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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Ninth Circuit Adopts “Primary Beneficiary” Test To Determine If Students Were Employees

Benjamin v. B&H Educ., Inc., 2017 WL 6460087 (9th Cir. 2017) Plaintiffs in this case are students of cosmetology and hair design at the Marinello Schools of Beauty (“B&H”) in California and Nevada. Plaintiffs claim that they are employees within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and under California and Nevada state … Continue Reading

Cal-WARN Act Applies To Temporary Layoffs

International Bhd. of Boilermakers, et al. v. NASSCO Holdings Inc., 17 Cal. App. 5th 1105 (2017) The union and several employees sued the employer NASSCO, alleging it had violated the California WARN Act (Cal. Lab. Code § 1400, et seq.) by not providing at least 60 days’ advance notice to approximately 90 employees who were … Continue Reading

Obese Former Employee May Proceed With Disability Discrimination Claim

Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club, 2017 WL 6524707 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Ketryn Cornell is a severely obese woman (BMI > 50) who was fired from her job as a manager and tennis court washer for the Berkeley Tennis Club. Following her termination, she sued the Club for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate her disability, … Continue Reading

Trial Court Erroneously Granted Bill Cosby’s Anti-SLAPP Motion

Dickinson v. Cosby, 17 Cal. App. 5th 655 (2017) After Janice Dickinson went public with her accusations of rape against Bill Cosby, Cosby’s attorney (Martin Singer) reacted with: (1) a letter demanding that media outlets not repeat Dickinson’s allegedly false accusation, under threat of litigation; and (2) a press release characterizing Dickinson’s rape accusation as … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Awards $17.4 Million to Sanitation Bureau Employee

Continuing an alarming recent pattern of multi-million dollar jury awards (see our earlier post), a Los Angeles jury panel recently awarded $17.4 million to a former employee of the Bureau of Sanitation.  The employee claimed he had been retaliated against because he had taken part in “protected activities” and because he had filed a complaint … Continue Reading

Tax Reform Act Denies Deductions for Some Sexual Harassment Settlements

In a little-noticed provision buried deep inside the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (signed into law on Dec. 22) is the following “denial of deduction”: “Payments related to sexual harassment and sexual abuse – No deduction shall be allowed under this chapter for – any settlement or payment related to sexual harassment or sexual … Continue Reading

Labor Commissioner Issues New Guidance On Breaks

The California Labor Commissioner recently issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo regarding breaks and lactation accommodation. The FAQ memo contains no new concepts, but emphasizes the following longstanding principles: California employers must authorize and permit a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked (or major fraction thereof). To the extent practicable, … Continue Reading

November 2017 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2017 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Newly Enacted California Statutes Statewide “Ban-the-Box” Legislation; Parental Leave Protections Expanded; California Becomes A “Sanctuary State”; Mandatory Training To Prevent Gender Identity Harassment; New Restrictions On Inquiries Into … Continue Reading

Statewide “Ban-the-Box” Legislation

Known as “Ban-the-Box” legislation in reference to the box applicants are asked to check if they have any prior criminal convictions, the new law prohibits employers from inquiring about or considering a job applicant’s conviction history prior to an offer of employment. Specifically, the new law amends California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) by … Continue Reading

Mandatory Training To Prevent Gender Identity Harassment

This law expands the scope of mandatory sexual harassment training employers must provide to their supervisory employees. Currently, FEHA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of prescribed training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position and … Continue Reading

Parental Leave Protections Expanded

This new law expands parental leave protections to those individuals who work for employers with at least 20 employees. Under the new law, employers with at least 20 employees must allow an employee who has more than 12 months of service with the employer to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond … Continue Reading

California Becomes A “Sanctuary State”

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law nearly a dozen new immigration-related bills, including AB 450, which prohibits employers from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in the absence of a judicial warrant or court order. Among other things, the new law: Prohibits employers from voluntarily consenting to an immigration enforcement agent’s entering nonpublic areas of the … Continue Reading

New Restrictions On Inquiries Into Applicants’ Salary History

This law is a new statewide salary history inquiry law that will largely restrict employers in the state from seeking and relying upon salary history information obtained from applicants during the hiring process. The law will apply to all private and public sector employers and will prohibit employers from: relying on salary history as a … Continue Reading

Employer Must Provide Assistance To Employees Injured By Domestic Terrorism

In instances in which the governor has declared a state of emergency in connection with an act of domestic terrorism, employers must provide immediate support to injured employees from a nurse case manager who will assist claimants to obtain medically necessary medical treatment. “Treatment” includes mental health treatment and counseling services for psychological injuries and … Continue Reading

Labor Commissioner’s Anti-Retaliation Jurisdiction Expanded

This law expands the Labor Commissioner’s power to commence an investigation of an employer – with or without a retaliation complaint being filed – when retaliation by the employer against an employee is suspected during the course of adjudicating a wage claim, a field inspection or in instances of suspected immigration-related threats in violation of the Labor … Continue Reading

Employer May Be Liable For Sexual Harassment By Nonemployee Trespasser

M.F. v. Pacific Pearl Hotel Mgmt. LLC, 2017 WL 4831603 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) M.F., a housekeeping employee who worked for a hotel, alleged she had been raped while working on the employer’s premises by a drunk, nonemployee trespasser whom the employer knew or should have known was on the premises and who had “aggressively … Continue Reading

Workers’ Compensation Decision Barred Employees’ FEHA Claims

Ly v. County of Fresno, 2017 WL 4546059 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Three Laotian correctional officers were allegedly subjected to racial and national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation by their employer, the County of Fresno. The employees filed suit in court under the FEHA while simultaneously pursuing their workers’ compensation remedies before the Workers’ Compensation … Continue Reading

Employer Was Not Liable For Marital Status Discrimination Or Failure To Investigate

Nakai v. Friendship House Ass’n of Am. Indians, Inc., 15 Cal. App. 5th 32 (2017) Orlando Nakai was employed for over 20 years by Friendship House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program providing treatment services to Native Americans. His employment was terminated by the program’s CEO (who also happened to be his mother-in-law) after his … Continue Reading

Whistleblower’s Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Levi v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 15 Cal. App. 5th 892 (2017) Dr. Leah Levi, a neuro-ophthalmologist, alleged retaliation under California’s Whistleblower Protection Act (“CWPA”) against the University, her former employer. Dr. Levi alleged that her supervisor (Dr. Robert Weinreb) had a conflict of interest related to his wife’s position in the department … Continue Reading

Employer’s Violation Of PAGA Need Not Be Knowing And Intentional

Lopez v. Friant & Assocs., LLC, 15 Cal. App. 5th 773 (2017) Eduardo Lopez filed this action seeking recovery of civil penalties under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) for his employer’s failure to include the last four digits of its employees’ Social Security numbers or employee identification numbers on itemized … Continue Reading

Taxicab Driver May Have Been An Employee Rather Than An Independent Contractor

Linton v. DeSoto Cab Co., 15 Cal. App. 5th 1208 (2017) DeSoto Cab Co. had required Darnice Linton to pay a “gate fee” in exchange for his obtaining a taxicab to drive for each of his shifts. Linton alleged that he is an employee (not an independent contractor) and that by charging him “gate fees,” … Continue Reading

DOL’s Interpretation Of Tip Credit Regulation Does Not Merit Judicial Deference

Marsh v. J. Alexander’s LLC, 869 F.3d 1108 (9th Cir. 2017) Alec Marsh, who worked as a server for J. Alexander’s, alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) based upon the employer’s failure to pay him the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Marsh further alleged that he received more than $30 … Continue Reading