California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: California Labor & Employment Law

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California Voters to Decide Future of PAGA in November 2024

The California Secretary of State announced on July 22, 2022 that a measure to replace the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) qualified as an eligible statewide ballot measure for the November 2024 General Election ballot.  PAGA allows “aggrieved” employees to file a representative action on behalf of themselves and other … Continue Reading

Mayor Garcetti Signs “Healthcare Workers Minimum Wage Ordinance” Increasing Minimum Wage to $25

On July 7, 2022, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the “Healthcare Workers Minimum Wage Ordinance” (“Ordinance”) which, effective August 13, 2022, increases the minimum wage to $25 per hour for healthcare workers employed at privately-owned healthcare facilities within the City of Los Angeles.  Beginning January 1, 2024, the minimum wage will increase annually based on the … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court to Determine Scope of Employer Liability for At-Home Spread of COVID-19

Last week, the California Supreme Court agreed to decide two unique questions with far-reaching implications for employer liability: (1) may an employer be held liable to an employee’s spouse when an employee contracts COVID-19 in the workplace and then infects their spouse at home, and (2) does an employer have a duty of care to … Continue Reading

The U.S. Supreme Court Says PAGA Representative Action Waivers Are Enforceable After All

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

Despite Employee-Friendly Test, California Court of Appeal Finds in Favor of Employer in Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

As we reported here, earlier this year, the California Supreme Court confirmed a relaxed standard by which employees can prove whistleblower retaliation under Labor Code section 1102.5 in Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., 12 Cal. 5th 703 (2022).  Despite the newly affirmed and extremely high burden for employers to prevail against Section 1102.5 claims … Continue Reading

L.A. Jury Delivers Mother of All Verdicts – $464 Million to Two Employees!

As we have previously reported, jury verdicts in employment cases have continued to skyrocket in recent months, and there is no sign they are leveling off. Late last week, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded a total of over $464 million ($440 million of which was in punitive damages) in a two-plaintiff retaliation case. … Continue Reading

Several State “Job Killer” Bills Move One Step Closer to Passage

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

Employee with Mild Symptoms of COVID-19 Was Not “Disabled” Under California Law

In Michelle Roman v. Hertz Local Edition Corp., a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of Hertz, and against former employee Michelle Roman, whose employment was terminated after she contracted COVID.  Roman claimed that her job should have been protected by the California Fair Employment … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rules Meal and Rest Break Premiums Constitute “Wages” Potentially Triggering Penalties for Violations

In a much anticipated ruling, on May 23, 2022, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Naranjo et al. v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc.  Previously, the Court of Appeal held that unpaid premium payments for meal period violations did not entitle employees to additional penalties for either inaccurate wage statements or failure to timely … Continue Reading

Nothing Escapes Inflation, Including California’s Minimum Wage

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

Judge Reduces $137 Million Race Harassment Verdict Against Tesla to $15 Million

A federal court judge pared down last year’s jaw-dropping $137 million damages award against Tesla in a racial bias lawsuit.  As covered previously here, a San Francisco federal court jury awarded $6.9 million in emotional distress damages and $130 million in punitive damages to a Black former elevator operator who worked at Tesla’s Fremont facility … Continue Reading

Spring Showers Bring Job Killer Bills to California

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

Gone Surfing: Could California Be the First State to Adopt a Four-Day Workweek?

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

Court Declares California Law Requiring Diverse Corporate Boards Unconstitutional

As discussed in our previous blog, on April 1, 2022, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Terry Green, granted summary judgment in favor of individuals represented by D.C.-based nonprofit Judicial Watch, declaring Assembly Bill 979 (“AB 979”) to be unconstitutional and granting an “injunction preventing the expenditure of taxpayer funds on the implementation of the measure.” … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Advance of Major Ruling on the Arbitrability of PAGA Claims

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

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

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 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

New Bill Seeks to Impose Statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for All Employees and Contractors

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

At-Will Employees May Sue Their Employer For Misrepresentation Of Intended Job Duties

A recent California Court of Appeal decision confirms that a California employer may be liable to an at-will employee who relocates to accept a new employment position, when the employer’s description of the kind or character of the job was misleading.  In the case Kenneth Allen White v. Smule, Inc., the Court of Appeal reversed … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Publishes Opinion Upholding Customer Non-Solicitation Covenant

Despite California’s general hostility towards post-termination restrictive covenants, the California Court of Appeal, in a recently published opinion, Blue Mountain Enters., LLC v. Owen, 74 Cal.App.5th 537 (1st Dist. Jan. 10, 2022), affirmed that a post-termination customer non-solicitation agreement was enforceable under California Business & Professions Code § 16601. Under most circumstances, contractual provisions that … 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
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