Guadalupe School and St. James School.  Following the termination of her employment, Morrissey-Berru sued her school for age discrimination under the ADEA; following the termination of … Continue Reading

Airline Employees Whose Base of Work Is In California Must Receive Legally Compliant Wage Statements

Ward v. United Airlines, Inc., 2020 WL 3495310 (Cal. S. Ct. 2020) Plaintiffs are pilots and flight attendants for United Airlines, which is based outside California.  Although they reside in California, they perform most of their work in airspace outside of California’s jurisdiction.  The employees are not paid according to California wage law, but pursuant … Continue Reading

Dark Day For Hollywood – Law Prohibiting Online Publication Of Actors’ Ages Is Struck Down

IMDb.com Inc. v. Becerra, 962 F.3d 1111 (9th Cir. 2020) The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of IMDb.com, a website that lists, among other things, the actual ages of actors and actresses.  At issue was whether a 2016 California law (Assembly Bill 1687), which prohibits commercial online … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Revives Ashley Judd’s Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein

In 2018, actress Ashley Judd (“Judd”) sued producer Harvey Weinstein (“Weinstein”) for sexual harassment, defamation, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair competition.  Judd alleges that during a meeting with Weinstein to discuss casting opportunities, she was directed to his hotel room where he appeared in a bathrobe and tried to coerce her into … Continue Reading

COVID Alert: California Releases “Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening”

California Governor Gavin Newsom has released a 32-page “Employer Playbook” that’s designed to help employers “plan and prepare for reopening their business and to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.” The Playbook contains general guidance applicable to all industries, such as how to manage an outbreak, record cases, and enforce mask requirements. … Continue Reading

Even a Worldwide Pandemic Is No Excuse For Blowing A Class Certification Deadline!

For years, federal courts in California have been inundated with wage and hour class actions.  Because these cases often clogged district court dockets for months (and, sometimes, even years) on end, the Central District of California issued the former Local Rule 23-3, which set a 90-day deadline to file a motion for class certification from … Continue Reading

Safety Concerns Regarding COVID-19 Infection Could Lead to More Plaintiff-Friendly Juries

Employers may face juries that seek to hold them responsible if an employee contracts COVID-19, the trial consulting firm Dispute Dynamics suggests in its latest study. Dispute Dynamics surveyed 321 individuals, inquiring about their most up-to-date attitudes in the context of being called as a potential juror during/following the pandemic. 46% of the participants indicated … Continue Reading

Please join us for a complimentary Webinar on Employment-Related Claims in the Wake of COVID-19

As businesses reopen and employers continue to adjust to the new reality created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to anticipate the types of employment-related claims that may arise. On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 10:00 AM PDT, please join Proskauer’s Labor and Employment Department for a complimentary webinar as we provide an overview … Continue Reading

Mask On, Roll Camera: LA County Greenlights Hollywood Production Restart

As we previously reported, last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California’s State Public Health Officer cleared the music, film and television industry to resume work no earlier than this Friday, June 12, 2020, subject to county-by-county approval.  On June 10, 2020, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, announced that she was … Continue Reading

The Wait is (Almost) Over! California Greenlights Resumption of Music, Film and Television Production

  On Friday June 5, Gov. Newsom announced that California has authorized the music, film and television production industries to reopen on or after this coming Friday, June 12, 2020.  The same day, Gov. Newsom announced the reopening of fitness facilities, day camps, and several other industries. Although the State Public Health Officer had been … Continue Reading

Lights, Camera, PPE: Hollywood Guilds and Studios Take Action On Resuming Production

As we discussed in a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter in April, the entertainment industry faces unique challenges as it plans to resume operations.  On May 20, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested that California would release guidelines for reopening the entertainment industry by Memorial Day.  However, to date, California’s Public Health Officer has not … Continue Reading

May 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Court Reverses $13 Million Gender Discrimination Verdict Entered Against UCLA Court Affirms $2.9 Million Verdict Against Employer That Failed To Obtain Green Card For Employee … Continue Reading

Employees Who Were Required To Call-In Prior To Shift Were Entitled To Reporting-Time Pay

Herrera v. Zumiez, Inc., 953 F.3d 1063 (9th Cir. 2020) Alexa Herrera filed this putative class action against her employer, alleging that Zumiez failed to provide reporting-time pay to employees at its California retail stores for their “Call-In” shifts. Employees scheduled for a Call-In shift were required to make themselves available to work during the … Continue Reading
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