California Employment Law Update
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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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California Continues to Go to the Dogs

On March 17, Rover—a digital application connecting pet owners with daily pet-care providers—argued to the Ninth Circuit that it should uphold a California federal judge’s finding that a dog-sitter was properly classified as an independent contractor. While maintaining that it passes the strict three-pronged “ABC test”—which we have reported on here, here, and here—Rover also … Continue Reading

New “Job-Killer” Bill Would Allow Employees to Just Walk Off the Job!

The California Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee recently passed Senate Bill 1044, moving the legislation one step closer to a vote by the full state senate. SB 1044 would permit employees, without notice, to leave their workplace—or not show up to work at all—if they “feel unsafe.” SB 1044 would prohibit employers from … Continue Reading

March 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: California Relaxes Standard For Proving Whistleblower Claims At-Will Employee Can Proceed With Labor Code § 970 Claim Doctor Proved Age/Race/Gender Discrimination Former Owner of Company Is … Continue Reading

Court Properly Denied Class Certification For Wage Hour Claims Involving Rounding

Cirrincione v. American Scissor Lift, Inc., 73 Cal. App. 5th 619 (2022) Jason Cirrincione filed a putative class action lawsuit against his former employer for various wage and hour violations, including failure to pay overtime and minimum wages, meal and rest breaks, waiting time penalties, Cal. Labor Code § 2802, etc. These claims were predicated … Continue Reading

Heightened Standard Of Fairness Required For Approval Of Class Action Settlement

Peck v. Swift Transp. Co. of Ariz., 2022 WL 414692 (9th Cir. 2022) In evaluating a settlement of a class action involving Cal. Labor Code § 2802 (employer indemnity for employee expenses), the district court stated that “the parties engaged in arm’s-length, serious, informed and non-collusive negotiations between experienced and knowledgeable counsel … after mediation … Continue Reading

Employer Not Required To Provide Workplace Seating To Grocery Cashiers

La Face v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 2022 WL 498847 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022) Jill La Face, who worked as a grocery store cashier, filed this PAGA claim against her employer, alleging that Ralphs violated an Industrial Wage Commission order that requires employers to provide suitable seating when the nature of the work reasonably permitted the … Continue Reading

OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Exceeded Its Statutory Authority

National Fed’n of Indep. Bus. v. OSHA, 595 U.S. ___, 142 S. Ct. 661 (2022) The United States Secretary of Labor, acting through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enacted a vaccine mandate that would have required employers with at least 100 employees to require their employees (approximately 84 million workers) to receive a COVID-19 … Continue Reading

Former Owner of Company Is Enjoined From Soliciting Customers

Blue Mountain Enterprises, LLC v. Owen, 74 Cal. App. 5th 537 (2022) Gregory S. Owen transferred his ownership interest in several real estate and construction-related firms to Blue Mountain Enterprises, LLC, as part of a joint venture with Acolyte Limited. Owen became Blue Mountain’s CEO and he agreed to a post-employment non-solicitation provision, which precluded … Continue Reading

Doctor Proved Age/Race/Gender Discrimination

Department of Corr. & Rehab. v. State Pers. Bd., 2022 WL 354657 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022) Vickie Mabry-Height, M.D., sued the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, alleging discrimination on the basis of age, race and gender in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The State Personnel Board sustained Dr. Mabry-Height’s complaint … Continue Reading

California Relaxes Standard For Proving Whistleblower Claims

Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., 12 Cal. 5th 703 (2022) Plaintiff Wallen Lawson, who was discharged by his employer PPG Architectural Finishes for allegedly poor performance, brought a whistleblower claim against PPG; Lawson claimed he was terminated because he had uncovered and reported a supervisor’s scheme to “mis-tint” unpopular paint colors in order to … Continue Reading

California May Relax Background Check Process

Many employers undertake routine background checks as part of their hiring process.  To be effective, of course, the process has to be completed in a timely manner.  Yet, a recent court decision, All of Us or None v. Hamrick, 64 Cal. App. 5th 751 (2021), made that process appreciably more difficult by prohibiting searches of … Continue Reading

Congress Passes Bill Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration and Class Action Waivers for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Claims

On February 10, 2022, the Senate passed H. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (the “Act”), by a voice vote.  The bill had previously passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 335-97. The White House has indicated President Biden will sign the bill. If enacted, the Act would amend the … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Relaxes Standard Needed to Prove Whistleblower Retaliation

The California Supreme Court has resolved an inconsistency that has divided the courts as to the proper evidentiary standard necessary to prove a whistleblower retaliation claim.  Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., No. S266001, 2022 WL 244731 (Cal. Jan. 27, 2022). Background Plaintiff Wallen Lawson, who was discharged by his employer PPG Architectural Finishes for … Continue Reading

House Passes Bill Barring “Mandatory Arbitration” in Sexual Assault and Harassment Cases

On February 7, 2022, in a 335-97 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill (“Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act”), which would prohibit “mandatory arbitration” in sexual assault and harassment cases arising or accruing on or after the date of enactment.  This bill also invalidates joint, class, or … Continue Reading

As Cases Plummet and Mask Mandates Go Away, the Legislature Re-Enacts Supplemental COVID-19 Sick Leave

On February 7, 2022, there were two big COVID-19-related news developments in the Golden State: First, Gov. Newsom announced that California’s mask mandates would expire on February 15th. Second, the legislature voted to enact Assembly Bill 84 (“AB 84”), a law that would re-enact California’s 2020 supplemental COVID-19 leave law, and provide up to 80 … Continue Reading

January 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Manicurist Can Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim “Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute … Continue Reading

Flight Attendants Are Entitled To Labor Code Compliant Wage Statements

Gunther v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 72 Cal. App. 5th 334 (2021) Julie Gunther is an Alaska Airlines flight attendant who lives in San Diego. In this PAGA claim, Gunther alleged that her wage statements are not compliant with Cal. Labor Code § 226 because they fail to state the total hours worked; the number of … Continue Reading

Trial Court Failed To Properly Assess Fairness Of PAGA Settlement

Moniz v. Adecco USA, Inc., 72 Cal. App. 5th 56 (2021) Rachel Moniz filed a PAGA notice with the Labor Workforce and Development Agency (“LWDA”) and a subsequent lawsuit alleging that Adecco, her former employer, maintained and implemented unlawful limitations on the disclosure of information such as wages, working conditions and non-public information of commercial … Continue Reading

Employer Prevails On Breach Of Nondisclosure Agreement Claim Against Former Employee

Elation Sys., Inc. v. Fenn Bridge LLC, 71 Cal. App. 5th 958 (2021) Elation Systems sued one of its former software developers, Tiebiao “Joe” Shi, for breach of a nondisclosure agreement and a settlement agreement after he quit his employment and formed a new business entity called Efen Bridge (which became Fenn Bridge). At trial, … Continue Reading

Security Officer Can Proceed With Disability Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Claims, But Not Retaliation Claim

Zamora v. Security Indus. Specialists, Inc., 71 Cal. App. 5th 1 (2021) David Zamora sued his former employer, Security Industry Specialists, Inc. (“SIS”), for disability discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation. Eight days after he was hired, Zamora tripped over a curb at work and twisted his left knee. Zamora was later laid off as part … Continue Reading

Nurse’s Discrimination Claims Against Hospital Were Properly Dismissed

Wilkin v. Community Hosp. of the Monterey Peninsula, 71 Cal. App. 5th 806 (2021) Kimberly Wilkin worked as a registered nurse for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula before the hospital terminated her employment following its discovery she had violated the hospital’s policies governing the handling and documentation of patient medications. After her termination, … Continue Reading

“Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute

Woods v. American Film Institute, 2021 WL 5978072 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Laurie Woods worked for four days as a volunteer at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles. She alleges that she worked between 12 and 14 hours each of those days and that she and the other volunteers she purported to represent in … Continue Reading
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