California Employment Law Update

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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

Once Again, Employer Loses Right To Arbitrate By Failing To Timely Pay Arbitration Fees

Doe v. Superior Court, 95 Cal. App. 5th 346 (2023) An anonymous employee sued her former employer and former manager, alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment and assault. The former employer successfully compelled the case to arbitration. The deadline for the employer to pay the arbitration fees pursuant to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1281.98(a)(1) … 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

Lawyer-Investigators Recover Attorneys’ Fees Following Successful Anti-SLAPP Motion

Ross v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 96 Cal. App. 5th 722 (2023) Plaintiff Natalie Operstein was a professor of linguistics at California State University, Fullerton, and plaintiff Craig Ross is her husband. In 2014, the university hired a law firm to investigate multiple accusations Operstein raised to her superiors about three of Operstein’s colleagues. Defendant Colleen Regan, … Continue Reading

Employees Were Properly Awarded $7.2 Million For Employer’s Breach Of Contract

Park v. NMSI, Inc., 96 Cal. App. 5th 616 (2023) Julie Park and Danny Chung sued their former employer (NMSI, Inc., a residential mortgage lender) for $7.2 million in profit sharing and related amounts associated with NMSI’s alleged breach of contract, which the trial court granted in the form of prejudgment right to attach orders. NMSI … Continue Reading

Employee’s Attorney’s “Pervasive Incivility” Justified $460,000 Reduction In Fees

Snoeck v. ExakTime Innovations, Inc., 2023 WL 7014096 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Steve Snoeck prevailed at trial on one of his six claims against his former employer, ExakTime Innovations, and was awarded $1.14 million in attorney’s fees – an amount that the trial court reduced by a “0.4 negative multiplier” to account for Snoeck’s attorney’s … Continue Reading

Disability Discrimination Claim Was Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Martin v. Board of Trustees of the Cal. State Univ., 2023 WL 7537694 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Following the termination of his employment as director of university communications at CSUN’s Marketing and Communications Department, Jorge Martin sued the university for race, gender and sexual orientation harassment and discrimination because he is a “middle-aged, light-skinned Mexican-American, … Continue Reading

Company That Hired Competitor’s Employee Was Not Entitled To Arbitrate Claims

Mattson Tech., Inc. v. Applied Materials, Inc., 2023 WL 7180167 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Canfeng Lai worked for many years at Applied Materials before submitting his resignation to begin a new job at Mattson Technology (one of Applied’s competitors). First, however, Lai allegedly emailed himself a number of files containing Applied’s trade secrets. In response, … Continue Reading

Principal Of Former Employer Liable Based On Alter Ego Theory

Hacker v. Fabe, 92 Cal. App. 5th 1267 (2023) In 2005, attorney Jacqueline Fabe filed claim for unpaid wages against her employer with the Labor Commissioner.  Her employer then filed a malpractice suit against Fabe, and Fabe in response filed a retaliation suit with the Labor Commissioner.  Fabe and the Labor Commissioner later won on … Continue Reading

Nurse May Proceed With Class Certification On Wage Statement Claim

Woodworth v. Loma Linda Univ. Med. Ctr., 93 Cal. App. 5th 1038 (2023) Nicole Woodworth was a registered nurse at Loma Linda University Medical Center from December 2011 to June 2014.  In June 2014, she filed a putative class action against Loma Linda, alleging various wage and hour claims on behalf of herself and other … 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

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

COVID-19 Emergency Order Extending Statute Of Limitations For Civil Cases Upheld

LaCour v. Marshalls of Cal., LLC, 2023 WL 5543622 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Plaintiff Robert LaCour, a former “loss prevention specialist” for Marshalls, appealed from a judgment in favor of his former employer and certain affiliated entities.  Marshalls filed a demurrer arguing that because LaCour’s employment with Marshalls ended in May 2019, he had only … 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
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