Tag Archives: California Supreme Court

Does The De Minimis Defense Apply To California Labor Code Claims?

The California Supreme Court recently heard the case of Troester v. Starbucks Corporation which could significantly increase employers’ exposure to claims by hourly paid employees for small pre-shift and post-shift tasks that are currently treated as insignificant and not compensable. The de minimis doctrine, an established defense under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), permits … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Cannot Bring PAGA Claims If They Fail to Give Notice of a Representative Action

In Hamid H. Khan v. Dunn-Edwards Corporation (January 4, 2018), the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held that the plaintiff failed to comply with required administrative procedures prior to bringing a claim under the California Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) because he failed to provide sufficient notice to the California Labor … 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

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 Supreme Court: California Employers Face New Challenge In Recovering Post-Litigation Costs

On May 4, 2015, the California Supreme Court ruled that a prevailing defendant in a California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) lawsuit can only recover ordinary litigation costs if it demonstrates that the plaintiff’s FEHA claims were frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless.  (Williams v. Chino Valley Ind. Fire Distr. (Cal. Sup. Ct. May 4, 2015), … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Rules PAGA Claims Must Be Stayed Pending Outcome of Individual Arbitration on Underlying Individual Wage and Hour Claims

On February 26, 2015, in Franco v. Arakelian Enterprises, Inc., Case No. B232583, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District held that trial court proceedings on claims pursuant to the California Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) (Labor Code § 2698 et seq.) must be stayed pending individual arbitration of the underlying individual wage and … Continue Reading

Enforceability of PAGA Waivers in Arbitration Agreements – The Battle Continues

The battle over whether employees may waive the right to pursue claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) in arbitration continues. The Supreme Court of the United States recently requested a response from ex-Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC employees to Bridgestone’s January 5, 2015 petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the California Supreme Court’s … Continue Reading

Controversial Dynamex Case Regarding Misclassification of Independent Contractors to be Reviewed by California Supreme Court

Employers received a welcome development late last week when the California Supreme Court decided to review the controversial Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (SC S222732/B249546 rev. granted 1/28/15) regarding misclassification of independent contractors. This case is important since it arguably created a different definition of “employee” for determining if an individual is misclassified … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Decision Barring Waiver of Representative Claims is Left Intact by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the California Supreme Court’s decision that representative claims under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) cannot be waived in employment arbitration agreements. Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (Cal. 2014), cert. denied, No. 14-341 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2015). In … Continue Reading

California High Court Rules Sleep Time is Compensable Hours Worked

Holding that “hours worked” under California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Order No. 4-2001 (“Wage Order 4”) include all time spent at the employer’s workplace and under the employer’s control, such as sleep time, the California Supreme Court has ruled that security guards were entitled to compensation for all on-call time, including … Continue Reading

PAGA Waivers may be Enforceable in Federal Courts

In the June 2014 Iskanian decision, the California Supreme Court carved out an exception to the general rule that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are valid, and concluded that the right to bring representative Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) claims cannot be waived through arbitration agreements. PAGA allows individual workers to pursue Labor Code … Continue Reading

California High Court Rules that Franchisors are Not Liable for Workplace Injuries Inflicted By Franchisees’ Employees

In a recent opinion with important implications for California businesses, the California Supreme Court held that franchisors are not vicariously liable for the conduct of employees managed by its franchisees. In Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, et al., the plaintiff, a service employee at a Southern California Domino’s Pizza franchise, alleged that she had been … Continue Reading

Federal Law Does Not Preempt State Unfair Competition Claim, California Supreme Court Rules

A lawsuit against a trucking company for allegedly misclassifying drivers as independent contractors under California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) was not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”), the California Supreme Court has ruled unanimously. P. ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transp., Inc., No. S194388 (Cal. July 28, 2014). The … Continue Reading

Federal Law Does Not Preempt State Unfair Competition Claim, California High Court Rules

In a case alleging misclassification of an independent contractor in the transportation industry, the California Supreme Court has found that the California unfair competition law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) (“UCL”) was not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (Pub. L. No. 103-305 (Aug. 23, 1994) 108 Stat. … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Limits Application of Commission Overtime Exemption for Employer Subject to Wage Order 4 and 7

The California Supreme Court has narrowed application of the “commission exemption” from overtime, dealing employers a setback in Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., No. S204804 (Cal. Jul. 14, 2014). Under Wage Orders 4 and 7, sales employees who earn more than 50 percent of their wages in commission and earn at least 1.5 times … Continue Reading

Undocumented Worker Not Barred from Asserting Discrimination Claims

In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., No. S196568 (Cal. June 26, 2014), the California Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration law did not preempt California law extending employee protections and remedies “regardless of immigration status,” except to the extent it authorized damages for any period after the employer’s discovery of an employee’s ineligibility to … Continue Reading

California Tide is Turning in Favor of Arbitration

In a decision that should not go unnoticed in the wake of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC which rejected prior limitations on class action waivers but held representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act cannot be waived, the California Court of Appeal in Malone v. Superior … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Okays Class Action Waivers and Overrules Gentry v. Superior Court, but Bans Waivers of Representative Actions Under the PAGA

Overruling Gentry v. Superior Court, 42 Cal. 4th 443 (2007) as preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), the California Supreme Court upheld the validity of class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements. Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, No. S204032  (Cal. Jun. 23, 2014).  Declining to follow D.R. Horton, 357 NLRB No. 184 … 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

We’ll always have Harris

In Harris v. City of Santa Monica, 56 Cal. 4th 203 (Cal. 2013), the California Supreme Court ruled that, to prevail in a mixed motive employment discrimination action, the employee must show that unlawful discrimination was a substantial factor motivating the adverse employment decision.  Further, in mixed motive cases, if the employer proves that it … Continue Reading

Public Employer Required To Provide Union With Addresses and Phone Numbers of Union and Non-Union Employees Alike

The California Supreme Court has just ruled that Los Angeles County must provide the union representing its employees under an “agency shop” agreement with the home addresses and telephone numbers of all county employees, including non-union employees. County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Comm’n (Serv. Employees Int’l Union, Local 721), No. S191944 (Cal. May … Continue Reading
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