Philippe (Phil) A. Lebel represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, trade secrets, and breach of contract litigation, in both the single-plaintiff and class- and/or representative-action context, at both the trial and appellate level, and before administrative agencies.
In addition to his litigation work, Phil regularly advises clients regarding compliance with federal, state and local employment laws, and assists a variety of companies and financial firms in evaluating labor and employment issues in connection with corporate transactions. Phil also has experience assisting employers with sensitive employee investigations and trainings. Phil also represents employers in connection with labor law matters, such as labor arbitrations and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.
Phil has assisted clients in a wide array of sectors including in the biotech, education, entertainment, financial services, fitness, healthcare, high-tech, legal services, manufacturing, media, professional services, sports, and staffing industries, among others.
Phil regularly speaks on emerging issues for employers and has been published or quoted in Law360, the Daily Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Business Insurance, and SHRM.org regarding a variety of labor and employment law topics.
During college, Phil worked on political campaigns in Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama, and was an intern with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Phil is a former member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
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Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), employers generally are strictly liable for a supervisor’s harassment, even where the employer is unaware of the supervisor’s alleged bad actions. While this left many employers without much recourse in the event supervisors misbehaved, a recently published Court of Appeal decision offers some hope. In Atalla v. … Continue Reading
On March 10, 2023, financial markets were rocked by uncertainty over the future of certain significant financial institutions. Among other concerns, bank failures raise the prospect of temporary or long-term cash flow problems for account holders, as deposits totaling more than $250,000 exceed the amount covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Often, companies’ largest … Continue Reading
Yesterday, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel revisited its own 2021 order and finally struck down California’s anti-mandatory employment arbitration law, Assembly Bill 51 (“AB 51”). In an opinion drafted by the former dissenting judge, Judge Sandra Ikuta, the new majority declared AB 51 was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). The statute in question, … Continue Reading
In recent years, employees (and their lawyers) have taken a variety of approaches to challenging the enforceability of workplace arbitration agreements. One common tactic has been to claim that they “don’t remember signing it” and, therefore, should not be required to arbitrate their claims. And at least one Court in the Second Appellate District has … Continue Reading
On January 13, 2023, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop the controversial Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act or “FAST Recovery Act” (AB 257) from taking effect, pending a vote by California voters. Previously, on December 30, 2022, the court had issued a temporary restraining order against the … Continue Reading
In the weeks and months since it changed its name from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to the California Civil Rights Department (“CRD”), the agency has been busy. Most recently, the CRD released proposed modifications to the regulations under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) related to the use and consideration of … Continue Reading
On November 22, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed the Fair Work Week Ordinance (“FWWO”). Set to take effect in April 2023, the new law imposes significant requirements on retail employers in the City of Los Angeles with respect to both scheduling and hiring. It follows in the footsteps of similar predictive scheduling … Continue Reading
To properly calculate the overtime rate for a non-exempt employee, employers must first calculate the “regular rate of pay.” Under federal law, and the laws of most states, the regular rate is determined by dividing the employee’s total weekly remuneration (except for a handful of categories that are specifically excluded, such as gifts and payments … Continue Reading
A decade ago, a California Court of Appeal held that employers lawfully could round employees’ time punches if the rounding policy was neutral on its face and as applied. See See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Super. Ct., 210 Cal. App. 4th 889 (2012). In arriving at this conclusion, the See’s Court relied on regulations under … Continue Reading
On August 1, 2022, the California Court of Appeal joined longstanding Ninth Circuit precedent in determining that online-only businesses are not “public accommodations” covered under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in Martinez v. Cot’n Wash, Inc., 2022 WL 3025828 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022). This may signal a change of tides of … Continue Reading
On June 15, 2022, in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, Case No. 20-1573,_ U.S. _ (2022), by an 8-1 majority, the U.S. States Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempts the California Supreme Court’s central holding in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (2014), that actions brought … Continue Reading
As covered previously here, the California Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) once again has identified a handful of “job killer” bills making their way through the legislative process. This year’s crop of proposed legislation would, among other things, inflate employer data reporting requirements and further expand the scope of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). … Continue Reading
California’s minimum wage currently is double its federal counterpart. And, it’s going to keep climbing. Late last week, Gov. Newsom announced that the Golden State’s minimum wage will increase to $15.50 for all employers (regardless of size), effective January 1, 2023. Employers have inflation to thank for this latest hike. California currently mandates a minimum wage … Continue Reading
Pablo Neruda once said “you can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.” Likewise, California businesses’ protests against oppressive employment legislation don’t seem to stem the tide of the Legislature’s latest batch of anti-employer bills. The California Chamber of Commerce has just identified a host of recently introduced “Job Killer” Bills … Continue Reading
In recent years, countries such as Iceland and Belgium and some domestic companies have experimented with the concept of four-day workweeks. Now, a new bill proposed by California Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Evan Low (D-San Jose), Assembly Bill 2932 (“AB 2932”), proposes to make a four-day workweek the new normal in California for … Continue Reading
Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, Case No. 20-1573,_ U.S. _ (2022). The case addresses whether the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) requires the enforcement of bilateral arbitration agreements that preclude an employee from bringing claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) on a … Continue Reading
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
On February 10, 2022, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks introduced Assembly Bill 1993 (“AB 1993”), which would impose COVID-19 vaccination requirements on virtually all employees and independent contractors working in California, regardless of employer/company size. AB 1993 would mandate that all employers require all of their employees and independent contractors to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. … Continue Reading
As we reported yesterday, California’s legislature enacted Assembly Bill 84 on Monday; the state’s Senate enacted the law’s counterpart the same day, Senate Bill 114. The new statute sought to reestablish statewide supplemental COVID-19 sick leave requirements, and imposes significant obligations on employers. Earlier today, Gov. Newsom signed the bill into law. The new sick … Continue Reading
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
As we reported here, Cal/OSHA’s revised COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) took effect on January 14, 2022. The controversial emergency regulations, which have caused employers countless headaches, survived their first major challenge when the Court of Appeal, in Western Growers Association v. Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board affirmed the trial court’s order blocking … Continue Reading
Things aren’t looking so good for the long-term health of the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). On top of the U.S. Supreme Court’s granting review of a case challenging PAGA’s anti-arbitration rule (as we reported here) and a separate challenge brought by an association of California business owners currently pending before the California … Continue Reading
Last month, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) readopted and revised the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”). By and large, OSHSB’s revised ETS retain most of the key requirements of the prior version, which had last been updated last June (as we reported here). However, the revised ETS, which will take … Continue Reading
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which has responsibility for the County’s more than 10 million residents, kicked off the new year with a brand new Health Officer Order on January 5, 2022. Among other changes, the new Health Officer Order imposes significant requirements on employers with respect to face coverings (effective January … Continue Reading