California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Wage and Hour

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Labor Commissioner’s Anti-Retaliation Jurisdiction Expanded

This law expands the Labor Commissioner’s power to commence an investigation of an employer – with or without a retaliation complaint being filed – when retaliation by the employer against an employee is suspected during the course of adjudicating a wage claim, a field inspection or in instances of suspected immigration-related threats in violation of the Labor … Continue Reading

Taxicab Driver May Have Been An Employee Rather Than An Independent Contractor

Linton v. DeSoto Cab Co., 15 Cal. App. 5th 1208 (2017) DeSoto Cab Co. had required Darnice Linton to pay a “gate fee” in exchange for his obtaining a taxicab to drive for each of his shifts. Linton alleged that he is an employee (not an independent contractor) and that by charging him “gate fees,” … Continue Reading

DOL’s Interpretation Of Tip Credit Regulation Does Not Merit Judicial Deference

Marsh v. J. Alexander’s LLC, 869 F.3d 1108 (9th Cir. 2017) Alec Marsh, who worked as a server for J. Alexander’s, alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) based upon the employer’s failure to pay him the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Marsh further alleged that he received more than $30 … 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

Foreign National Who Worked For Travel Tour Company Was An Employee, Not An Intern Or Exempt Manager

Kao v. Joy Holiday, 2017 WL 2590653 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Ming-Hsiang Kao was employed by Joy Holiday (a travel tour company) initially performing IT-related duties and then eventually as its office manager. While he was still in Taiwan, Kao worked with Jessy Lin (one of the owners of Joy Holiday) as a tour organizer. … Continue Reading

Piece-Work-Based Pay Plan Violates FLSA

Brunozzi v. Cable Commc’ns, Inc., 851 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2017) Matteo Brunozzi and Casey McCormick worked as technicians for CCI installing cable television and internet services. They alleged that CCI’s compensation plan violates the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) because the “production bonus” paid by CCI is designed to decrease … Continue Reading

Court Properly Dismissed PAGA And Class Action Claims

Silva v. See’s Candy Shops, Inc., 7 Cal. App. 5th 235 (2017) The Court of Appeal held that the trial court properly granted summary judgment to See’s Candy as to the class-certified claims for failure to properly pay wages as a result of the employer’s rounding and grace-period policies, based on expert testimony that employees … Continue Reading

San Jose Passes “Opportunity to Work” Ordinance

San Jose is the third northern California city to enact a scheduling ordinance that further regulates employers’ scheduling and hiring practices.  Following on San Francisco and Emeryville’s lead, San Jose recently passed “The Opportunity to Work Ordinance” (Ordinance No. 2016.1, codified at Chapter 4.101 of the San Jose Municipal Code), which went into effect on February 6, 2017. … 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

California Statute Targeting Three Specific Employers Opposed By A Union May Violate Equal Protection

Fowler Packing Co. v. Lanier, 2016 WL 7321371 (9th Cir. 2016) In 2015, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1513 in response to two state appellate court decisions that exposed employers to significant and unexpected minimum wage liability for piece-rate workers. The statute created a “safe harbor” that gave employers an affirmative defense against the … 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

California employers must relieve their employees of all duties during breaks

$90 Million Judgment Reinstated:  Employers Must Relieve Employees Of All Duties During Their Break Time Today, the California Supreme Court ruled that California law strictly prohibits on-duty rest periods.  “What [the law] require[s] instead is that employers relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time, and relieve their employees of all duties – … Continue Reading

California Broadens Its “Fair Pay Act” to Prohibit Race And Ethnicity Discrimination

Around this time last year, Section 1197.5 of the California Labor Code was amended by S.B. 358 in order to “eliminate the gender wage gap in California.” Among other things, the amendment sought to increase wage transparency and made it more difficult for employers to defend against gender-based equal pay claims. On September 30, 2016, … Continue Reading

Call Center Employees’ Unpaid Wage Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Corbin v. Time Warner Entm’t-Advance/Newhouse P’ship, 821 F.3d 1069 (9th Cir. 2016) Call center employees of Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse Partnership (“TWEAN”) alleged that their employer’s compensation policy of rounding all employee time stamps to the nearest quarter hour deprived them of earned overtime. The lead plaintiff also claimed he was not compensated for one minute … 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

Agricultural Workers’ Putative Class Action Was Properly Denied Certification

Cruz v. Sun World Int’l, LLC, 2015 WL 9463140 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015) Plaintiffs in this putative class action alleged off-the-clock work had been performed by employees, that meal and rest breaks were shortened, that the additional hour of pay for each meal or rest period they were denied was not paid, and that their … Continue Reading

Firefighters Are Not Entitled To Overtime For Time Spent Taking Gear To Temporary Duty Stations

Balestrieri v. Menlo Park Fire Prot. Dist., 800 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2015) Firefighters and emergency medical personnel sued the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, claiming that two of the district’s policies violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In their first claim, the employees claimed they were entitled to overtime for taking their gear … Continue Reading

Trial Court Improperly Failed To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Overtime

Alberts v. Aurora Behavioral Health Care, 2015 WL 6121981 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015) Valerie Alberts and others, formerly employed as members of the nursing staff at two acute care psychiatric hospitals owned and operated by Aurora, claimed that Aurora’s uniform practices and de facto policies routinely denied nursing staff employees their meal and rest periods … Continue Reading

Gender-Based “Fair Pay Act” Enacted

This law amends Labor Code § 1197.5 (SB 358): Broader Prohibition of Gender Wage Differentials Enacted Currently, Section 1197.5 prohibits an employer from paying an employee at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work. The amendment revises this prohibition, instead prohibiting an … Continue Reading

Piece-Rate Compensation Requirements Changed

This law requires employers to pay piece-rate employees for rest and recovery periods and “other nonproductive time” at or above specified minimum hourly rates, separately from any piece-rate compensation. It also defines “other nonproductive time” as time under the employer’s control, exclusive of rest and recovery periods, that is not directly related to the activity … Continue Reading
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