California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Class Actions

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Successive Class Action Was Not Barred By Statute Of Limitations

Fierro v. Landry’s Rest. Inc., 23 Cal. App. 5th 325 (2018) Jorge Fierro filed this class action, claiming that he and the other members of the putative class were misclassified as exempt employees and that, in fact, they were non-exempt, non-managerial employees who are owed unpaid overtime wages and penalties. Landry’s responded by filing a … 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

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

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

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

Delivery Drivers Were Improperly Classified As Independent Contractors

Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 2018 WL 1999120 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) Two delivery drivers for Dynamex filed this putative class action on behalf of similarly situated drivers, alleging that they were misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees for purposes of Industrial Wage Commission Order No. 9 (governing the transportation industry). At … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Waive Its Right To Remove Action to Federal Court By Filing Demurrer

Kenny v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 881 F.3d 786 (9th Cir. 2018) Kris Kenny filed a putative class action in California state court, challenging Wal-Mart’s policy requiring employees who have suffered workplace-related injuries to submit to drug and/or urine testing. Wal-Mart filed a demurrer in response to the complaint, but before the hearing date on the … Continue Reading

Payments Made To Union Trust Fund Are Not Subject To California Wage Statement Law

Mora v. Webcor Constr., L.P., 20 Cal. App. 5th 211 (2018) Steven Mora filed this putative class action/PAGA claim against his former employer, Webcor Construction, for violation of the California wage statement statute (Cal. Lab. Code § 226(a)) based upon payments made to a union vacation trust fund authorized by the Labor Management Relations Act … Continue Reading

Class Certification Was Properly Denied In Outside Sales Exemption Case

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 19 Cal. App. 5th 630 (2018) Samuel Duran and Matt Fitzsimmons filed this wage-and-hour class action challenging the Bank’s classification of its business banking officers as exempt employees under the outside salesperson exemption. The trial court denied class certification after concluding plaintiffs had failed to carry their burden of … Continue Reading

Certification Of Claims Examiners’ Putative Class Action Was Properly Denied

Kizer v. Tristar Risk Mgmt., 13 Cal. App. 5th 830 (2017) Plaintiffs Valerie Kizer and Sharal Williams filed this putative class action, alleging their former employer had misclassified them and other similarly situated claims examiners as exempt from overtime. The trial court denied the class certification motion on the ground that plaintiffs had failed to … Continue Reading

PAGA Employee Can Obtain Contact Information For All Employees Statewide

Williams v. Superior Court, 3 Cal. 5th 531 (2017) Michael Williams was an employee of Marshalls of CA in Costa Mesa, California. After slightly more than a year of employment, Williams brought a representative action against Marshalls under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), alleging Marshalls had failed to provide its … Continue Reading

It’s Time to Think About Arbitration Agreements Again Following Recent $15 Million+ Employee Verdicts

Jury panels in the Los Angeles Superior Court (which is often referred to as “The Bank” by the plaintiffs’ bar) have recently delivered multimillion-dollar verdicts to former-employee plaintiffs.  Many employers doing business in California already have insulated themselves from such disasters by adopting comprehensive arbitration regimes, which would require that such cases be heard by a retired … Continue Reading

Trial Court Erred By Failing To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Rest Periods

Bartoni v. American Med. Response W., 11 Cal. App. 5th 1084 (2017) Current and former employees of an ambulance service company sued their employer for unpaid meal and rest periods. The complaint alleges claims on behalf of a putative class as well as non-class claims under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”). The … Continue Reading

Health Care Employees Can Waive Their Second Meal Period

Gerard v. Orange Coast Mem. Med. Ctr., 9 Cal. App. 5th 1204 (2017) In this putative class/Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) action, Jazmina Gerard (and others) challenged a hospital policy that allowed health care employees who worked shifts longer than 10 hours to voluntarily waive one of their two meal periods, even if their shifts … Continue Reading

Safeway/Vons Assistant Managers Were Properly Classified As Exempt From Overtime

Batze v. Safeway, Inc., 10 Cal. App. 5th 440 (2017) Gary Batze, et al., brought this lawsuit against their employer Safeway/Vons for failure to pay overtime wages. The employees alleged that they worked non-managerial tasks that rendered them non-exempt employees. After weeks of trial testimony, the trial court determined that the employees were engaged for … Continue Reading

Lawyers In Putative Class Action Were Properly Disqualified Based Upon Representation Of Another Class

Walker v. Apple, Inc., 4 Cal. App. 5th 1098 (2016) The trial court disqualified the attorneys for a putative class led by Stacey and Tyler Walker based upon the lawyers’ concurrent representation of a certified class in another wage and hour class action (the Felczer class) pending against the same employer (Apple). In its disqualification … Continue Reading

On-Duty Meal Periods Were Permissible For Concrete Mixer Drivers

Driscoll v. Graniterock Co., 2016 WL 6994923 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Brian Driscoll, et al., filed a putative class action against their employer, Graniterock, on behalf of 200 current and former concrete mixer drivers for its alleged failure to provide employees with off-duty meal periods and an additional hour of pay for meal periods during … Continue Reading

Security Guard Class Action Should Not Have Been Decertified

Lubin v. The Wackenhut Corp., 5 Cal. App. 5th 926 (2016) Nivida Lubin, et al., filed this class action lawsuit against their employer for its alleged failure to provide Lubin and similarly situated employees (private security guards) with off-duty meal and rest breaks and for providing inadequate wage statements. The trial court initially certified a … Continue Reading

$90 Million Judgment Reinstated: Employers Must Relieve Employees Of All Duties During Their Rest Periods

Augustus v. ABM Sec. Servs., Inc., 2016 WL 7407328 (Cal. S. Ct. 2016) Jennifer Augustus filed this putative class action on behalf of all ABM security guards, alleging that ABM consistently failed to provide uninterrupted rest periods as required by state law. During discovery, ABM acknowledged that it required guards to keep their radios and … Continue Reading

Del Mar Fairgrounds/Horsepark Employees Are Exempt From Overtime Under The Amusement Exemption

Morales v. 22nd Dist. Agricultural Ass’n, 1 Cal. App. 5th 504 (2016) Jose Luis Morales and 177 other similarly situated plaintiffs sued their employer under Cal. Labor Code § 510 and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for failure to pay them overtime. Plaintiffs’ employer is a California agency that owns and manages the … Continue Reading

$6.3 Million Attorney’s Fees Award (1/3 Of Total Recovery) Was Reasonable In Class Action Settlement

Laffitte v. Robert Half Int’l Inc., 1 Cal. 5th 480 (2016) An objecting class member in a wage and hour lawsuit challenged the trial court’s award of an attorney’s fee calculated as a percentage (one-third) of the overall settlement amount of $19 million. The objector asserted that pursuant to Serrano v. Priest, 20 Cal. 3d … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Employer’s Class Action Waiver

Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP, 2016 WL 4433080 (9th Cir. 2016) As a condition of employment, Stephen Morris and Kelly McDaniel were required to sign agreements not to join with other employees in bringing legal claims via arbitration against their employer. Morris and McDaniel filed a class and collective action against the company, alleging … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Affirms $2.9 Million Class Action Judgment Based On Expert’s Study Of Time Spent On Donning And Doffing Activities

Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, 577 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1036 (2016) Following a jury trial, the employees in this class/collective action recovered $2.9 million in compensatory damages for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The employees alleged that they did not receive statutorily mandated overtime pay for the time they spent … Continue Reading
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