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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Payroll Company Not Liable To Employee For Negligence Or Breach Of Contract

Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, 6 Cal. 5th 817 (2019) Sharmalene Goonewardene alleged claims against ADP (the payroll company used by her employer, Altour International Inc.) for wrongful termination, violation of the Labor Code, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and negligence. The trial court sustained ADP’s demurrer to the complaint without further leave to amend, and … Continue Reading

$300 Unpaid Wage Claim Results In Additional $57,000 Award To Employee

Stratton v. Beck, 30 Cal. App. 5th 901 (2018) Anthony Stratton filed a claim against Thomas Beck with the labor commissioner for unpaid wages in the amount of $303.55. After conducting an administrative hearing, the labor commissioner awarded Stratton $303.50 plus an additional $5,757.46 in liquidated damages, interest and statutory penalties for a total award … Continue Reading

Employer Violated FCRA With Improper Background Check Notice

Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC, 913 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2019) While applying for employment with CheckSmart Financial, LLC, Desiree Gilberg signed a “Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation,” which resulted in Gilberg’s filing a putative class action against CheckSmart, claiming it had violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and the California Investigative … Continue Reading

Former Accountant Could Proceed With Whistleblower Lawsuit

Siri v. Sutter Home Winery, Inc., 31 Cal. App. 5th 598 (2019) Says Siri alleged she was terminated as the general ledger staff accountant for Sutter Home Winery in retaliation for having notified the state Board of Equalization and Sutter’s general counsel in writing of her belief that the winery was out of compliance with … Continue Reading

Eddie Money Beats Discrimination Lawsuit Based On Free Speech Right

Symmonds v. Mahoney, 31 Cal. App. 5th 1096 (2019) After 41 years, singer/songwriter Edward Joseph Mahoney (aka “Eddie Money”) terminated the employment of Glenn Symmonds (the band’s drummer) in response to which Symmonds filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination based on age, disability and medical condition in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act … Continue Reading

Tony Oncidi Recognized by the Burton Awards and the National Law Review for Distinguished Legal Writing

March 12, 2019 (LOS ANGELES) – Partner Tony Oncidi has been recognized for distinguished legal writing by both the Burton Awards and the National Law Review. Tony’s article “Consider the True Implications of Waiving Arbitration” earned him recognition in the form of a Burton Award and a Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award for clear, concise and comprehensive legal … Continue Reading

Are You an Employee or a Contractor? Carpenters, Strippers and Dog Walkers Now Face that Question (Los Angeles Times Piece)

The Los Angeles Times published a piece addressing the recent and abrupt change in the rules for determining who is and who is not an independent contractor in California. As is so often the case, there are many unanticipated consequences associated with these new rules. Read the full piece here: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-dynamex-contractors-20190223-story.html… Continue Reading

California Jury Rejects Employee’s Discrimination Claims Against Chipotle

Proving it still is possible to obtain a favorable jury verdict in California (see contrary evidence), a federal jury sided with Chipotle Mexican Grill last Wednesday in a case involving disability discrimination claims by former assistant store manager, Lucia Cortez. Cortez alleged she suffered a miscarriage at work after years of trying to get pregnant, … Continue Reading

California Class Actions and PAGA (“Prettymuch All is Going to the Attorneys”) Claims Continue to Overwhelm the State

We have reported before about the huge jury verdicts that get handed out in California with alarming regularity and California’s sustained #1 ranking as the “Top Judicial Hellhole” in the nation. A corollary problem continues unabated: The prevalence of class actions and lawsuits under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Though California accounts for 12% … Continue Reading

LA Times Wins Lawsuit Against Former Freelancer

The California Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of a former freelancer’s defamation and employment-related claims against the Times. Frederick Theodore Rall III, a political cartoonist and blogger for the paper, brought claims for defamation, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotion distress, and retaliation, among others, stemming from the Times’ decision to disassociate itself with Rall … Continue Reading

January 2019 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2019 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: School Teacher’s ADA Claim Against Catholic School Was Not Barred By “Ministerial Exception” City Attorney Should Not Have Been Disqualified From Representing City Prevailing Employer Should Not Have … Continue Reading

School Teacher’s ADA Claim Against Catholic School Was Not Barred By “Ministerial Exception”

Biel v. St. James School, 2018 WL 6597221 (9th Cir. 2018) Kristen Biel was fired from her fifth grade teaching position at St. James Catholic School after she told the school that she had breast cancer and would need to miss work to undergo chemotherapy. Following her termination, Biel alleged that the school had violated … Continue Reading

City Attorney Should Not Have Been Disqualified From Representing City

City of San Diego v. Superior Court, 2018 WL 6629322 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) As part of an internal affairs investigation regarding the unauthorized disclosure of a confidential police report, the San Diego Police Department questioned detective Dana Hoover regarding communications she had had with an attorney who was representing her in an employment-related lawsuit … Continue Reading

Prevailing Employer Should Not Have Been Awarded CCP § 998 Costs

Huerta v. Kava Holdings, Inc., 29 Cal. App. 5th 74 (2018) Felix Huerta sued Kava Holdings dba Hotel Bel-Air after the hotel terminated him and another restaurant server who was involved in an altercation during work. The trial court granted Kava’s motion for nonsuit as to Huerta’s claim for retaliation under the Fair Employment and … Continue Reading

Employer May Be Liable For Accident Caused By On-Call Employee

Moreno v. Visser Ranch, Inc., 2018 WL 6696021 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Ray David Moreno, a passenger riding in a truck that his father (Ernesto Moreno) was driving, was injured when the truck left the roadway, hit an embankment and rolled over. Ray sued his father, the corporation that employed his father and an affiliated … Continue Reading

Employer’s Rounding Policy Complied With California Law

Donohue v. AMN Servs., LLC, 2018 WL 6445360 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) AMN used a computer-based timekeeping system for all nonexempt employees, including plaintiffs/nurse recruiters. The timekeeping system rounded recruiters’ punch times (both punch in and punch out) to the nearest 10-minute increment. To establish the proper hourly compensation, AMN converted each 10-minute increment to … Continue Reading

Wage Order Permitting Hospital Employees To Waive Meal Break Is Valid

Gerard v. Orange Coast Mem. Med. Ctr., 2018 WL 6442036 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) Plaintiff health care workers formerly employed by Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center alleged that they usually worked shifts of 12 hours or more. A hospital policy allowed employees who worked shifts longer than 10 hours to voluntarily waive one of their … Continue Reading

Employees Who Voluntarily Used Company Vehicle Are Not Entitled To Travel Time

Hernandez v. Pacific Bell Tel. Co., 29 Cal. App. 5th 131 (2018) Employees of Pacific Bell who install and repair video and internet services in customers’ homes asserted a putative class action against the company for allegedly unpaid compensation for time they spent traveling in an employer-provided vehicle (loaded with equipment and tools) between their … Continue Reading

Employees Are Entitled To Additional Compensation For Shortened Meal Periods

Kaanaana v. Barrett Bus. Servs., Inc., 2018 WL 6261482 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) The employees in this case (belt sorters who worked at two publicly owned and operated recycling facilities under contracts with Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts) alleged the employers’ failure to pay the prevailing wage and to provide full 30-minute meal periods. The … Continue Reading

Property Inspectors’ Putative Class Action Was Properly Denied Certification

McCleery v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2018 WL 6583916 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Plaintiffs/property inspectors alleged they were improperly hired as independent contractors by insurance companies and sought payment of unpaid minimum wages, overtime, meal and rest breaks, employee expense reimbursements as well as compliance with various other Labor Code provisions. The trial court concluded that … Continue Reading

A California Jury Strikes Again – Hands Out $11 Million Verdict

A Los Angeles jury awarded more than $11 million to two former employees who claimed they were sexually harassed and retaliated against for complaining about the harassment. Megan Meadowcroft and Amber Brown, who worked at the Keyways Vineyard and Winery in Temecula, California, alleged they had been harassed by the general manager, Carlos Pineiro. Meadowcroft … Continue Reading

We’re #1 Again! California Tops “Judicial Hellhole” List!

The American Tort Reform Foundation has just released its annual report on “Judicial Hellholes.”  The Report claims that in California, the legislature and courts “extend liability at almost every given opportunity,” including fostering “no-injury” litigation in the form of class action and PAGA (Private Attorneys General Act) lawsuits in the workplace. California takes the number … Continue Reading
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