California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: California Labor & Employment Law

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January 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Manicurist Can Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim “Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute … Continue Reading

Flight Attendants Are Entitled To Labor Code Compliant Wage Statements

Gunther v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 72 Cal. App. 5th 334 (2021) Julie Gunther is an Alaska Airlines flight attendant who lives in San Diego. In this PAGA claim, Gunther alleged that her wage statements are not compliant with Cal. Labor Code § 226 because they fail to state the total hours worked; the number of … Continue Reading

Nurse’s Discrimination Claims Against Hospital Were Properly Dismissed

Wilkin v. Community Hosp. of the Monterey Peninsula, 71 Cal. App. 5th 806 (2021) Kimberly Wilkin worked as a registered nurse for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula before the hospital terminated her employment following its discovery she had violated the hospital’s policies governing the handling and documentation of patient medications. After her termination, … Continue Reading

“Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute

Woods v. American Film Institute, 2021 WL 5978072 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Laurie Woods worked for four days as a volunteer at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles. She alleges that she worked between 12 and 14 hours each of those days and that she and the other volunteers she purported to represent in … Continue Reading

Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Survives its First Challenge

  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

California Voters May Deal a Fatal Blow to PAGA

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

Volunteers May Work For Nonprofits Without Compensation

The California Court of Appeal has definitively resolved an issue that was until now somewhat ambiguous:  Can volunteers in fact volunteer their time for nonprofit organizations without receiving pay or other forms of compensation?  The answer is YES.  Woods v. American Film Institute, Case No. B307220 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 17, 2021). Laurie Woods worked … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Hands $155 Million Holiday Gift to Fired Insurance Executive

As we recently reported, California juries continue to award massive verdicts to employees with alarming regularity.  And, just in time for the holidays, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury upped the ante on Thursday, handing a fired insurance company executive a verdict totaling $155.4 million – including $150 million in punitive damages. Plaintiff Andrew Rudnicki worked … Continue Reading

California Reclaims Top Spot in Annual “Judicial Hellhole” Awards!

After temporarily falling to third place in 2020, California once again claims the top spot on the American Tort Reform Foundation’s (ATRF) annual list of “Judicial Hellholes.” While California has not taken home the gold in two years, this year’s award does not come as much of a surprise after the state was deemed an … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit Reminds Employers to Check Their Grooming Policies

A suit filed last week in San Diego Superior Court serves as a reminder to employers about the importance of keeping up-to-date on California’s evolving Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). In the new suit, an employee, Jeffrey Thornton, claims that he was discriminated against on the basis of his race when his former employer, … Continue Reading

November 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Ninth Circuit Resurrects California’s Anti-Arbitration Statute In-House Counsel’s Claim For Breach Of Oral Promise Of Contingency Fee Was Barred By Statute Employee Can Proceed With … Continue Reading

Court Has Power To Strike PAGA Claims That Will Be Unmanageable At Trial

Wesson v. Staples the Office Superstore, LLC, 68 Cal. App. 5th 746 (2021) Fred Wesson sued Staples under PAGA, seeking $36 million in civil penalties for Labor Code violations related to an alleged misclassification of its store general managers.  At trial, Staples moved to strike Wesson’s PAGA claim, arguing that the number of employees and the … Continue Reading

Employers Beware: California Jury Verdicts Continue to Skyrocket!

Very few companies doing business in California missed the news recently that a San Francisco jury ordered Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, to pay $137 million to a Black former elevator operator who had worked at the company for less than a year before he quit his job due to alleged racial harassment in the … Continue Reading

Governor Newsom Signs A Slew of New Employment Laws for 2022

As the 2021 legislative season came to a close, Governor Gavin Newsom signed numerous bills into law. From arbitration to workplace safety, these laws will impact employers across the state.  We have summarized the most important ones for you here: Arbitration Arbitration fees will now need to be paid upon receipt of invoice unless the … Continue Reading

Los Angeles City Council Approves Sweeping Vaccine Ordinance for Indoor Establishments

Following New York City and San Francisco, Los Angeles is the latest city to require proof of vaccination for individuals entering indoor portions of establishments.  This ordinance, which the Los Angeles City Council approved in an 11-to-2 vote, takes effect November 4, 2021.  However, beginning October 21, 2021, the ordinance requires businesses and City facilities … Continue Reading

San Francisco Jury Hits Tesla with $137 Million Race Harassment Verdict

On Monday afternoon, a San Francisco federal court jury awarded $137 million to a Black former elevator operator who worked at Tesla’s Fremont facility for approximately one year before quitting his employment in 2016. After just four hours of deliberation, the jury awarded Owen Diaz $6.9 million in emotional distress damages and $130 million in punitive … Continue Reading

New California Law Imposes Strict Limits on Warehouse Distribution Centers (This Means You, Amazon!)

A new California law, effective January 1, 2022, closely regulates productivity quotas for warehouse distribution centers.  AB 701 applies to employers of 100 or more employees at a single warehouse distribution center or 1,000 or more employees at one or more warehouse distribution centers in the state and purports to address warehouse safety concerns by … Continue Reading

September 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Ninth Circuit Rejects “Paramour Preference” Liability Arising From Supervisor’s Affair With Another Employee $3.5 Million Emotional Distress Award Was “Shockingly Disproportionate” To Evidence Of Harm … Continue Reading

Family Member In-Home Supportive Services Worker Is Ineligible For Unemployment Benefits

Skidgel v. CUIAB, 2021 WL 3671434 (Cal. S. Ct. 2021) Tamara Skidgel was an in-home supportive services (IHSS) provider who was being paid under the state’s IHSS program to care for her own daughter.  In this lawsuit, Skidgel alleged that she had been an IHSS provider for her daughter since May 2013 and expected to … Continue Reading

Dutch Executive “Publicly Presented” Himself As An Executive Of California Company

Swenberg v. Dmarcian, Inc., 2021 WL 3856599 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Charles Swenberg sued Martijn Groeneweg (among others), alleging various claims related to his ownership interest in and employment with dmarcian, Inc. Groeneweg (a Dutch citizen) filed a motion to quash service for lack of personal jurisdiction over him in the State of California. The … Continue Reading

California Jury Awards Employees $7.6 Million in Latest Gargantuan Wrongful Termination Verdict

A Los Angeles jury has ordered an apartment building owner and property management company to pay $7.6 million to two former live-in apartment managers who claimed to have been wrongfully terminated and discriminated against based upon a medical condition and disability (thyroid cancer). Albert Garcia and his wife Stephanie Garcia sued Gresham Apartments Investors, owners … Continue Reading

New Restriction on Background Checks in California

The California Court of Appeal has ruled that date of birth and/or a driver’s license number cannot be used to identify individuals in an electronic search of the criminal index of court records.  All of Us or None v. Hamrick.  This ruling complicates and further restricts how and even whether (from a practical standpoint) employers … Continue Reading

July 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Board of Directors Quota Law May Be Unconstitutional 2:1 Ratio of Punitive to Compensatory Damages Was Appropriate High School Football Coach’s Title VII Claim Was … Continue Reading
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