California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: class action

September 2018 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2018 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employer Must Obtain Written Authorization To Conduct Background Check Some Of California’s “Sanctuary State” Employer Obligations Are Struck Down No-Employment Provision In Settlement Agreement Is An Unenforceable Restraint  Court … Continue Reading

Taco Bell Did Not Deny Meal Breaks By Providing Employee Discounts For Meals Eaten On Premises

Rodriguez v. Taco Bell Corp., 896 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 2018) In this putative class action, employees challenged a special offer that Taco Bell provided to its employees:  They could receive discounted meals and complimentary soft drinks so long as they ate the discounted meals on the premises of the restaurant.  On behalf of 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

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

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

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

Texas Choice Of Forum and Choice Of Law Provisions Violated California Public Policy

Verdugo v. Alliantgroup, L.P., 237 Cal. App. 4th 141 (2015) Rachel Verdugo, an associate director in the Irvine office of Alliantgroup, filed this putative class action against her employer for various violations of the California Labor Code governing overtime compensation, meal and rest breaks, vacation pay, the Private Attorneys General Act and accurate wage statements. … Continue Reading

Class Action Plaintiffs Must Develop A Trial Plan That May Include Statistical Sampling

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 59 Cal. 4th 1 (2014) Plaintiffs in this case are loan officers for U.S. Bank (“USB”) who claim they were misclassified as exempt employees under the outside salesperson exemption. After certifying a class of 260 plaintiffs, the trial court devised a plan to determine the extent of USB’s liability … 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

California Courts May No Longer Be Able to Certify a Ham Sandwich

Commentators have quipped that class certification is so easy in California that with little effort a group of plaintiffs could certify even a ham sandwich.  In fact, as we have discussed here, we have seen a proliferation of recent appellate decisions hinging class certification on the mere existence of an employer’s uniform policy – no … Continue Reading

March 2014 California Employment Law Notes

$150,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And $680,000 Fee Award Affirmed Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP, 222 Cal. App. 4th 1228 (2014) Max Taylor worked as a floorhand on an oil rig where he alleged he was harassed by his supervisors who called him “queer,” “fagot [sic],” “homo,” and “gay porn star” and was subjected to … 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

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Attempt To Plead Around CAFA’s Jurisdictional Amount In Controversy

In 2005, Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which creates federal jurisdiction over class actions involving more than 100 class members and $5 million in controversy. Plaintiffs have long attempted to avoid CAFA’s invocation of federal jurisdiction by stipulating to no more than $5 million in classwide damages. In Standard Fire Ins. Co. … Continue Reading

California Further Restricts Employer Recovery of Prevailing Party Attorney’s Fees

California has amended Labor Code § 218.5 to limit the circumstances under which an employer may recover its attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party in a lawsuit in which an employee has sued for nonpayment of wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions (SB 462).  Prior to enactment of Senate Bill 462, the prevailing … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Emphasizes Importance of Common Issues in Class Actions

Over the past two weeks, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly underscored the importance of having common questions that are susceptible to common answers in cases where plaintiffs are seeking class certification. Most recently, the Court clarified that this requirement, which has now been considered in both antitrust and employment cases, applies with respect … Continue Reading

Reporters’ Class Action For Unpaid Overtime Should Not Have Been Certified

Wang v. Chinese Daily News, 2013 WL 781715 (9th Cir. 2013) Plaintiffs (reporters for the Chinese Daily News) alleged they were non-exempt employees entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California state law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the reporters, finding journalists are not subject to … Continue Reading

Arbitration Clauses Are Enforceable Despite Waiver Of Classwide Arbitration Rights

Flores v. West Covina Auto Group, 2013 WL 139200 (Cal. App. Jan. 11, 2013) Israel Flores and Andrea Naasz sued West Covina Toyota (WCT) and Toyota Motor Sales for selling them a “lemon,” alleging both individual and class action claims, including claims for violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).  WCT filed a motion … Continue Reading

Employer Permitted To Proceed With Defense Of Class Action Based On “Rounding” Policy

See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court, 2012 WL 5305729 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) Pamela Silva sued her former employer, See’s Candy, for various wage-and-hour violations. After certifying a class of current and former California employees, the trial court granted Silva’s motion for summary adjudication on four of See’s Candy’s affirmative defenses. In a writ … Continue Reading

“Rounding” Is Lawful In California – As Long As It’s Even-Handed

Pamela Silva brought a wage-and-hour class action against her former employer, See’s Candy Shops, Inc., alleging, in part, that See’s failed to pay her wages for all hours worked because the See’s timekeeping system rounded employee time entries to the nearest tenth of an hour/nearest six minutes.  In response to the complaint, See’s alleged that … Continue Reading
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