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 On December 6, 2010, the United States Supreme Court granted Wal-Mart’s petition for certiorari, agreeing to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision [pdf] to permit certification of a class of 500,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  This litigation, which has been ongoing for nearly a decade, alleges sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against

On November 3, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear an appeal brought by a Harrah’s Las Vegas casino dealer challenging the District Court’s ruling that her proposed state wage-and-hour class action was preempted by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  In so doing, the Ninth Circuit chose not to revisit the District Court’s ruling that the plaintiff could not assert parallel federal and state wage-and-hour class actions.  This ruling provides welcome relief to employers threatened by such a multiplicity of claims.

On October 22, 2010, the California Court of Appeal in Villacres v. Abm Industries Inc., No. B219584, __ Cal. App. 4th __ (2010) rejected an attempt by a settling class member to use the California Private Attorney Generals Act (PAGA) to bring successive claims for civil penalties against his former employer, from whom he had previously accepted the proceeds from a class action settlement involving similar claims.  In so doing, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s granting of summary judgment for the employer on the ground that the plaintiff’s claims were barred under the doctrine of res judicata.  This outcome is a clear victory for employers who purchase costly peace through court-approved class action settlements, and a welcome clarification that PAGA cannot be used to peck an employer to death once such settlements are final.

California has fallen to No. 39 in Forbes’ rankings of The Best States for Business in 2010, down one position from its ranking in 2009.

According to Forbes, the rankings are based on valuations of business costs, labor supply, the regulatory environment and other economic factors.  Among these specific measures, California ranked 44th in business costs, which includes the costs of labor, energy and

Today the California Court of Appeal struck down two state laws that had previously made it nearly impossible for California employers to obtain injunctive relief in labor disputes.  In Ralphs Grocery v. UFCW, No. C060413 (Cal. Ct. App. July 19, 2010), the Court determined that Cal. Code of Civil Procedure section 527.3 (a/k/a the “Moscone Act”) and Cal. Labor Code Section 1138.1 are unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution because they unjustifiably favor speech related to labor disputes over other speech and because they effectively compel private employers to provide a forum for speech with which the employer disagrees.

California legislators have introduced a series of bills that, if enacted, would further expand liability for employers and would significantly increase the cost and risk of doing business in California.  Not surprisingly, the California Chamber of Commerce has labeled these bills “job killers.”

In a related development, California’s unemployment rate hovers at 12.6% — the third highest in the nation.