California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: California Labor Code

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November 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Company That Hired Competitor’s Employee Was Not Entitled To Arbitrate Claims Disability Discrimination Claim Was Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment Employee’s Attorney’s “Pervasive Incivility” Justified … Continue Reading

Employee’s Meal and Rest Break PAGA Claims Survive Summary Judgment

Arce v. Ensign Grp., Inc., 96 Cal. App. 5th 622 (2023) Cecilia Arce worked as a certified nursing assistant at a skilled nursing facility. After her employer terminated her, she brought claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) that she worked through meal and rest periods and was not paid premiums she was owed … Continue Reading

Employer Improperly Delayed Pay To Employees Terminated After Onset Of COVID-19

Hartstein v. Hyatt Corp., 82 F.4th 825 (9th Cir. 2023) Karen Hartstein represents a certified class of former Hyatt employees who were laid off after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The class alleged that Hyatt violated California law by failing to pay them immediately for their accrued vacation time and by … Continue Reading

The Case for a PAGA Adequacy Requirement

In Arias v. Superior Court, 46 Cal. 4th 969 (2009), the California Supreme Court ruled that Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) actions need not satisfy class action requirements, and in the fourteen years since, PAGA plaintiffs have routinely (and often successfully) resisted attempts to apply class action principles to PAGA actions.  A recent unpublished California … Continue Reading

In a Surprise Move, California Enacts Boatload of New Pro-Employer Laws – Nah, Just Kidding, It’s Going to be More Burdensome than Ever!

In what has become an annual tradition, California – that fabled workers’ paradise on earth – has enacted a slew of new laws that, come January, may keep even the most hearty HR professionals up at night. As we reported earlier this year (here), the California Chamber of Commerce initially identified 11 “Job Killer Bills” … Continue Reading

Employers Owe No Duty Of Care To Prevent The Spread Of COVID To Employees’ Household Members

Kuciemba v. Victory Woodworks, Inc., 14 Cal. 5th 993 (2023); 74 F.4th 1039 (9th Cir. 2023) The California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that employers are not liable to nonemployees who contract COVID-19 from employee household members who bring the virus home from their workplace, because “[a]n employer does not owe a duty of care under … Continue Reading

Court Affirms $7.1 Million Whistleblower Verdict

Zirpel v. Alki David Prods., Inc., 93 Cal. App. 5th 563 (2023) Karl Zirpel worked as the vice president of operations for Alki David Productions (“ADP”) before the principal of ADP, Alki David, fired him for allegedly disclosing information that Zirpel reasonably believed evidenced a violation of safety standards and for disclosing information about ADP’s … Continue Reading

Disability Leave Is Not “Compensation” Under California Workers’ Compensation Law

California Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab. v. WCAB, 2023 WL 5198517 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, if a worker is injured because of the employer’s serious and willful misconduct, the “compensation” the worker is entitled to receive increases by one half.  The statute defining “compensation” limits the term to benefits or … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Provides Further Support For Staying PAGA Court Actions Pending Arbitration

With Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc. in the books, it is now clear that Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) plaintiffs do not lose standing to pursue representative claims in court when their individual PAGA claims are sent to arbitration.  In Adolph’s wake, disputes may arise regarding whether the representative court action should be stayed pending … Continue Reading

July 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Enforcement of PAGA Carve Out Suggests Need For New Revisions To Arbitration Agreements PAGA Debt Not Dischargeable in Bankruptcy Distributors Not Liable For Unpaid Wages Of … Continue Reading

PAGA Debt Not Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

In re Patacsil, 2023 WL 3964908 (Bankr. E.D. Cal. June 9, 2023) The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) permits aggrieved employees to file representative action to recover civil penalties for Labor Code violations.  The law allocates 75% of any recovery to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) for “enforcement of labor laws” and “education … Continue Reading

Distributors Not Liable For Unpaid Wages Of Agricultural Workers

Morales-Garcia v. Better Produce, Inc., 70 F.4th 532 (9th Cir. 2023) Agricultural laborers who picked strawberries for several growers sued the growers’ distributors, Better Market Produce and Red Blossom Sales, alleging that the distributors were liable for unpaid wages after the growers went bankrupt.  Under Cal. Lab. Code § 2810.3, a company that outsources work … Continue Reading

Exemption of Financial Professionals From ABC Test And Retroactive Application Are Constitutional

Quinn v. LPL Fin. LLC, 91 Cal. App. 5th 370 (2023) Alleging misclassification, John Quinn brought a PAGA action on behalf of a class consisting of securities broker-dealers and investment advisers against his employer LPL Financial.  Quinn brought the PAGA action prior to the enactment of AB 2257, which exempted the occupations identified in Quinn’s PAGA … Continue Reading

Statute Prohibits Employer Retaliation For Report Of Unlawful Activity Even If It’s Already Known To Employer

People ex rel. Garcia-Brower v. Kolla’s, Inc., 14 Cal. 5th 719 (2023) The California Supreme Court has held that an employee who makes a whistleblower complaint to his or her employer may bring a retaliation claim under the whistleblower statute (Cal. Lab. Code § 1102.5(b)) even if the subject of the complaint was already known to … Continue Reading

Don’t Expect to Discharge That PAGA Debt in Bankruptcy

As we have written here on multiple occasions, the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) disadvantages employers in several ways.  Despite permitting recovery similar to what might be obtained in a class action, class certification rules do not apply and it is an open question whether courts can even limit an unmanageable claim before trial.  Plaintiffs … Continue Reading

It May Be Time To Update Those Arbitration Agreements Again!

Back in the “good old days,” arbitration agreements barred just about any type of civil litigation that was filed in court. Then, as we reported in 2014, the California Supreme Court determined that Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) claims are immune from arbitration in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC – which, unsurprisingly, led … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Expands Employee Whistleblower Protections

  The California Supreme Court has held that an employee who makes a whistleblower complaint to his or her employer may bring a retaliation claim under the whistleblower statute (California Labor Code § 1102.5(b)) even if the subject of the complaint was already known.  Previous case law held that an employee whistleblower complaint regarding an … Continue Reading

California Concludes It’s Been Too Hard On Employers, Offers Apology (Nah, Just Kidding!)—A New Raft Of “Job-Killer” Bills Is Heading This Way!

Spring in California can only mean one thing, and no, it’s not Coachella, Dodgers games or even the return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano—it’s the annual release of the California Chamber of Commerce’s list of “Job Killer Bills.” Once again, this list proves that former California Governor Jerry Brown had it right when … Continue Reading

March 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: No Claim By Employee Who Was Friends With Alleged Harasser Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed Employer That Failed To Layoff Employee Before She Became … Continue Reading

Labor Commissioner’s Deposition Subpoena Power Ends Once Wage Citation Issued

Garcia-Brower v. Nor-Cal Venture Grp., Inc., 2023 WL 2421824 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) The Labor Commissioner investigated alleged Labor Code violations at Nor-Cal Venture Group, Inc. and issued a wage citation for $900,000. The employer challenged the citation in an informal hearing and the Commissioner issued a subpoena to depose Nor-Cal’s person most knowledgeable. Nor-Cal … Continue Reading

Good News for Employers: Good Faith Belief of Compliance Precludes Both Final Wage and Wage Statement Penalties

Last summer, we reported here the California Supreme Court ruling that premium payments owed under Labor Code section 226.7 for meal and rest break violations constitute “wages.” The Naranjo et al. v. Spectrum Sec. Servs., Inc., 13 Cal. 5th 93, 102 (2022) decision had significant ramifications because it triggered related obligations for employers to report … Continue Reading

California’s War On The Fast-Food Industry Continues

In the California Legislature’s latest attack on the fast-food industry, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) introduced the Fast Food Franchisor Responsibility Act (“AB 1228”). AB 1228 was introduced shortly after a Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop the controversial Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act or “FAST Recovery Act” (AB … Continue Reading

Court Puts New Controversial Fast-Food Worker Law on Hold

On January 13, 2023, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop the controversial Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act or “FAST Recovery Act” (AB 257) from taking effect, pending a vote by California voters.  Previously, on December 30, 2022, the court had issued a temporary restraining order against the … Continue Reading
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