California Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Fall to Lowest Level in 13 Years

The incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses in California remain at their lowest level in 13 years, according to occupational injury and illness data released by the California Department of Industrial Relations. The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) data reflect a total of 460,000 reportable injury and illness cases in 2014, down from a total of 468,400 cases in 2013. In 2013 and 2014, the rate for cases involving lost work-time, job transfer, or restriction-from-duty cases (collectively, “lost work-time cases”) held steady at approximately 265,000, while cases involving days away from work fell from 146,800 to 142,800. Overall, the incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in California remains at its lowest level in the past decade. Read More

Worker Misclassification Risk? Top 10 Questions to Ask about Your Independent Contractors

Employers’ risk of liability for the misclassification of workers continues to grow, as employee misclassification remains a top enforcement priority for the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), and class actions asserting misclassification claims are filed almost daily in federal and California state courts. Employers regularly using independent contractors should examine those relationships periodically to ensure that the classification remains defensible. Read More

Reversing $1 Million Judgment against Los Angeles, the California Court of Appeals Ruled Continuing Violation Doctrine did not apply to Firefighter’s Decades-Old Race Discrimination and Harassment Claims

The California Court of Appeal reversed a $1 million judgment against the City of Los Angeles in a racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation case brought by a firefighter under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Jumaane v. City of Los Angeles. After 12 years of litigation and two jury trials, the Court ruled that the firefighter’s claims occurred outside the one-year statute of limitations period and that the “continuing violation” exception to the statute of limitations did not apply. Read More

Sacramento Minimum Wage Increases

Anyone paying attention to national politics knows increasing the minimum wage is a hot topic  being debated by employee and business groups.  While the debate rages, the Sacramento City Council decided not to wait for the feds or the state to act, and recently voted 6-3 to increase the Sacramento city minimum wage, as follows: Read More

Why You Should Take a Closer Look at California’s New Piece-Rate Legislation

Employers doing business in California have seen a barrage of class actions and representative claims for various alleged wage and hour Labor Code violations. Some cases are premised solely on “technical” wage statement violations, where the employer may not have even realized the practice was occurring or was unlawful. Read More

An Employee’s Request for a Disability or Religious Accommodation Is Considered Protected Activity Under Change to the Fair Employment and Housing Act

Effective January 1, 2016, an employee’s request for an accommodation for a disability or for religious reasons is considered to be “protected activity” for a retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).

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Employer Cannot Enforce Class Action Waiver Because Court of Appeal Rules Interstate Truck Drivers Not Subject to FAA

On October 26, 2015, a California Court of Appeal held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not apply to interstate truck drivers, and as a result, it ruled that an employer’s class action waiver was unenforceable as a matter of public policy under the California Gentry rule. Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, No. B254490 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 26, 2015). This case is significant because it expands the scope of the “transportation worker” exemption under the FAA. Practically, numerous employers who physically distribute their own goods interstate will now be prevented from compelling individual arbitration of class action lawsuits.

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“Desperate Housewives” Star’s Whistleblower Case Revived by Court of Appeal

In a unanimous decision, a California Court of Appeal held that an employee is not required to exhaust his or her administrative remedies by filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner before commencing a civil action under California Labor Code sections 98.7 and 6312. Sheridan v. Touchstone Television Productions, LLC, No. B254489 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 20, 2015). Read More