California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Off-the-clock Issues

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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

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

Fire Chief Was Terminated For Misconduct Not Because Of His Religion

Hittle v. City of Stockton, 76 F.4th 877 (9th Cir. 2023) Ronald Hittle served as the City’s Fire Chief before he was fired (following an investigation by an outside investigator) because he lacked effectiveness and judgment in his ongoing leadership of the Fire Department; used City time and a City vehicle to attend a religious … Continue Reading

Employer Must Prove “Substantial Increased Costs” Would Result From Religious Accommodation

Groff v. DeJoy, 600 U.S. ___, 143 S. Ct. 2279 (2023) Gerald Groff, an Evangelical Christian, took a mail delivery job with the USPS at a time when postal service employees were was not required to work on Sundays.  However, when the USPS began facilitating Sunday deliveries for Amazon, he was called upon to work … 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

September 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employers Owe No Duty Of Care To Prevent The Spread Of COVID To Employees’ Household Members School District Employer Did Not Violate The Law By Requiring … Continue Reading

October 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted October 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Hollywood Producer Is Not Liable For Drowning Death Of Executive Assistant Employer May Not Inquire Into Former Employee’s Immigration Status Workers’ Comp Determination Does Not Govern … Continue Reading

Hollywood Producer Is Not Liable For Drowning Death Of Executive Assistant

Musgrove v. Silver, 82 Cal. App. 5th 694 (2022) As part of an entourage of family and friends, a Hollywood producer (Joel Silver) brought his executive assistant (who was employed through Silver’s company) as well as a French chef Silver personally employed to a luxurious resort in Bora Bora, French Polynesia to attend the August … Continue Reading

July 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Supreme Court Recognizes Discrimination Protection For Gay/Transgender Employees Under Title VII Dark Day For Hollywood – Law Prohibiting Online Publication Of Actors’ Ages Is Struck Down … Continue Reading

Trial Court Should Have Scrutinized Declarations Submitted By Employer In Wage Hour Case

Barriga v. 99 Cents Only Stores LLC, 2020 WL 3481717 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Sofia Wilton Barriga filed this lawsuit against her employer, 99 Cents Only, alleging that the “zero-tolerance” policy requiring its stores to lock their doors at closing time forced nonexempt employees such as herself and those similarly situated to wait for as … Continue Reading

May 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Court Reverses $13 Million Gender Discrimination Verdict Entered Against UCLA Court Affirms $2.9 Million Verdict Against Employer That Failed To Obtain Green Card For Employee … Continue Reading

Employees Who Were Required To Call-In Prior To Shift Were Entitled To Reporting-Time Pay

Herrera v. Zumiez, Inc., 953 F.3d 1063 (9th Cir. 2020) Alexa Herrera filed this putative class action against her employer, alleging that Zumiez failed to provide reporting-time pay to employees at its California retail stores for their “Call-In” shifts. Employees scheduled for a Call-In shift were required to make themselves available to work during the … Continue Reading

New Notice Regarding Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault And Stalking Protections

Existing law prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work for specified purposes related to addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This bill requires employers to inform each employee … Continue Reading

Employer Is Not Liable For $885,000 In Damages Caused By Off-Duty Employee

Jorge v. Culinary Inst. of Am., 3 Cal. App. 5th 382 (2016) Leopoldo Jorge, Jr., sued Almir Da Fonseca and his employer, the Culinary Institute of America, for injuries Jorge sustained when he was struck by a car driven by Da Fonseca. Da Fonseca, who is employed as a chef instructor for the Institute, had … Continue Reading

Lawful Shmawful: Ninth Circuit Ignores Lawful Written Policy and Uses Statistical Sampling to Certify Class Based on Alleged “Unofficial Policy”

On September 3, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld certification of a class of approximately 800 nonexempt insurance claims adjusters who claimed they worked overtime without compensation despite the employer’s lawful written policy to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked. In Jimenez v. Allstate Ins. Co., the Ninth Circuit upheld … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Was Properly Granted In Favor Of Employer In Off-The-Clock Overtime Case

Jong v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 226 Cal. App. 4th 391 (2014) Henry Jong, who worked as an hourly Outpatient Pharmacy Manager for Kaiser, claimed he was owed unpaid overtime that was earned from alleged “off-the-clock” hours that Kaiser either knew or should have known he had worked. Jong testified in his deposition that … Continue Reading

Rebuking “Trial by Formula,” Federal Court Decertifies Rule 23(b)(3) Class Action

In Stiller v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 3:09-cv-2473-GPC-BGS, Plaintiffs Eric Stiller and Joseph Moro alleged that Costco’s loss-prevention closing procedures effectively “forced” employees to work off-the clock without getting paid because they were required to remain on-site after they had clocked out of their shifts to go through security screenings. In December 2010, the district court … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Affirms Denial Of Class Certification

As we recently reported here, there have been a number of appellate decisions ordering class certification based on the existence of an employer’s companywide policy – all while overlooking numerous individualized questions that would undoubtedly create manageability problems during trial.  On December 30, 2013, the California Court of Appeal in Johnson v. California Pizza Kitchen, … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Emphasizes Importance of Common Issues in Class Actions

Over the past two weeks, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly underscored the importance of having common questions that are susceptible to common answers in cases where plaintiffs are seeking class certification. Most recently, the Court clarified that this requirement, which has now been considered in both antitrust and employment cases, applies with respect … Continue Reading

Trial Court Erred In Failing To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Overtime And Meal-And-Rest Breaks

Bradley v. Networkers Int’l, LLC, 2012 WL 6182473 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) The three named plaintiffs in this case were among approximately 140 skilled workers retained by Networkers to provide repair and installation services at cell sites. Each worker was required to sign a standard contract, which stated that he or she was an independent … Continue Reading

Employers Need Only Provide (Not Ensure) Meal And Rest Breaks

Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (2012) In this long-awaited opinion, the California Supreme Court determined several important issues of law regarding meal and rest breaks. First and foremost, the Supreme Court determined that “an employer’s obligation is to relieve its employee of all duty, with the employee thereafter at liberty … Continue Reading

Employee Who Complained Orally About FLSA Violation Is Protected From Retaliation

Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., 563 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011) Kevin Kasten alleged that his former employer, Saint-Gobain, terminated his employment because he orally complained to Saint-Gobain about the location of its time clocks, which prevented workers from receiving credit for the time they spent putting on and taking off their … Continue Reading

Employer Need Only Provide, Not Ensure, Meal And Rest Periods

Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 165 Cal. App. 4th 25 (2008) In this case, the Court of Appeal decided a number important issues concerning employee class action claims for alleged rest break violations, meal period and “early lunching” violations and off-the-clock/“time shaving” violations. The Court of Appeal determined the claims were not amenable to … Continue Reading

County Was Not Liable For The Death Of Employee’s Husband (Whom She Murdered)

deVillers v. County of San Diego, 156 Cal. App. 4th 238 (2007) Kristin Rossum, who was employed as a toxicologist for the County of San Diego, took toxic materials from the Office of Medical Examiner (“OME”) and used them to murder her husband, Greg deVillers. After Rossum was convicted of murdering deVillers, his survivors sued … Continue Reading
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