We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2012 California Employment Law Notes – a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: 

With California’s unemployment rate hovering around 11%, both employees and employers are sensitive to proposed legislature that could further increase the burdens on businesses and hamper economic growth. With these concerns in mind,the California Chamber of Commerce has released it’s annual a list of “Job Killer Bills,” which consists of 23 proposed laws that could negatively impact economic and job growth in California.

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We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2012 California Employment Law Notes – a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: 

This morning, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court. Taking up two crucial issues that have spawned dozens of class action suits across the state, the Court answered the questions: (1) must an employer merely provide a meal break to employees or must it ensure that its employees actually take such breaks, and (2) when during the workday must meal and rest breaks be taken and how many must be provided?

With respect to the first issue of what “providing the employee with a meal period” means, the Court concluded that “an employer’s obligation is to relieve its employee of all duty, with the employee thereafter at liberty to use the meal period for whatever purpose he or she desired, but the employer need not ensure that no work is done.”

On March 29, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued its final rule to amend its Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) regulations concerning disparate-impact claims and the reasonable factors other than age (“RFOA”) defense.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and representatives of a class of television writers today announced the settlement of a case alleging age discrimination in the representation of television writers.

The case was the last of 23 separate class actions that were filed a decade ago by the writers against the major television networks, production studios, and talent agencies. The other 22 cases settled over the past six years for a combined amount of $74.5 million. The announcement of today’s news – wherein CAA has agreed to make a $150,000 donation and provide limited consulting services to a non-profit entity that assists older television writers – was made jointly by CAA and counsel for the 115 named plaintiffs and the settlement class. The settlement is subject to final approval by the California Superior Court in and for the County of Los Angeles.

A federal court jury on Wednesday awarded a record $168 million to a physician’s assistant who complained of multiple instances of sexual harassment by her supervisors in the cardiovascular surgery department at Sacramento’s Mercy General Hospital. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever awarded to a single plaintiff in an employment case. The plaintiff, Ani Chopourian, complained that she was sexually harassed on multiple occasions during her employment. Among other things, she alleged that one surgeon called her a "stupid chick" in the operating room, said she did surgery "like a girl," disparaged her Armenian heritage by asking if she had joined Al Qaeda, and referred to patients as "pieces of sh*t." Another surgeon allegedly stabbed her with a needle and broke the ribs of an anesthetized heart patient in a fit of rage, and yet another surgeon greeted the plaintiff each morning by saying "I’m horny" and slapping her on the bottom.

Please visit the update to this entry, available here.

On the eve of the implementation of California’s Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011, the California Labor Commissioner has made available to employers a template Notice (Word / pdf) that complies with the requirements of new Labor Code § 2810.5. Beginning January 1, 2012, Section 2810.5 requires employers to furnish specified wage information captured by the Notice to most non-exempt employees. All required information must be provided to employees in the language that the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information.

Earlier this year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 469 (pdf), entitled the “Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011,” which adds Section 2810.5 to the Labor Code and requires employers to furnish to non-exempt employees, at the time of hiring, a notice specifying (among other things) the employee’s rate or rates of pay and the basis on which the employee’s wages