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California Supreme Court Grants PAGA Plaintiffs Right to Broad Discovery of Employee Contact Information

The California Supreme Court dealt another blow to employers defending wage and hour litigation in California by ruling that PAGA plaintiffs do not need to show good cause to justify broad discovery of the names and contact information of all potentially aggrieved employees at the outset of the case. In Williams v. Superior Court (Marshalls of California), the plaintiff filed a representative claim under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) against Marshalls on behalf of all non-exempt California employees alleging various labor code violations. Early in the litigation, the plaintiff sought the names, contact information and employment history for all approximately.... Read More >

Arbitration Waivers May Keep Employers Out of Labor Commissioner Hearings

Many employers require employees to sign agreements that waive their right to bring a case in state court and agree to bring any claims through arbitration. Such agreements are generally enforceable as long as they contain required language. The question in this case is whether these contracts are enforceable when an employee files a claim with the Labor Commissioner instead of in state court. Recently, an auto mechanic filed a wage claim for $100,000 with the California Labor Commissioner against his former employer. The employer tried to enforce the arbitration provision contained in an agreement with the employee to avoid.... Read More >

Liability for Retaliation Claims Against an Employer Includes “Any Person”

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal recently held that an employer’s attorney could be liable for retaliation after he reported an undocumented employee in a wage and hour claim to the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency. (Arias v. Raimondo (9th Cir. June 22, 2017, No. 15-16120), 2017 WL 2676771.) In Arias v. Raimondo, the employee, Arias, sued his former employer’s attorney, Raimondo, because the attorney reported Arias to ICE to take him into custody at his deposition in his wage and hour case against his employer, Angelo Dairy. Arias sued Raimondo for retaliation claiming Raimondo acted as an agent of.... Read More >

Employer Friendly PAGA Representative Decision

Back in May, the California Supreme Court clarified an employer’s obligation to provide its employees with a weekly day of rest when employees filed a suit against Nordstrom. (Read the article here.) After the Court held that Nordstrom did not violate the Labor Code because the employees did not work more than six consecutive days in any Nordstrom workweek, the employees circled back for one more try at their claims under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA). PAGA allows an aggrieved employee to bring a claim on behalf of himself or herself and other current or former employees to recover.... Read More >

Attention Small Businesses: Gender Pricing Discrimination Law Updated

California enacted the Small Business Gender Discrimination in Services Compliance Act (Assembly Bill Number 1615) at the end of July, which expands existing law regarding prohibition on gender-based pricing discrimination. The existing law prohibits a business from discriminating on the basis of a person’s gender with respect to the price charged for services of similar or like kind. However, a business may charge different prices based specifically upon the amount of time, difficulty, or cost of providing the service. Specified business, including tailors, barbers and hair salons, and dry cleaners and laundries providing services to individuals, are required to: Post.... Read More >

Employee Day of Rest

Last week, the California Supreme Court clarified an employer’s obligation to provide its employees with a weekly day of rest. This clarification required interpretation of the Labor Code provision which prohibits an employer from “caus[ing] his employees to work more than six days in seven.” This issue arose when a Nordstrom employee filed a suit alleging that Nordstrom caused him to work more than six days consecutive days when his supervisor asked him to fill in for another employee. The Court agreed with Nordstrom that an employee may be required to work more than six consecutive days, as long as.... Read More >

Employer Liable for Employee Accident on Drive to Work

The law continues to evolve in answering the question of when an employer is held liable for an employee’s actions. The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior” imposes liability on employers for actions of their employees. The purpose of the doctrine is three fold: (1) to encourage accident prevention; (2) to allow an innocent person to be more likely to collect damages; and (3) to encourage employers to protect against risk by obtaining insurance and spreading those costs over the entire business. Last month, the California court took another look at a situation in which an employee collided with a motorcycle.... Read More >

Paying Employee Based on Prior Salary: Violation of Equal Pay Laws?

When a Fresno female math teacher discovered that the County was paying her less than her male counterparts for the same work, she filed a suit under the Equal Pay Act. For the female teacher to be successful in this suit, she must only show that she is receiving different wages for equal work. Once the she establishes this relatively simple fact, the County must show that the wage disparity is permitted by one of the four exceptions to the Equal Pay Act: (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or.... Read More >

Commission/Piece-Rate Contracts Game Changer: Employers Must Pay Employees for Rest Breaks

At the end of March, the California Court of Appeal found that employee compensation plans must separately account and pay for rest periods to comply with California law. This decision directly affects employers who compensate employees through commission or piece-rate compensation plans. The employer in this recent case compensated its employees through commission plans that multiplied weekly sales by an applicable commission rate and paid that amount if it exceeded the minimum contractual rate of $12/hour. For sales associates whose commissions did not exceed the minimum rate in a given week, the company clawed back wages advanced to compensate employees.... Read More >

Hugging is Considered Sexual Harassment?

The 9th Circuit court has further defined what constitutes a “hostile work environment” with regards to sexual harassment. In a recent case, a Yolo County correctional officer claimed that the country sheriff, who oversaw more approximately 250 employees, created a hostile work environment by hugging her over one hundred times and kissing her once during her employment from 1999 to 2012. Originally, the trial court granted judgment in favor of the sheriff. However, the correctional officer appealed the decision and the appellate court has recently overturned the trial court’s decision. An employer is liable under Title VII for conduct giving.... Read More >

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