California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: California Labor & Employment Law

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New California Statute Shields Victims/Employers from Defamation Claims

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 2770 (Assembly Member Irwin; D-Thousand Oaks), an act to amend Section 47 of the Civil Code.  The bill should protect both sexual harassment victims and employers against defamation claims from alleged harassers. The bill was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and passed the Legislature with unanimous, bipartisan … Continue Reading

July 2018 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2018 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Supreme Court Bars Mandatory Union Dues For Public Employees Supreme Court Upholds Employee Class Action Waivers Court Reverses Defense Verdict In Sexual Harassment Case Employer May Be … Continue Reading

Former High School Teacher’s Race/Sex Discrimination Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Campbell v. State of Hawaii Dep’t of Educ., 892 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. 2018) Patricia Campbell was employed by the Hawaii Department of Education (“DOE”) for nine years until she resigned because she was allegedly harassed and degraded by students on the basis of her race (white) and her sex. She alleges that students called … Continue Reading

Employer Not Vicariously Liable For Injuries Caused By Employee During His Commute

Newland v. County of Los Angeles, 234 Cal. Rptr. 3d 374 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Donald Prigo worked as a Deputy Public Defender for the County. One day on his way home from work, Prigo hit a car driven by Kevin Vargas who was forced off the road and injured a pedestrian (plaintiff, Jake Newland). … Continue Reading

Negligent Hiring Claim May Be Covered By CGL Insurance Policy

Liberty Surplus Ins. Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Constr. Co., 233 Cal. Rptr. 3d 487 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company (“L&M”) contracted with the San Bernardino Unified School District to manage a construction project at a middle school where a 13-year-old student (“Jane Doe”) was allegedly sexually abused by Darold Hecht, … Continue Reading

Release Executed In Workers’ Compensation Case Did Not Bar Subsequent Civil Action

Camacho v. Target Corp., 234 Cal. Rptr. 3d 223 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Adrian Camacho, a former Target cashier, sued for alleged sexual orientation discrimination, harassment causing a hostile work environment, retaliation, constructive termination in violation of public policy and related claims. Prior to resigning his employment with Target, Camacho settled a workers’ compensation (“WC”) … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Lawsuit Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Taswell v. The Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 23 Cal. App. 5th 343 (2018) Carl Taswell, M.D., alleged he was retaliated against for his whistleblowing activities regarding patient safety at the brain imaging center during his employment with the University of California, Irvine. Prior to commencing his civil action, Taswell filed an internal complaint … Continue Reading

Former Librarian’s Discrimination Claims Were Barred On Various Legal Grounds

Wassmann v. South Orange County Cmty. Coll. Dist., 2018 WL 3063946 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Carol Wassmann challenged her dismissal from employment as a tenured librarian at Irvine Valley College in a five-day administrative proceeding brought pursuant to the Education Code. The administrative law judge determined there was cause to terminate Wassmann’s employment, and the … Continue Reading

Employer May Be Liable For “Thwarting” Pregnant Extern From Applying For Job

Abed v. Western Dental Servs., Inc., 23 Cal. App. 5th 859 (2018) Western Dental posted a job opening for a dental assistant in its Napa, California office while Ada Abed was working there as a student extern. Although Abed originally had been assured that the externship was a four- to six-week “working interview” and that … Continue Reading

Court Reverses Defense Verdict In Sexual Harassment Case

Meeks v. AutoZone, Inc., 2018 WL 3062555 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Natasha Meeks worked as a store manager for AutoZone and claimed that she had been sexually harassed by Juan Fajardo, another store manager. Among other things, Meeks testified that Fajardo would comment on her body and clothes; ask her to go out with him; … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds Employee Class Action Waivers

Epic Sys. Corp. v. Lewis, 584 U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 1612 (2018) The United States Supreme Court ruled that employers may require their employees to arbitrate disputes with the employer individually and waive their right to pursue or participate in a class or collective action against the employer. In a 5-4 ruling in favor … Continue Reading

Another Day, Another $31 Million Employee Verdict From a Los Angeles Jury

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles jury did what L.A. juries do so often these days — they awarded tens of millions of dollars to an ex-employee who claimed she had been the victim of discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation.  Codie Rael, who worked as a materials buyer for a dental supply company, claimed that she … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Bars Mandatory Union Dues For Public Employees

In a highly anticipated decision, the United States Supreme Court today held that it is a violation of the First Amendment to require public sector employees who are not members of a union to pay any union dues, even when a portion of those dues is attributable to the costs of collective bargaining on behalf … Continue Reading

Multiple Minimum Wage Increases and Salary-Related Ordinances Scheduled to Take Effect on July 1, 2018

In the immortal words of Mao Zedong:  “Let a hundred flowers blossom!” Multiple cities and hamlets throughout California have enacted slightly differing and, of course, maddeningly confusing non-uniform minimum wage laws.  Not surprisingly, no one in Sacramento seems at all concerned about the administrative burden to California employers in having to monitor and comply with so … Continue Reading

San Francisco Ordinance Requires Cannabis Business Permit Applicants to Enter into “Labor Peace Agreements”

Earlier this month, San Francisco’s Public Safety & Neighborhood Services Committee unanimously approved an ordinance that requires certain cannabis business permit applicants to agree to enter into a collective bargaining agreement (a “Labor Peace Agreement”) with a “Bona Fide Labor Organization” as a condition of receiving a cannabis business permit. The measure applies to business … Continue Reading

California Would Recognize “International Workers’ Day” as a New Holiday

California Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) has introduced legislation (Assembly Bill 3042) that would recognize “International Workers’ Day” as a public holiday for students and school employees in the state.  The bill would authorize school districts and charter schools to designate May 1 as “International Workers’ Day” with schools to be closed – and … Continue Reading

California Enacts New Protections Against National Origin Discrimination

The California Office of Administrative Law recently approved new amendments to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), strengthening the protections afforded to applicants and employees, including individuals who are undocumented, on the basis of their national origin.  Although the FEHA already prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of national origin, these new … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Employers in Upholding Arbitration Agreements Containing Class Action Waivers

On May 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that employers can require employees to arbitrate disputes with the employer individually and waive their right to pursue or participate in class or collective actions against their employer. Ruling 5-4 in favor of an employer’s right to … Continue Reading

Two Recent Jury Verdicts Award $6 Million and $7.97 Million To Wrongfully Terminated Employees

Two recent verdicts from California Superior Court juries have awarded former employees $6 million and $7.9 million, respectively, in compensatory damages after a finding of wrongful termination. Martinez v. Rite Aid Corp. On March 27, 2018, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury found Rite Aid Corporation liable for just over $6 million after deciding … Continue Reading

Lower Court Should Have Certified Registered Nurses’ Class Action

Sali v. Corona Reg’l Med. Ctr., 2018 WL 2049680 (9th Cir. 2018) Marilyn Sali and Deborah Spriggs sued Corona Regional Medical Center on behalf of seven putative classes of registered nurses who were allegedly underpaid their wages; not paid for all overtime hours worked; and not provided accurate wage statements, among other things. The district … Continue Reading

Employer’s Action Against Opposing Attorney Was Properly Dismissed On Anti-SLAPP Grounds

MMM Holdings, Inc. v. Reich, 21 Cal. App. 5th 167 (2018) MMM sued Marc Reich, an attorney who had represented a former employee of MMM/MSO of Puerto Rico (Jose Valdez) in a whistleblower qui tam action against the company, for conversion, civil theft, etc., after Reich refused to turn over 26,000 electronically stored documents that … Continue Reading

Employee Was Permitted To Voluntarily Dismiss Breach Of Contract Action

Shapira v. Lifetech Resources, LLC, 2018 WL 1804993 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Achikam Shapira sued his former employer for breach of an employment contract. The case proceeded to a bench trial. After the parties rested but before submitting their closing arguments in brief form, Shapira requested that the trial court dismiss his action pursuant to … Continue Reading

Title VII Claim Must Be Filed Within 90 Days Of Receipt Of Right-To-Sue Letter

Scott v. Gino Morena Enterprises, LLC, 2018 WL 1977123 (9th Cir. 2018) Taylor Scott sued GME in state court for sexual harassment and retaliation. Because Scott worked at a barbershop located on the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, her state court action was removed to federal court under the federal enclave doctrine. After … Continue Reading

Staffing Company Was Not Liable For Failure To Provide Meal Periods

Serrano v. Aerotek, Inc., 21 Cal. App. 5th 773 (2018) Norma Serrano brought this putative class action against her employer (Aerotek), which placed her as a temporary employee with its client (Bay Bread). Serrano alleged violations of the Labor Code and of the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) based upon, among other things, Aerotek’s alleged … Continue Reading
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