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 to the class members. Palacio v. Jan & Gail’s Care Homes, Inc. Specifically, the Court ruled that the residential care facility did not need to inform employees whom it required to waive their right to uninterrupted meal periods and eat their meals with the residents under Section 11(E) of Wage Order 5, that the employees could revoke the waiver at any time under Section 11(A).
Continue Reading No Class Action for Residential Care Facility Employees Over On-Duty Meal Periods

In Sharif v. Mehusa, Inc., (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Oct. 14, 2015) 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 897, plaintiff brought three claims for unpaid overtime, unpaid wages, and violation of California’s Equal Pay Act against her former employer. At trial, plaintiff only succeeded on her Equal Pay Act claim and was awarded $26,300. As the prevailing party under the Equal Pay Act claim, plaintiff filed a motion for attorney’s fees seeking $280,432, based on a $140,216 loadstar with a multiplier of two.
Continue Reading Plaintiff and Defendant Are “Prevailing Parties” in Same Action

This week, in Aro v. Legal Recovery Law Offices, Inc., California Court of Appeal affirmed an intentional infliction of emotional distress award in favor of two employees who were pressured into taking a random, “on-demand” drug test.

The facts

Prior to the drug test at issue, the employer provided employees a revised 2011 employee manual stating, in pertinent part, that the Company reserves the right to test employees for the use of illegal drugs or alcohol where an employee’s job carriers a risk of injury or accident, or after an accident or probable cause. The Plaintiffs were provided the revised handbook containing the drug test policy by e-mail. However, when they asked what changes were made to the handbook, management advised that they should read it and “figure it out” themselves.
Continue Reading Employer to Pay for Emotional Distress Triggered by Random Workplace Drug Testing

Reversing a trial court’s awarding of a $90 million judgment in a class action case for alleged rest period violations under California law, the California Court of Appeal has ruled that a security company had provided its security guards with proper rest periods, even though they were required to remain “on call” during those breaks.

A new case from the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, Ruiz v. Moss Bros. Auto Group, Inc., was certified for publication on December 23, 2014, and addresses an area of interest for many employers – electronic signatures on arbitration agreements. Employers must build safeguards into such systems  to be able to prove the employee electronically signed the document. To view the Court’s opinion, click here.

In the Ruiz case, an employer filed a petition to compel arbitration of the employment-related claims.  The trial court denied the petition on the ground that the employer failed to meet its burden of proving the parties had an agreement to arbitrate the controversy. The employer could not establish to the court’s satisfaction that the employee signed the agreement.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 1281.2.)  
Continue Reading Employer Could Not Establish Sufficient Evidence to Prove Employee Signed an Arbitration Agreement through an Electronic Signature

The Second Appellate District of California recently held that a third party must comply with a subpoena requesting data in a format different than the manner in which the data was maintained where the requesting party offered to pay the reasonable cost of translating the data into the requested form.  In Daniel Vasquez v. California School of Culinary Arts, Inc., the appeal was between plaintiffs in a putative class action, and third party, Sallie Mae, Inc.  Sallie Mae was previously involved in the litigation, but had been dismissed from the action at the time of the subpoena in question.  The case involved a putative class action of culinary students who sought records of their student loans from Sallie Mae.
Continue Reading Data Production in Different Form than Maintained was Required Where Requesting Party Offered to Pay Reasonable Cost Under Pre-2013 Employment Records Subpoena