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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Employer May Have FEHA Liability If It Exercised Direction/Control Over Temp Worker

Jimenez v. U.S. Continental Mktg., Inc., 2019 WL 5257938 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) Elvia Velasco Jimenez asserted claims under the FEHA against her “contracting employer,” a manufacturing company named U.S. Continental Marketing Inc. (“USCM”) for which she performed services, and a “temporary-staffing agency” named Ameritemps. At trial, the jury agreed with USCM that it was … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Whistleblower Verdicts In Favor Of Fired Parking Ticket Hearing Examiners

Hawkins v. City of Los Angeles, 40 Cal. App. 5th 384 (2019) Todd Hawkins and Hyung Kim were terminated from their jobs as hearing examiners at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Hawkins and Kim alleged they had been fired for whistleblowing on the City’s practice of pressuring parking ticket hearing examiners to change decisions … Continue Reading

Two Important Stragglers Among California’s New Labor Laws

Last week, we blogged about the avalanche of new labor laws that California employers will face in 2020.  Here are two late additions to the list  — just in time for Halloween!: AB 61 (Ting, D-San Francisco) grants employers and coworkers the right to petition a court to issue a gun violence restraining order, which prevents an … Continue Reading

Take That, Employers! California is Done (for Now) with this Year’s Legislative Thrashing

Here’s a comprehensive list of the new employment-related statutes enacted and signed into law in the Golden State (effective Jan. 1, 2020 unless otherwise specified): AB 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) makes it extremely difficult for most California employers to hire an independent contractor and would convert such workers into “employees” in the eyes of the … Continue Reading

California Enacts a Raft of New Employment Laws

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law several new measures that employers will need to comply with by January 1, 2020 and that will generally make it easier for employees to sue their employers.  Specifically: AB 9 extends the statute of limitations period for employees to file claims of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation … Continue Reading

Stray Kitty Moonlights as Lawyer

Following passage of AB-5, the recent string of multi-million dollar employee jury verdicts, and other challenging developments, we concluded that our subscribers need some feel-good news every meow and then (sorry). An association of lawyers in Brasília, Brazil has hired Leon the cat as one of their new “attorneys” in order to lighten the mood around … Continue Reading

Employees Will Be Exempted from Most Requirements of the Amended California Consumer Privacy Act … For Now

In an effort to give consumers more control over the data businesses collect from and about them, the California legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2018 (and amended it a few months later). The CCPA gives consumers the right to know about and have deleted the data businesses have gathered about them, among … Continue Reading

California Employment Law Notes

California Supreme Court Invalidates Agreement To Arbitrate Wage Disputes OTO, LLC v. Kho, 2019 WL 4065524 (Cal. S. Ct. 2019) In the most recent chapter of the ongoing saga regarding the enforceability of arbitration agreements in California, the California Supreme Court has determined that because the execution of the arbitration agreement in this case involved … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hands Employers A Rare Victory, Trims Bloated PAGA Claims

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court held that private litigants may not recover unpaid wages under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).  See ZB, N.A. v. Superior Court (Lawson) (Cal. S. Ct. Sept. 12, 2019). In a rearguard effort to fight employment arbitration agreements, which usually include class action waivers, plaintiffs’ lawyers have been … Continue Reading

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash Pledge $90 Million To Fund Voter Initiative To Overturn Assembly Bill 5

Assembly Bill 5, a proposed new law currently pending in the California legislature, would limit and codify last year’s California Supreme Court Dynamex opinion.  If passed and signed into law by Gov. Newsom (he’s already said he’ll sign it), AB-5 would make it nearly impossible for most California employers to hire an independent contractor and … Continue Reading

Employer Sues Its Law Firm for Malpractice and EPLI Insurer for Bad Faith

These days, more employers than ever are purchasing Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI”) to cover them in the event they get sued for employment-related claims. (See our earlier posting on that topic: “A Handy Guide for Choosing and Using Employment Practices Liability Insurance Coverage.”) As we pointed out in that article, there are definitely some … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Awards $15.4 Million To Former LA Times Columnist

  Employers all over California are once again hearing the siren call of arbitration in the wake of a $15.4 million single-plaintiff verdict that a Los Angeles jury delivered to a former Los Angeles Times sports columnist on Monday.  T.J. Simers sued the paper for age and disability discrimination.  Simers quit his job in 2013 … Continue Reading

Public Employee Union Members Sue Over Forced Dues Payments

Five In-Home Supportive Service (“IHSS”) providers filed a class-action lawsuit last month challenging their union’s practice of deducting union dues despite their quitting the union. The workers allege their First Amendment rights are being violated by the union deducting dues from their paychecks and using it to subsidize union speech.  Just one year ago, the United … Continue Reading

California Law Requiring Female Board Members Challenged In Court

Earlier this week, three taxpayers sued California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to prevent enforcement of Senate Bill 826. Senate Bill 826, signed into law last year by former Governor Jerry Brown, requires that by the end of 2019, all publicly held foreign or domestic corporations whose principal executive offices are in California shall have … Continue Reading

EEOC Has Begun Denying Employers’ Requests For Extensions Of Time To Respond To Discrimination Charges

What used to be a routine request – asking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for an extension of time when responding to a charge of discrimination or harassment and assuming extra time would be granted – apparently is no longer such an automatic thing. In what may signal a broader shift in policy, the … Continue Reading

Proskauer Scores Two Summary Judgments for Large Southern California Hospital Within 48 Hours

We’re delighted to report that we secured two summary judgments in two separate alleged discrimination cases on behalf of a large Southern California hospital in matters that were pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court. In one case, decided on July 12, 2019, the Court agreed with our client that the former employee had failed … Continue Reading

California Enacts Law Prohibiting Hairstyle Discrimination … with New York and New Jersey Close Behind

As we have reported before, California is set to become the first state to prohibit employers from discriminating based upon hairstyle. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the “CROWN Act” (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair). The CROWN Act amends the state’s Education Code and Government Code to define “race … Continue Reading

“Bikini Baristas” Ordered to Cover-Up

The 9th Circuit court of appeals has enforced the City of Everett, Washington’s Dress Code Ordinance and amendments to the Lewd Conduct Ordinances. These ordinances require employees of “Quick-Service” facilities to cover “minimum body areas” (the dress code ordinance specifically stated that it was targeting an apparent influx of “bikini barista stands”). The owner of … Continue Reading

California Jury Awards $15.4 Million to Former Jack in the Box Employee

In a decision unsurprising to anyone familiar with what California juries have been up to lately (see our reporting here), fast-food titan Jack in the Box was ordered to pay $15.4 million (including a staggering $10 million in punitive damages) last week in a lawsuit involving age and disability discrimination claims, as well as alleged … Continue Reading

Ah, It’s Bill Passing Season in California – and No Employer is Safe!

It’s springtime in California!  Even as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, the California legislature is busy, busy, busy passing 100s of new laws because, after all, you can never get too much of a good thing! Yes, it’s Bill Passing Season in Sacramento again, and the California legislature seems as determined as ever … Continue Reading
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