Archives: Class Actions

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Class Action Waiver in Employment Arbitration Agreement is Unenforceable, Court Rules

A class action waiver in an arbitration agreement is unenforceable under the National Labor Relations Act, Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel has ruled. Neal Pataky et al. v. The Brigantine, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-00352 (S.D. Cal. May 3, 2017). Judge Curiel’s decision tracks the Ninth Circuit’s Morris v. Ernst & Young, 834 F.3d 975 (9th Cir. 2016), … Continue Reading

Class and Collective Action Waivers

Requiring class and collective action waivers as a condition of hire or continued employment violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on August 22, 2016. In April 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that class claims can be waived in a valid arbitration agreement under the Federal Arbitration … Continue Reading

Are My California Pay Stubs Compliant?

Nearly all California employment wage and hour class action lawsuits assert a cause of action under California Labor Code Section 226 as plaintiffs’ attorneys almost always automatically include such cause of action when there are other alleged underlying wage violations, i.e. failure to pay overtime. By asserting this cause of action in their class action … Continue Reading

New PAGA Amendments – What Employers Doing Business in California Need to Know

We previously reported on Governor Brown’s 2016/2017 budget change proposal as something employers should monitor.[1]  The proposal included increased funding for the Labor & Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”), the agency responsible for overseeing the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”).  The budget proposal also contained recommendations for widespread changes to the way PAGA cases … Continue Reading

The California Supreme Court Finally Weighs In on Suitable Seating

On April 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court took a stand by issuing a long-awaited opinion in Kirby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.  The decision clarifies certain ambiguities in an employer’s obligation to provide suitable seating to employees.  At issue was a provision in California’s Wage Orders that requires employers to provide all employees “with suitable … Continue Reading

Arbitration Agreements

Denying an employer’s motion to compel individual arbitration of a wage and hour class action, a California federal court ruled that the employer’s dispute resolution program violated its employees’ right to engage in concerted action under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Totten v. Kellogg Brown & Root, LLC. Notably, this ruling departs from the … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects California Limitation on Arbitration Agreements with Class Action Waivers

Despite recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions strongly upholding the enforceability of class action waivers in arbitration agreements, opposition to class action waivers on both the political and legal fronts persists, especially in California. As interpreted by California courts, the state’s law traditionally has looked with disfavor on the enforcement of class action waivers, and that … Continue Reading

No Class Action for Residential Care Facility Employees Over On-Duty Meal Periods

Denying class certification in an action for alleged meal period violations under the California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 5-2001 (“Wage Order 5”), the California Court of Appeal ruled that a 24-hour residential care facility for developmentally disabled individuals did not have a policy that violated wage and hour laws common … Continue Reading

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.… Continue Reading

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, … Continue Reading

California Ban on Waiver of Representative PAGA Claims Not Barred by Federal Arbitration Act, Federal Court Holds

Declining to enforce a representative action waiver contained in an arbitration agreement, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, has held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not preempt California’s “Iskanian rule,” which prohibits waiver of representative claims under the state Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code § … Continue Reading

California Court Holds Arbitrator Decides Class Arbitrability Where Agreement Specifies AAA Rules

An employment arbitration agreement that incorporated the American Arbitration Association’s National Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes vested the arbitrator with the power to decide whether the agreement authorized class-wide relief, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Universal Protection Service LP v. Superior Court, No. C078557 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 18, 2015). The … Continue Reading

Common Sense Prevails as Court Knocks Out Yelp Reviewers’ Class Action Seeking Pay for Voluntary Online Reviews

A California federal judge dismissed a putative employment collective action last week, brought by individuals who wrote reviews on Yelp, a popular online business rating website predicated on user-reviews, holding that an individual who acts for personal pleasure without a promise of pay does not have a claim for wages under federal labor law. Jeung, … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: Federal Arbitration Act Preempts Plaintiff’s State Rights

An arbitration clause in a consumer agreement was enforceable, including the class action waiver, despite four supposedly one-sided arbitration provisions in the agreement, the California Supreme Court has held. Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC, No. S199119 (Aug. 3, 2015). The much-anticipated decision has significant implications for arbitration agreements between employers and employees.… Continue Reading

PAGA: Trial Court May Limit Scope Of Discovery To Plaintiff’s “Local Claims” Before Plaintiff Makes Showing Of Statewide Practices

In the uncertain world of the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), employers enjoyed a significant victory in Williams v. Superior Court (Marshalls) (Ct. App. 2d Dist. May 15, 2015), Case No. B259967. In Williams, the California Court of Appeal upheld a lower court order limiting a plaintiff’s request for the names and … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Holds that Federal Law Does Not Preempt California’s Meal and Rest Break Requirements for Truck Drivers

On October 28, 2014, a California Court of Appeal held that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”) does not preempt California’s meal and rest break requirements as applied to motor carriers.  [Godfrey v. Oakland Port Services Corp. (Cal. App. Ct. Oct. 28, 2014) Case No. A139274.] In Godfrey, the plaintiffs were truck … Continue Reading

First Do No Harm – Dental Practice Goes Too Far in its Communications to Employees About Class Action

No employer welcomes the news that it’s just been served with a wage and hour class action. Many employers naturally desire to communicate with their employees to provide their perspective and to explain why employees may not want to participate in the class action. Before launching such employee communications, however, companies should always consult with legal … Continue Reading

Court’s Flawed Trial Plan Sinks Overtime Class Action against Employer, California Supreme Court Rules

Calling “seriously flawed” a lower court’s trial management plan which used sampling evidence to prove class liability and damages under California law, the California Supreme Court has vacated a $15-million judgment against the employer for overtime pay and remanded the case for a new trial on both liability and damages. Duran v. U.S. Bank National … Continue Reading

California Courts Continue to Embrace Binding Arbitration Agreements

With increasing frequency, California courts (especially federal district courts) are enforcing binding arbitration agreements between employers and employees.  In Richards v. Ernst & Young, No. 11-17530 (9th Cir. Aug. 21, 2013), the Ninth Circuit recently reversed a denial of the employer’s motion to compel arbitration of the employee’s wage and hour claims.  In so doing, … Continue Reading
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