California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: California Supreme Court

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Is the California Supreme Court Going to Throw Employers a Bone on PAGA?

On November 8, 2023, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in Estrada v. Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc., a case that could have profound implications for the future of Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) litigation.  The Court granted review in order to decide whether courts have the power to strike or limit PAGA claims that … 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

Business Entity Agents Of Employer Share Potential FEHA Liability

Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Med. Group, 2023 WL 5341067 (Cal. S. Ct. 2023) The Ninth Circuit certified to the California Supreme Court the question of whether FEHA’s definition of “employer” extends to corporate agents of the employer such as a company that conducts preemployment medical screenings.  In this putative class action, plaintiffs allege that their … Continue Reading

PAGA Plaintiffs May Maintain Representative Claims In Court After Individual Claims Are Compelled To Arbitration

Adolph v. Uber Techs., Inc., 14 Cal. 5th 1104 (2023) After months of anticipation, the California Supreme Court answered “yes” to the critical question of whether “aggrieved” PAGA plaintiffs retain their standing to pursue representative claims in court after their individual claims have been compelled to arbitration. Erik Adolph worked as a driver for Uber, … Continue Reading

Organizations May Sue Employers Based On Time Spent Opposing Unfair Competition

Under the unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq., a plaintiff may bring a cause of action for any “unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice.” Generally, a UCL claim will be brought as a violation of rules set out in other laws or may be brought for … Continue Reading

Adolph Parts With Viking River, Opening Path for Arbitration-Bound Plaintiffs to Pursue PAGA Claims in Court

On July 17, 2023, approximately one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Viking River Cruises, the California Supreme Court issued its highly-anticipated decision in Adolph v. Uber Technologies.  The Court answered the critical question of whether a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) plaintiff retains their standing to pursue non-individual claims after their … 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

Enforcement of PAGA Carve Out Suggests Need For New Revisions To Arbitration Agreements

Duran v. EmployBridge Holding Co., 92 Cal. App. 5th 59 (2023) 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 to an avalanche of PAGA claims being filed as plaintiffs’ lawyers scrambled to make their cases … 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

Crisis Averted: California Employers Are Not Liable for “Take-Home” COVID Cases.

Last week, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that employers are not liable to nonemployees who contract COVID-19 from employee household members that bring the virus home from their workplace, because “[a]n employer does not owe a duty of care under California law to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to employees’ household members.”  Kuciemba v. … Continue Reading

What Appellate Courts Are Missing About PAGA Standing After Viking River Cruises

The California Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument for May 9, 2023 in Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc., a closely watched case that concerns whether a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) plaintiff loses standing to pursue a representative claim when their individual PAGA claim is compelled to arbitration.  This question was left open by the blockbuster … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds That Meal And Rest Break Premiums Must Include All Forms Of Remuneration (Not Just Base Hourly Rate)

On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, in which it held that meal and rest break premiums required under California Labor Code section 226.7 (“Section 226.7”) must be paid at non-exempt employees’ regular rate of pay—not merely their base hourly rate.  The decision, which … Continue Reading
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