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Category Archives: Court Decisions

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Did You Know…PAGA Waivers Unenforceable in California Courts

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions

The United States Supreme Court recently declined to review the California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC.  In Iskanian, the California Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempted California’s policy against enforcement of class action waivers in arbitration agreements.  This means that class action waivers in employment… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Second Meal Period Waivers Invalid for Health Care Workers When Working More Than 12 Hours

Posted in Court Decisions, Wage and Hour

In Jazmina Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, the California Court of Appeal held that the wage orders health care companies have been following for years were wrong and contrary to the California Labor Code. Three health care workers sued their hospital employer in this putative class and private attorney general enforcement action for alleged… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Court Confirms Employees on Medical Leave Must Still Comply With Existing Company Policies

Posted in Court Decisions, Leave Laws

In Richey v. Autonation, Inc., Case No. S207536 (January 29, 2015), the California Supreme Court confirmed that an employee who is on medical leave does not have a greater right to reinstatement or to other benefits and conditions of employment than if they were continuously employed, and they must comply with existing company policies regardless…. Continue Reading

Did You Know…Employers Must Reimburse Employees for Personal Cell Phone Use

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions

Last August, in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., a California Court of Appeal held that employers must reimburse employees for required work-related use of personal cell phones, even if the employees incur no additional out-of-pocket expenses from that work-related use. The California Supreme Court has refused to grant review of the decision, so the… Continue Reading

Did You Know…No Sleeping Time Exclusion During 24-Hour Shifts When Employer Exercises Significant Control

Posted in Court Decisions, Wage and Hour

In Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc., the California Supreme Court held that security guards working 24-hour shifts have to be paid for all 24 hours without carving out eight hours of sleeping time – meaning the entire 24-hour shift was compensable time. Security guards employed by CPS Security Solutions filed a wage and hour class action alleging… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Security Time Is Not Compensable Time

Posted in Court Decisions, Wage and Hour

In Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, the United States Supreme Court addressed whether an employee is “working” when undergoing a security screening because he or she is required to do so by the employer.  In a unanimous (and pro-employer) decision, the Supreme Court held that the time spent by warehouse workers waiting to undergo… Continue Reading

Did You Know…California Supreme Court Rules – No Franchisor Vicarious Liability

Posted in Court Decisions, Litigation

The California Supreme Court recently held in Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, No. S204543 (Cal. Aug. 28, 2014) that a franchisor could not be held vicariously liable under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) for alleged sexual harassment in the franchisee’s workplace in the absence of evidence establishing that the franchisor “retained or… Continue Reading

Sea Change: Ninth Circuit Holds That FedEx Drivers Are Employees — Not Independent Contractors

Posted in Court Decisions, Litigation, Wage and Hour

The Ninth Circuit recently addressed the nearly decade long misclassification dispute between FedEx and its drivers, holding that drivers in California (as well as in Oregon) are FedEx employees, not independent contractors.  Alexander et al. v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc. (California); Slayman et al. v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc. (Oregon). In December 2010, the… Continue Reading

Did You Know…California Supreme Court Holds Undocumented Workers Are Not Barred From All Relief

Posted in Court Decisions, Discrimination

In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. the California Supreme Court recently held that an undocumented worker who fraudulently obtained employment through use of someone else’s social security number may seek damages for employment discrimination and retaliation.  The Court reasoned that undocumented employees like Mr. Salas are entitled to pursue claims for retaliation and discrimination against… Continue Reading

Did You Know…California Supreme Court Approves Class-Action Waivers, But Disapproves PAGA Representative Claim Waivers

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions, Litigation

The California Supreme Court has issued its highly-anticipated opinion in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (“Iskanian”). The decision is mixed for employers: the Court ruled that arbitration agreements with mandatory class action waivers generally are enforceable.  However, the Court also concluded that representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) cannot be… Continue Reading

Did You Know…California Supreme Court Issues Favorable Decision for Employers in Duran v. U.S. Bank

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions, Litigation, Wage and Hour

The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in Duran v. U.S. Bank.  In a significant victory for employers, the Court unanimously agreed to overturn a $15 million judgment in a wage and hour class action based on the trial court’s improper use of statistical sampling.  The opinion is likely to guide how wage… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Depression Does Not Automatically Qualify An Employee For FMLA Leave

Posted in Court Decisions, Disability Discrimination, Discrimination, Leave Laws

In recent years, employers have been bombarded by increasing numbers of lawsuits by employees with mental disabilities alleging discrimination and retaliation.  These lawsuits are based on a variety of theories including alleging being denied federal and/or state protected medical leave.  In a small blow to this growing trend, however, the Eleventh Circuit recently vacated a… Continue Reading

Did You Know…The Continuing Saga of Arbitration Agreements & Unconscionability

Posted in Court Decisions

In light of the United States Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, the California Supreme Court recently reversed its own prior decision where it had held that an arbitration agreement that requires an employee to waive the right to a hearing [Berman hearing] before the state labor commissioner is contrary to public… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Public Employees’ Facebook “Like” is the Internet Equivalent of a Political Yard Sign

Posted in Court Decisions, Privacy, Social Media

The courts are taking steps to protect communications made via social media; e.g., Ehling v. Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp., No. 2:11-cv-03305 (D.N.J. Aug 20, 2013) (holding that private Facebook posts are protected under the Stored Communications Act). Likewise, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that “liking”  something on Facebook is a form of… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Ninth Circuit Holds No Aggregation of PAGA Penalties to Establish Federal Diversity Jurisdiction

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions, Litigation, Wage and Hour

In Urbino v. Orkin Servs. of California Inc., a divided Ninth Circuit held that civil penalties recoverable by individual employees under California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) cannot be aggregated to meet the $75,000 amount in controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction. A wage-and-hour representative PAGA action brought originally in California state court, Urbino was removed… Continue Reading

Did You Know…U.S. Supreme Court Narrowly Defines “Supervisor” For Purposes of Title VII Employer Liability

Posted in Court Decisions, Harassment

In Vance v. Ball State University, No.11-556, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ball State, making it harder for employees to sue employers for harassment under Title VII.     The Court adopted a narrow definition of “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII, holding that an employee is a “supervisor” only if… Continue Reading

Did You Know…U.S. Supreme Court Strengthens Class Action Waivers in AmEx Ruling

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions

In another employer-friendly decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced its support for class action waivers, ruling in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant that an explicit class action waiver in an arbitration agreement cannot be invalidated simply because the plaintiff’s cost of individually arbitrating a claim exceeds the potential recovery. Justice Scalia, writing for… Continue Reading

Did You Know… The Supreme Court’s DOMA Ruling Opening Federal Benefits to Same-Sex Couples Requires Employers to Update Employee Benefits Policies

Posted in Court Decisions

The Supreme Court’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act’s definition of marriage as a legal union only between one man and one woman is unconstitutional requires employers to treat same-sex couples who are legally married the same as married opposite-sex couples under federal law. In prohibiting federal law from distinguishing between same-sex couples and… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Class Certification Denied in Wang v. Chinese Daily News

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions, Wage and Hour

In Wang v. Chinese Daily News, the Ninth Circuit reversed the class certification it had previously affirmed and remanded the matter for further consideration of Rule 23(a) commonality and Rule 23(b)(3) predominance.  Notably, the Ninth Circuit applied the 2011 United States Supreme Court decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart and held that Wal-Mart‘s  prohibition on “trial by… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for “Mixed Motive” Defense to Employment Discrimination Claims

Posted in Court Decisions, Discrimination

In a partial victory for employers, the California Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. City of Santa Monica that even when an employee proves that a discriminatory motive was a “substantial factor” in an adverse employment decision, the employee is not entitled to damages, reinstatement, or backpay, if the employer can show that the same… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Class Action for Meal and Rest Break Violations Defeated – Legally Compliant Policies Are Key

Posted in Court Decisions, Wage and Hour

In Flores v. Lamps Plus, Inc., the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion for class certification based on Lamps Plus’s alleged failure to ensure that employees took their meal and rest breaks.   Relying on Brinker, the Court  held that  “the employer is not obligated to police meal breaks and ensure… Continue Reading

Did You Know…Wage and Hour Class Actions Can Be Converted into Individual Arbitrations Which Can Significantly Reduce an Employer’s Exposure

Posted in Class Actions, Court Decisions, Wage and Hour

Employers who have arbitration agreements may be able to convert putative wage and hour class actions into individual arbitrations, reducing their potential exposure from millions (or hundreds of millions) to thousands of dollars.  In 2010, the Supreme Court held in Stolt–Nielsen S.A. v. Animal Feeds Int’l Corp. that if the parties to an arbitration agreement… Continue Reading