California Employment Law Update
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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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Newspaper Delivery Carriers May Be Employees Under Borello Independent Contractor Test

Becerra v. The McClatchy Co., 2021 WL 4472625 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Newspaper home delivery carriers for The Fresno Bee sued for violation of the Unfair Competition Law for failure to pay their mileage expenses as required by Cal. Lab. Code § 2802. The Trial court determined the carriers were independent contractors and not employees and entered … Continue Reading

Company That Retained Independent Contractor Is Not Liable For Injury To Contractor’s Employee

Sandoval v. Qualcomm Inc., 12 Cal. 5th 256 (2021) Qualcomm hired TransPower Testing, Inc., an electrical engineering service company, to inspect and verify the amperage capacity of Qualcomm’s existing switchgear equipment.  TransPower hired Martin Sandoval, an electrical parts supply and repair specialist, to conduct an inspection during which Sandoval was seriously injured.  The jury awarded Sandoval … Continue Reading

Order Denying Attorney’s Fees Under UTSA Is Not Separately Appealable

Dr. V. Prods., Inc. v. Rey, 68 Cal. App. 5th 793 (2021) Dr. V. Productions sued its former employee, Samantha Rey, for misappropriation of trade secrets under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, breach of fiduciary duty and related claims.  After “significant discovery,” Dr. V. voluntarily dismissed its misappropriation of trade secrets claim.  Rey then filed a … Continue Reading

Employee Can Proceed With Age Discrimination Lawsuit Against LMU

Jorgensen v. Loyola Marymount Univ., 68 Cal. App. 5th 882 (2021) Linda Jorgensen sued Loyola Marymount University for retaliation and age and gender discrimination.  In opposition to LMU’s summary judgment motion, Jorgensen provided a declaration from a former employee (Carolyn Bauer) who swore that Johana Hernandez (the assistant dean) told Bauer that she “wanted someone younger” … Continue Reading

In-House Counsel’s Claim For Breach Of Oral Promise Of Contingency Fee Was Barred By Statute

Missakian v. Amusement Indus., Inc., 69 Cal. App. 5th 630 (2021) Former in-house counsel Craig Missakian sued his former employer, Amusement Industry, Inc., based on an alleged oral promise to pay him a bonus and a share of recovery from real estate litigation that was pending in New York, which ultimately settled for $26 million.  At … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Resurrects California’s Anti-Arbitration Statute

Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A. v. Bonta, 13 F.4th 766 (9th Cir. 2021) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in part a 2020 preliminary injunction issued by a district court and resurrected California Labor Code Section 432.6, the state’s latest attempt to outlaw arbitration in the employment context. As a result, employers in California once again … Continue Reading

Employers Beware: California Jury Verdicts Continue to Skyrocket!

Very few companies doing business in California missed the news recently that a San Francisco jury ordered Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, to pay $137 million to a Black former elevator operator who had worked at the company for less than a year before he quit his job due to alleged racial harassment in the … Continue Reading

Governor Newsom Signs A Slew of New Employment Laws for 2022

As the 2021 legislative season came to a close, Governor Gavin Newsom signed numerous bills into law. From arbitration to workplace safety, these laws will impact employers across the state.  We have summarized the most important ones for you here: Arbitration Arbitration fees will now need to be paid upon receipt of invoice unless the … Continue Reading

Los Angeles City Council Approves Sweeping Vaccine Ordinance for Indoor Establishments

Following New York City and San Francisco, Los Angeles is the latest city to require proof of vaccination for individuals entering indoor portions of establishments.  This ordinance, which the Los Angeles City Council approved in an 11-to-2 vote, takes effect November 4, 2021.  However, beginning October 21, 2021, the ordinance requires businesses and City facilities … Continue Reading

San Francisco Jury Hits Tesla with $137 Million Race Harassment Verdict

On Monday afternoon, a San Francisco federal court jury awarded $137 million to a Black former elevator operator who worked at Tesla’s Fremont facility for approximately one year before quitting his employment in 2016. After just four hours of deliberation, the jury awarded Owen Diaz $6.9 million in emotional distress damages and $130 million in punitive … Continue Reading

New California Law Imposes Strict Limits 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

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