California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Ninth Circuit Changes Federal Pay Equity Rules

By Anthony J. Oncidi and Nayirie Kuyumjian           On Monday, the Ninth Circuit issued a significant opinion, Rizo v. Yovino, 2018 WL 1702982 (9th Cir. April 9, 2018), authored by the late “liberal lion” Judge Stephen Reinhardt, holding that an employer’s consideration of prior salary information cannot serve as a justification … 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

EEOC Sufficiently Conciliated Class Claims Before Bringing Suit, And Employee Stated Hostile Environment Claim

Arizona ex rel. Horne v. The Geo Group, 2016 WL 945634 (9th Cir. 2016) Alice Hancock was employed by Geo as a correctional officer at the Arizona State Prison. Geo contracts with the Arizona Department of Corrections to maintain and operate two facilities in the state. Hancock filed a charge of discrimination and harassment based … Continue Reading

Employee’s Qui Tam Fraud Claims Should Not Have Been Dismissed

United States ex rel. Mateski v. Raytheon, 816 F.3d 565 (9th Cir. 2016) Steven Mateski worked as an engineer at Raytheon. Mateski filed a complaint in federal court alleging that Raytheon had violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”) by failing to comply with numerous contractual requirements in developing a project for the government, fraudulently covering … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate ADA When It Failed To Return Employee To Full-Time Position Following Medical Leave

Mendoza v. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, 2016 WL 1459214 (9th Cir. 2016) Alice Mendoza worked as a full-time bookkeeper for a small parish church. She took sick leave for 10 months, during which time the pastor of the church took over the bookkeeping duties himself and determined that Mendoza’s job could be … Continue Reading

Nuclear Plant Maintenance Manager’s Whistleblower Claim Was Properly Dismissed

Sanders v. Energy Northwest, 2016 WL 560809 (9th Cir. 2016) David W. Sanders, a maintenance manager for Energy Northwest (a nuclear power plant), claimed his employment was terminated in retaliation for his objection to the severity level designation of an internal “condition report” that was generated by other employees at the plant. Sanders filed a … Continue Reading

Unaccepted Settlement Offer Does Not Moot Putative Class Action

Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 663 (2016) In this putative class action involving an alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (prohibiting using an automatic dialing system to send a text message to a cellular telephone, absent the recipient’s express consent), Campbell-Ewald proposed to settle Jose Gomez’s individual claim … 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

Ninth Circuit Certifies Question To California Supreme Court Regarding Commission Exemption

Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., 2012 WL 3538753 (9th Cir. 2012) Susan J. Peabody was employed as a commissioned salesperson by Time Warner Cable (“TWC”) for approximately 10 months. Peabody’s commissions were based on the revenue generated by advertising that was aired every broadcast month, which lasted four or five weeks. Peabody also received … Continue Reading

Former Church Ministers May Not Proceed With Trafficking Victims Protection Act Claims

Headley v. Church of Scientology Int’l, 687 F.3d 1173 (9th Cir. 2012) Marc and Claire Headley were ministers in the Sea Organization (“Sea Org”), which is an elite religious order of the Church of Scientology. The Sea Org demands much of its ministerial members, renders strict discipline, imposes stringent ethical and lifestyle constraints and goes … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects “Selective Waiver” Theory Of Preserving Attorney-Client Privilege

In re Pac. Pictures Corp., 2012 WL 1640627 (9th Cir. 2012) Although this case did not arise in the employment context, it has implications in labor and employment litigation matters in which a government agency is involved. The question the Ninth Circuit decided is whether a party waives the attorney-client privilege forever by voluntarily disclosing … Continue Reading

Employees Did Not Violate Federal Statute By Misappropriating Employer’s Computer Data

United States v. Nosal, 676 F.3d 854 (2012) (en banc) In this criminal proceeding brought under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), the United States government filed a 20-count indictment against David Nosal (a former employee of Korn/Ferry International) and his accomplices (also from Korn/Ferry) as a result of their obtaining information from their … Continue Reading

California Overtime Requirements Apply To Work Performed By Non-Resident Employees

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 662 F.3d 1265 (2011) Three Oracle instructors (all non-residents of California) filed this class action to recover allegedly unpaid overtime under California law for work they performed while in California. Two of the instructors were residents of Colorado and one was a resident of Arizona; all of them worked in their … Continue Reading

Teacher With Expired Teaching Certificate Was Not “Qualified” Within The Meaning Of The ADA

Johnson v. Board of Trustees, 2011 WL 6091313 (9th Cir. 2011) Patricia Johnson, who had a history of depression and bipolar disorder, taught special education for a school district in Idaho for a decade. Before her teaching certificate expired in 2007, Johnson failed to take sufficient college courses to obtain a renewal of the certificate … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Recognizes Priests’ Privacy Interest In Their Personnel Files

In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland, 657 F.3d 1008 (2011) Documents that were produced in discovery and filed in the bankruptcy court contained allegations that Fathers “M” and “D” (two priests who were not parties to the Portland Archdiocese’s bankruptcy case) had sexually abused children. The bankruptcy court held that the discovery documents could … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Applies Supreme Court’s “Rigorous Analysis” Test And Vacates Certification Of Class Action

Ellis v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 657 F.3d 970 (9th Cir. 2011) In this appeal, Costco challenged the district court’s order granting class certification in an action in which Costco’s promotional practices were alleged to have discriminated against female employees. The district court’s order granting class certification preceded the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in Wal-Mart … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Reexamines Class Certification Standards After Dukes v. Walmart

In Ellis v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 19060 (9th Cir. Sept. 16, 2011), the Ninth Circuit reviewed the standards for class certification in an employment class action following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dukes v. Walmart. In Ellis,three named plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and backpay on behalf of a nationwide … Continue Reading

U.S. Court Has Jurisdiction Over Argentinean Employees’ Claims Against Mercedes-Benz Argentina

Bauman v. Daimler Chrysler Corp., 644 F.3d 909 (2011) In this case, 22 Argentinian residents (including a Chilean national) sued DaimlerChrysler Aktiengesellschaft (“DCAG”) in federal court in California, alleging that one of DCAG’s subsidiaries, Mercedes-Benz Argentina (“MBA”), collaborated with state security forces to kidnap, detain, torture and kill plaintiffs and their relatives during Argentina’s “Dirty … Continue Reading

Employees May Have Committed A Crime By Violating Employer’s Computer Use Policy

U.S. v. Nosal, 642 F.3d 781 (2011) In this criminal proceeding brought under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), the United States government filed a 20-count indictment against David Nosal (a former employee of Korn/Ferry International) and his accomplices (also from Korn/Ferry) as a result of their obtaining information from their employer’s computer system … Continue Reading

Engineer Of Iranian Descent Can Proceed With Race And National Origin Discrimination Claims

Zeinali v. Raytheon Co., 636 F.3d 544 (9th Cir. 2011) Hossein Zeinali, who is of Iranian descent, sued Raytheon for race and national origin discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act when it terminated his employment after he was denied a security clearance by the Department of Defense. The district court granted summary judgment … Continue Reading

Jury Should Have Been Instructed That Employer Had Burden Of Proof On FMLA Reinstatement Claim

Sanders v. City of Newport, 657 F.3d 772 (2011) Diane Sanders, a utility billing clerk for the City of Newport, Oregon, began suffering health problems, which (according to her doctor) were due to “multiple chemical sensitivity” triggered by handling low-grade paper at work and poor air quality in her work area. Sanders took an FMLA … Continue Reading
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