California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Employment Law Notes

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Change In Retirees’ Health Benefits Did Not Constitute Age Discrimination, But May Be A Breach Of Contract

Harris v. County of Orange, 2018 WL 4211161 (9th Cir. 2018) This case arises from a restructuring of two benefit plans that the County of Orange provides to its retirees.  The retirees allege they have an implied contractual right to receive the benefits provided to them throughout their retirement.  Although the district court dismissed the … Continue Reading

Class Action Dismissed For Failure To Bring Lawsuit To Trial Within Five Years

Martinez v. Landry’s Rest., Inc., 2018 WL 4091279 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) The trial court dismissed this putative class action due to plaintiffs’ failure to bring it to trial within five years as required by the Code of Civil Procedure.  The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion … Continue Reading

Employer’s Future Attorneys’ Fees Should Be Considered In Connection With CAFA Amount-In-Controversy Requirement

Fritsch v. Swift Transp. Co. of Ariz., LLC, 899 F.3d 785 (9th Cir. 2018) At issue in this case is whether the district court erred in remanding an action to state court that had been removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) on the ground that the defendant failed to prove … Continue Reading

Employer Of Piece-Rate Employees May Assert Safe-Harbor Defense

Jackpot Harvesting Co. v. Superior Court, 26 Cal. App. 5th 125 (2018) Labor Code Section 226.2, which became effective Jan. 1, 2016, addresses the manner in which piece-rate employees are to be compensated for rest and recovery periods and other non-productive time on the job (“rest/NP time”).  The Court of Appeal held that an employer … Continue Reading

Do California’s New Restrictions on Independent Contractors Apply Retroactively?

On May 1, we reported on the California Supreme Court’s opinion in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, in which the Supreme Court set forth the standard for determining if a worker may properly be classified as an employee or independent contractor. See  Cal. Employment Law Blog (May 1, 2018). An issue that the Court … Continue Reading

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

Employer Improperly Adopted Alternative Workweek Schedule But Wage Statement Penalties Are Reversed

Maldonado v. Epsilon Plastics, Inc., 22 Cal. App. 5th 1308 (2018) Olvin Maldonado filed this class action against his employer based upon an improperly adopted Alternative Workweek Schedule (“AWS”). The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the trial court, finding that Epsilon failed to prove that there had been a preadoption vote of the … Continue Reading

Employer Need Not Provide Wage Statement Concurrently With Payment of Employee’s Final Wages

Canales v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 23 Cal. App. 5th 1262 (2018) Fabio Canales and Andy Cortes sued Wells Fargo under PAGA for an alleged violation of Cal. Lab. Code § 226 for failure to provide an itemized wage statement concurrently with a terminated employee’s final wages paid in-store. The trial court granted summary judgment … 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

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

PAGA Wage Statement Claim Does Not Require Proof of Injury

Raines v. Coastal Pac. Food Distrib., Inc., 23 Cal. App. 5th 667 (2018) Terri Raines sued Coastal Pacific individually and under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) for failure to furnish her and other employees accurate itemized wage statements showing the applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of … 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

Ninth Circuit Affirms ADA Judgment In Favor Of Employer

Snapp v. BNSF Ry., 889 F.3d 1088 (9th Cir. 2018) Danny Snapp sued his former employer, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. (“BNSF”), for failure to accommodate his alleged disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Snapp worked as a division trainmaster, but due to “tiredness and low energy,” he went … 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

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
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