Before 2020, the City of Santa Monica was one of a handful of cities that had a right of recall ordinance. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, many local governments enacted right to recall ordinances to return displaced workers to their prior positions.  Recently, the state joined these local governments, passing SB 93 relating

In Bustos v. Global P.E.T., Inc., (E065869, Cal. Ct. App. January 16, 2018), Plaintiff William Bustos and a number of his co-workers were terminated by Global in an economic layoff.  Bustos sued Global alleging his disabilities were a substantial motivating reason for his termination.

At trial, the jury awarded Bustos nothing, although the jury

Overturning a trial court ruling, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held that teacher tenure laws are constitutional in the case of Vergara v. State of California, decided April 14, 2016.

The case involves nine public school students who challenged several provisions of California’s Education Code that govern K-12 public school teachers’ employment. The basis of the challenge is that the tenure, dismissal, and layoff laws result in grossly ineffective teachers being transferred to lower-performing schools with predominantly minority and low-income populations, rather than being terminated; and that; therefore, those students receive an inferior education.  Several associations representing school boards, school superintendents, and school administrators filed amicus briefs in support of the students’ position that the laws are unconstitutional.
Continue Reading California Teacher Tenure Laws Upheld by Appellate Court

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).
Continue Reading “Desperate Housewives” Star’s Whistleblower Case Revived by Court of Appeal

An employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee who makes a complaint to a government or law enforcement agency under California law.

Labor Code section 1102.5(b), for example, makes it unlawful for a hospital to terminate a nurse because the nurse complained about a doctor to the Medical Board. It also would be unlawful for an airline to terminate a pilot who reported potential violations of regulations to the Federal Aviation Administration. These are classic “whistleblower” situations, where an employee complains about the conduct of his or her employer.  However, a recent case, Cardenas v. M. Fanaian, DDS, Inc., has held that the reach of section 1102.5(b) is not so limited, but applies to matters unrelated to the employer’s compliance with law in operating its business, such as employee reports to law enforcement involving personal matters.
Continue Reading “Whistleblower” Retaliation Applies to Private Matters Unrelated to the Whistleblower’s Employment

A depressed employee who was fired for threatening to kill his co-workers was not a qualified individual entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the employee could not perform essential job functions, with or without an accommodation, a federal appeals court in San Francisco has ruled, affirming judgment in favor of the employer. Mayo v. PCC Structurals, Inc., No. 13-35643 (9th Cir. July 28, 2015). The Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction over Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Continue Reading Death Threats Against Co-Workers Defeat Employee Disability Discrimination Claim, Federal Court Rules

In a recent Ninth Circuit decision, the court held that “a piece of evidence [may not be disregarded] at the summary judgment stage solely based on its self-serving nature.” As a result, declarations created after summary judgment motions are filed may be sufficient to create genuine issues of material fact and, therefore, defeat summary judgment. This decision is particularly concerning because it allows a party to thwart summary judgment with little to no credible or corroborated evidence.
Continue Reading Follow-up on: Be Careful What You Say—It Might End Up in a Declaration to Defeat Summary Judgment

In a recent opinion affirming an arbitrator’s judgment in favor of an employer on various employment law claims, the California Court of Appeal held that an employee agreed to arbitrate all claims against her former employee when she signed an arbitration policy contained in an easy-to-read document distinct from any other document the she signed at the time of her hiring.  In doing so, the Court clarified important aspects of the test for enforcing an arbitration agreement signed by a company’s employees. 
Continue Reading California Appeals Court Affirms that Employee Signature Acknowledging Clear Arbitration Policy Makes Policy Binding

On December 1, 2014, in Ferrick v. Santa Clara University (H040252), the California Court of Appeal rejected a university employee’s attempt to support her wrongful termination claim with allegations of embezzlement, tax evasion, or other alleged improprieties in public financing and real estate deals.  However, the employee successfully stated a claim for wrongful termination based on her allegation that a supervisor accepted kickbacks for placing university tenants with a private landlord, which provided a reasonable basis for the employee to suspect commercial bribery under Penal Code section 641.3.
Continue Reading Not All Supervisor Misconduct Violates Public Policy Sufficiently to Support Whistleblowing Claims