Judd v. Weinstein – filed July 29, 2020
California Civil Code §51.9 plainly encompasses the relationship between an influential, well-connected Hollywood producer and a young aspiring actress; this relationship consisted of an inherent power imbalance where the producer was uniquely situated to exercise coercion over the actress.
Frlekin v. Apple – filed Sept. 2, 2020
The time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices voluntarily brought to work purely for personal convenience by employees was compensable as hours worked within the meaning of California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 7.
Blue Fountain Pools and Spas v. Superior Court (Arias)
The continuing violation doctrine provides a way for employees to escape the effects of the statute of limitations and reach back in time to base liability on earlier acts; it doesn’t provide employers a way to expand the scope of the statute of limitations to reach forward to bar claims based on acts within the statutory period. Even if the conduct of prior management made a worker’s further complaints of harassment futile, the arrival of new management created a new opportunity to seek help, and a worker can establish a continuing violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act with respect to all the conduct that occurred after the change.
Ward v. United Airlines, Inc.– filed June 29, 2020
Whether workers entitled to California-compliant wage statements depends on whether their principal place of work is in California; for pilots, flight attendants, and other interstate transportation workers who do not perform a majority of their work in any one state, this test is satisfied when California serves as their base of work operations, regardless of their place of residence or whether a collective bargaining agreement governs their pay.
Oman v. Delta Airlines, Inc. – filed June 29, 2020
California’s wage statement laws apply only to flight attendants who have their base of work operations in California, and that the same is true of California laws governing the timing of wage payments.
Grande v. Eisenhower Medical Center (Flexcare)– filed Feb. 6, 2020
The fact that two parties are joint and several obligors is not enough to put them in privity for purposes of issue or claim preclusion. Joint employers are not vicariously liable for each other’s Labor Code violations, but liable for their own conduct. Res judicata may bar a claim brought against an indemnitee where the same claim has already been pursued against the indemnitor, but that rule applies only when the indemnitor is, in the first action, acting in its capacity as indemnitor; if the indemnitor is sued for its own actions and is not sued as an indemnitor for the acts of another, the rationale favoring preclusion no longer holds.
Horne v. Ahern Rentals, Inc. – filed June 10, 2020
A defendant who had hired an independent contractor was entitled to summary judgment dismissing a lawsuit asserting that its negligence was responsible for the death of the contractor’s employee where the plaintiff failed to present evidence that the defendant affirmatively contributed to decedent’s injuries.
Trejo v. County of Los Angeles – filed June 9, 2020
The Los Angeles County Civil Service Rules do not authorize a county employer to extend an employee’s probationary period by re-assigning the employee into a modified position.
Jarboe v. Hanlees Auto Group – filed May 8, 2020, publication ordered May 28, 2020
To enforce an arbitration agreement as a third-party beneficiary, a party must show the agreement was made expressly for its benefit. A corporate relationship alone is not sufficient to bind a nonsignatory to an arbitration agreement; the fact that a plaintiff’s claims against the nonsignatories are related to the claims he is arbitrating against a signatory does not compel application of equitable estoppel.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 396 v. NASA Services, Inc. – filed May 1, 2020
Under California contract law, language stating that the terms of an agreement only become operative if certain conditions are met establishes a condition precedent to formation rather than a condition precedent to performance.
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 15 v. National Labor Relations Board – filed April 29, 2020
An unwillingness to pay a union’s demands during negotiations is different than asserting a financial inability to pay; an employer asserting only an unwillingness to pay does not have a duty to produce information about its financial viability upon request from the union; whether an employer asserted an inability-to-pay claim not based on the use of magic words but on whether the essential core of the employer’s bargaining posture as a whole, as expressed to the union, was grounded in assertions amounting to a claim that it could not economically afford to pay for the union’s proposals; a retraction is effective if the employer makes it unmistakably clear to a union that it has abandoned its plea of poverty.
Tilkey v. Allstate Insurance Company – filed April 21, 2020
For purposes of Labor Code §432.7, a conviction does not require an entry of judgment of guilt—it merely requires the entry of a guilty plea; §432.7’s reference to diversion programs excludes out-of-state domestic violence programs. Compelled self-published defamation is a viable tort theory.
Anthony v. TRAX International Corporation – filed April 17, 2020
After-acquired evidence cannot establish a superseding, non-discriminatory justification for an employer’s challenged actions, but it can be used to show that an individual was not qualified for a position for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ducksworth v. Tri-Modal Distribution Services – filed April 7, 2020
A staffing company cannot be held liable for harassment with which it was entirely uninvolved. An abuse of discretion standard applies to evidentiary objections made in connection with a summary judgment motion.
Babb v. Wilkie – filed April 6, 2020
The plain meaning of 29 U. S. C. §633a(a) demands that personnel actions be untainted by any consideration of age; to obtain reinstatement, damages, or other relief related to the end result of an employment decision, a showing that a personnel action would have been different if age had not been taken into account is necessary, but if age discrimination played a lesser part in the decision, other remedies may be appropriate.
Alexander v. Community Hospital of Long Beach – filed Feb. 13, 2020
A group of plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies against their former employer where they failed to name their employer in their Fair Employment and Housing Act complaint; there is no equitable exception to the rule that a FEHA defendant must have been named in a Department of Fair Employment and Housing complaint where the defendant received actual notice of the complaint and an opportunity to participate in the administrative process. Although a discrimination plaintiff must be permitted to prove the pretextual nature of the employer’s justification for terminating the plaintiff’s employment, evidence that the plaintiff was acquitted of charges raised by the employer is inadmissible for that purpose.
Scalia v. Employer Solutions Staffing Group, LLC– filed March 2, 2020
Where a company’s payroll processing agent admitted that she knew the recruited employees were not being paid overtime owed to them, the district court correctly found no dispute of material fact as to the company’s liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act; a company that recklessly disregarded the very possibility that it was violating the FLSA has acted willfully for purposes of extending the statute of limitations, and a company that has acted willfully cannot have acted in good faith. There is no indication Congress intended to create a right to contribution or indemnification for employers under the FLSA.
Rizo v. Yovino– filed Feb. 27, 2020
Based on the text and purpose of the Equal Pay Act, the factor other than sex affirmative defense comprises only job-related factors; prior pay does not qualify as a job-related factor that can defeat a prima facie Equal Pay Act claim.
Public Employment Relations Board v. Bellflower Unified School District– filed Dec. 4, 2018
When it is undisputed that the Public Employment Relations Board followed its procedures prior to issuing a decision, substantial evidence necessarily supports a trial court’s finding that the decision was issued pursuant to the board’s established procedures. The PERB’s general counsel’s post-decision actions cannot be raised as a defense to an enforcement action.
Gulf Offshore Logistics, LLC v. Superior Court– filed Dec. 7, 2020
Non-California residents who worked on offshore oil platforms outside the state’s boundaries were subject to California employment law since California served as the base for their work operations and they performed the majority of their work within the boundaries of the state. Federal law does not preempt California law for non-residents working in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Foroudi v. Aerospace – filed Nov. 24, 2020
The exhaustion of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission remedies does not satisfy the exhaustion requirements for state law claims. A plaintiff cannot exhaust his administrative remedies by adding substantive new allegations to an administrative complaint after the administrative case had been closed and the plaintiff had already filed a civil complaint
Hildebrandt v. Staples the Office Superstore – filed Dec. 4, 2020
A plaintiff was entitled to claim the benefit of the class action tolling rule established by the U.S. Supreme Court in American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah due to the pendency of other class certification proceedings involving the same Labor Code and Unfair Competition Law violations.
Castillo v. Bank of America – filed Nov. 18, 2020
The question of whether an employer’s policies for calculating overtime wages using total hours worked in the divisor were lawful under California law presents a purely legal question that is clearly capable of class wide resolution; the lead plaintiff submitted evidence showing typicality among her claims and the claims of other class members by demonstrating she was subject to the same allegedly unlawful policies; the plaintiff did not establish the predominance of a common issue where some putative class members were not exposed to the policies, some were paid adequately under the policies, and some were overpaid.
People v. Superior Court (Cal Cartage Transportation Express) – filed Nov. 19, 2020
The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act does not preempt application of California’s ABC test, as codified by AB 2257, to determine whether a federally licensed interstate motor carrier has correctly classified its truck drivers as independent contractors.
Rojas-Cifuentes v. Superior Court (American Modular Systems) – filed Dec. 21, 2020
An employee’s notice to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency provided the minimum facts and theories necessary to support a Private Attorneys General Act claim where the employee alleged that his employer provided inaccurate wage statements to a particular class of employees; although the notice did not specify when the alleged Labor Code violations began, that is not reason enough to find the notice wholly inadequate; a PAGA claim can be regarded as multiple causes of action for purposes of summary adjudication.
Vasquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International – filed Jan. 14, 2021
The rule from Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court for classifying employees and independent contractors applies retroactively to all cases not yet final on the day of its decision since the case addressed an issue of first impression.
Scalia v. Alaska – filed Jan. 15, 2021
Congress intended to adopt the definition of workweek contained in Fair Labor Standards Act regulation 29 C.F.R. §778.105 when it granted employees a total of 12 workweeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. When a rotational employee takes continuous leave, both his on and off weeks count as workweeks of leave under 29 U.S.C. §2612(a)(1). When an employee working a one week on, one week off schedule takes continuous leave, an employer may count both the on and off weeks against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement.
Christian v. Umpqua Bank – filed Dec. 31, 2020
To establish sex discrimination under a hostile work environment theory, a plaintiff must show she was subjected to sex-based harassment that was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment, and that her employer is liable for this hostile work environment.
Department of Human Resources v. International Union of Operating Engineers– filed Dec. 17, 2020
A memorandum of understanding between the state and an employee organization may not contravene the merit principle of civil service employment; the merit principle is implicated not only in decisions to hire or promote state employees, but also in decisions to impose discipline. Where an arbitrator determined that an MOU requires a state department to expunge documents crucial to the fair and accurate evaluation of an employee’s performance, enforcement of the arbitrator’s decision would impermissibly undermine the merit principle.
Clarke v. AMN Services– filed Feb. 8, 2021
The weekly per diem benefits paid to a group of employees were improperly excluded from their regular rate of pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act where the benefits functioned as compensation for work rather than as reimbursement for expenses incurred; the function test requires a case-specific inquiry based on the particular formula used for determining the amount of the per diem, the monetary relationship between payment and hours, whether the payments are made regardless of whether any costs are actually incurred, and whether the employer requires any attestation that costs were incurred by the employee.
Wilmot v. Contra Costa County Employee’s Retirement Association – filed Feb. 5, 202
The forfeiture provision of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act applies to an employee who submitted his application for retirement to a county’s retirement authority before the act took effect, but did not have his application approved until after the effective date of the act; even if the employee was retired, and the forfeiture provision was applied to him, there would be no violation of the California Constitution’s provision against the undue impairment of the employee’s contract with his governmental employer, nor would that application constitute an ex post facto law.
Manderson-Saleh v. Regents of the University of California– filed Feb. 5, 2021
A plaintiff challenging a quasi-judicial administrative determination resulting from an informal decision making process rather than a traditional hearing permitted to submit additional evidence to support her contention the decisionmaker abused its discretion in considering her claim. The substantial compliance doctrine applies to excuse strict compliance with requirements pertaining to beneficiary designations for public employee pensions. Where it was undisputed a public employee intended to name her daughter as her contingent beneficiary, and she made this intent known to her employer, in writing, before her death, and there were no facts showing a possibility of a contrary claim or the potential for double payment or that the employee would change her mind before her death, these facts and circumstances trigger the application of the substantial compliance doctrine.
Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles – filed Jan. 29, 2021
A union may bring a representative action on behalf of its members, even when the entire membership is not affected, as long as the number of affected employees is sufficiently numerous that, if it were a class action, the numerosity requirement would be met. Neither Labor Code §221 nor the wage garnishment law renders unlawful a provision in a memorandum of understanding authorizing the recoupment of overpayments to employees.
Hernandez v. State Personnel Board (Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) – filed Feb. 10, 2021
A defendant was similarly situated to a spouse of his victim where the victim was the defendant’s girlfriend, and the defendant spent most nights with her over the course of five months, even though he maintained a separate permanent residence.
Brown v. Los Angeles Unified School District – filed Feb. 18, 2021
The Fair Employment and Housing Act’s protections against torts based on disability are independent of those under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A plaintiff adequately pled a claim for physical disability under the FEHA where she allegedly suffered from symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity affecting one or more body systems that limited her ability to work. An employer’s alleged refusal to participate in the interactive process or provide reasonable accommodations do not constitute adverse employment actions in the context of a claim of discrimination; the commission of one specific prohibited employment practice does not, in and of itself, constitute commission of all other prohibited employment practices under the broad rubric of policies or practices affecting the terms, conditions or privileges of employment. Failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process are separate, independent claims involving different proof of facts. Where an employer agreed on a reasonable accommodation then changed its mind, this was not a failure to engage in the interactive process.
Bernstein v. Virgin America – filed Feb. 23, 2021
The California Labor Code can apply to an interstate transportation company’s relationship with its employees. An employer’s compensation scheme based on block time did not violate California law. California’s meal and rest break requirements are not preempted under the Airline Deregulation Act or Federal Aviation Act. Labor Code §226(a), §201 and §202 apply to workers who do not perform the majority of their work in any one state, but who are based for work purposes in California.
Donohue v. AMN Services – filed Feb. 25, 2021
Employers cannot engage in the practice of rounding time punches in the meal period context; the meal period provisions are designed to prevent even minor infringements on meal period requirements, and rounding is incompatible with that objective. Time records showing noncompliant meal periods raise a rebuttable presumption of meal period violations, including at the summary judgment stage.
Wilson v. The La Jolla Group – filed March 12, 2021
The primary question on class certification is whether the plaintiffs’ theory of recovery is amenable to class treatment, not whether the theory of recovery is correct. The existence of a common question does not compel class certification; class certification is properly denied when the class claims would require an individual showing of liability, not merely damages. Where the plaintiffs did not identify a common policy or practice requiring overtime or denying meal and rest breaks, which could be proved by common evidence, the trial court could properly deny class certification; since the employer had a uniform policy of not providing the putative class members with itemized wage statements because the class members were allegedly misclassified, the trial court abused its discretion by determining that common questions did not predominate on this claim.
Freyd v. University of Oregon – filed March 15, 2021
In an Equal Pay Act claim, the plaintiff has the burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination by showing that employees of the opposite sex were paid different wages for equal work; the plaintiff must show that the jobs being compared—not the individuals holding the jobs—are substantially equal. Under Oregon law, comparable work is a more inclusive standard than equal work, and requires that the two jobs have important common characteristics. To make a prima facie case of disparate impact, a plaintiff must show that a facially neutral employment practice has a significantly discriminatory impact on a group protected by Title VII; the plaintiff must also establish that the challenged practice is either not job related or is inconsistent with business necessity; even if the practice is job related and consistent with business necessity, the plaintiff may still prevail by showing that the employer refuses to adopt an available alternative practice that has less disparate impact and serves the employer’s legitimate needs.
Clark v. Superior Court (Arthroscopic & Laser Surgery Center of San Diego) – file March 19, 2021
A worker exhausted her administrative remedies even though she named the wrong entity in her Department of Fair Employment and Housing complaint, and never corrected the mistake, where it was clear who intended respondent was, and the mistake could not possibly have hampered any administrative investigation or prejudiced the respondent in any judicial proceedings.