California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: California Supreme Court

California Rejects Federal Rule For Calculating Overtime Rate For Employees Who Earn Flat Sum Bonus

Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of Cal., 2018 WL 1146645 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) Hector Alvarado, who worked as a warehouse associate for Dart, is a member of a putative class of employees who, in addition to their normal hourly wages, received a $15 per day attendance bonus if they were scheduled to work on … Continue Reading

Employee Who Dismissed Claims Upon Receipt Of Settlement Can Recover Costs As Prevailing Party

DeSaulles v. Community Hosp. of the Monterey Peninsula, 62 Cal. 4th 1140 (2016) Maureen deSaulles agreed to dismiss her causes of action for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in exchange for a settlement payment from her former employer in the amount of $23,000. The trial … Continue Reading

PAGA Claims and Arbitration – A Federal Court Parts Ways With Iskanian

The California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, (discussed here), held that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) except as to claims that were made pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). PAGA allows aggrieved employees to represent other current and … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Leaves Unanswered Questions in Independent Contractor Case

On Monday, June 30, 2014, the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, a lawsuit brought on behalf of a group of newspaper delivery carriers who alleged that they had been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.  The trial court had initially denied certification, finding that common issues … Continue Reading

Brinker Round 2: Plaintiffs Secure Class Certification in Trial Court

After the renowned remand from the California Supreme Court, the Hohnbaum plaintiffs in Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (2012) sought to certify meal period claims alleging that all California employees were denied meal periods because Brinker’s corporate meal period policies were unlawful. Plaintiffs argued that Brinker’s corporate policies were unlawful … Continue Reading

California Moves to Reinstate Large Emotional Distress Damage Awards in “Mixed Motive” Cases

As regular readers of this blog know, it has been a busy summer for employment-related legislation in the California Legislature (see here and here). Yet of all the bills currently wending their way through the legislative process, none would affect California employment law more than Senate Bill 655. If enacted, SB 655 would modify the … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Revises Jury Instructions And Trial Procedures In Discrimination Cases

Harris v. Superior Court, 56 Cal. 4th 203 (2013) Wynona Harris alleged her employment was terminated by the City of Santa Monica because of her pregnancy in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The city claimed Harris had been fired for poor job performance – she had two preventable traffic accidents and … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rules On Mixed Motive Defense To Discrimination Claims, But Large Verdicts Persist…

Harris v. City of Santa Monica, No. S181004, 2013 Cal. LEXIS 941 (Feb. 7, 2013) Wynona Harris, a bus driver for the City of Santa Monica (the City), alleged that she was fired because of her pregnancy in violation of the prohibition against sex discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  The City … Continue Reading

Employers Need Only Provide (Not Ensure) Meal And Rest Breaks

Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (2012) In this long-awaited opinion, the California Supreme Court determined several important issues of law regarding meal and rest breaks. First and foremost, the Supreme Court determined that “an employer’s obligation is to relieve its employee of all duty, with the employee thereafter at liberty … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Issues Long Awaited Opinion on Meal and Rest Breaks

This morning, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court. Taking up two crucial issues that have spawned dozens of class action suits across the state, the Court answered the questions: (1) must an employer merely provide a meal break to employees or must it ensure that … Continue Reading

Insurance Claims Adjusters May Be Exempt Administrative Employees

Harris v. Superior Court, 53 Cal.4th 170 (2011) Plaintiffs in this case are claims adjusters employed by two insurance companies. They filed four putative class actions, claiming they had been erroneously classified as exempt administrative employees and seeking damages based upon unpaid overtime. The court of appeal held as a matter of law that plaintiffs … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Sets Oral Arguments in Brinker

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will hear oral arguments in the landmark wage-and-hour case Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court on November 8 in San Francisco. In Brinker, the Court will decide whether employers must merely provide meal and rest breaks to their employees or actually ensure that breaks are taken, as well … Continue Reading

Employee of Independent Contractor Cannot Sue Company That Hired Contractor for Negligence

SeaBright Ins. Co. v. US Airways, Inc., 52 Cal. 4th 590 (2011) US Airways uses a conveyor to move luggage at San Francisco International Airport. US Airways hired independent contractor Lloyd W. Aubry Co. to maintain and repair the conveyor and did not direct Aubry’s employees in their work. The conveyor lacked certain safety guards … Continue Reading

$22.5 Million Verdict Reversed Where Employer Admitted Its Vicarious Liability For Employee’s Negligence

Diaz v. Carcamo, 51 Cal. 4th 1148 (2011) Jose Carcamo, a truck driver for defendant Sugar Transport, caused Dawn Renae Diaz to suffer severe permanent injuries as a result of a traffic accident on Highway 101. Diaz sued Carcamo and Sugar Transport, alleging that Sugar Transport was both vicariously liable for Carcamo’s negligent driving and … Continue Reading

California Overtime Rules Apply To Out-of-State Residents Who Work In The State

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 51 Cal. 4th 1191 (2011) In this case, the California Supreme Court answered three questions certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as follows: (1) California’s overtime law applies to work performed in California for a California employer by nonresident workers; (2) the Unfair … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Extends California’s Overtime Laws To Non-Resident Employees

In Sullivan v. Oracle, No. S170577 (Cal. June 30, 2011), the California Supreme Court today resolved three important questions posed by the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit regarding California law: (1) Does the California Labor Code apply to overtime work performed in California for a California-based employer by out-of-state plaintiffs, such that … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Clarifies Liability on Waiting Time Penalties

On November 18, the California Supreme Court in Pineda v. Bank of America, No. S170758 (Cal. Nov. 18, 2010) (pdf) clarified two issues regarding so-called “waiting time penalties” (i.e., penalties under California Labor Code Section 203 associated with the late payment of final wages upon termination of employment). First, the Court ruled that a three-year statute … Continue Reading
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