California Developments

When negotiating a settlement agreement in an employment dispute, “no rehire” language is often a standard term.  This language typically bars the litigating employee from seeking re-employment with the former employer.  However, in California, at least one “no rehire” provision was invalidated because it was not narrowly tailored to the employer at issue.

In Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group (“CEP”), CEP terminated Dr. Golden’s employment, and he subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination.  The parties settled Dr. Golden’s claims, and CEP included a “no rehire” provision in the settlement agreement.  The provision states:

Continue Reading “No Rehire” Language in Settlement Agreement Found Unlawful Where Not Narrowly Tailored

The California Supreme Court has ruled that California employers cannot rely on the federal de minimis doctrine to avoid claims for unpaid wages on small amounts of time.   Under the de minimis doctrine, employers may be excused from paying workers for small amounts of otherwise compensable time if the work is irregular and administratively difficult to record.  Federal Courts have frequently found that daily periods of approximately 10 minutes are de minimis even though otherwise compensable.

In Troester v. Starbucks Corporation, the California Supreme Court held that California wage and hour laws have not adopted the FLSA’s de minimis doctrine.  As a result, Starbucks was not permitted to avoid paying an employee who regularly spent several minutes per shift working off-the-clock.  The Supreme Court acknowledged, however, that there may be circumstances involving “employee activities that are so irregular or brief in duration that it would not be reasonable to require employers to compensate employees for the time spent on them.”

Continue Reading FLSA De Minimis Defense Does Not Apply to California Wage Claims

California was one of the leading states to tackle pay discrimination by banning inquiries into salary history.  California Labor Code Section 432.2, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, prohibits public and private employers from seeking or relying upon the salary history of applicants for employment.  But some of the law’s terms were undefined and some of the provisions were unclear, so after Section 432.2 went into effect, employers had questions about how to remain compliant with the law when hiring new employees.

Continue Reading California Clarifies Its Law Banning Inquiries into Applicants’ Salary History

In AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B285655 (June 25, 2018) (“AHMC Healthcare”), California’s Second District Court of Appeals upheld an employer’s use of a payroll system that automatically rounds employee time up or down to the nearest quarter hour.  Although the California Supreme Court has not yet addressed this issue, AHMC Healthcare aligns with decisions from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, many federal district courts, and California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals, which also upheld time-rounding practices.

Continue Reading Time-Rounding Systems Endorsed by California Court Despite Net Loss to Named Plaintiffs

The Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2), confers federal subject matter removal jurisdiction over purported class actions filed in state court when, among other things, there is an amount-in-controversry (“AIC”) exceeding $5,000,000.  Deciding whether a class action can be properly removed under CAFA typically turns on whether this high jurisdictional threshold can be met.

Continue Reading Class Action Fairness Act: Determining the “Amount in Controversy” in California

The Supreme Court of California has ruled that a general liability insurer must defend an employer against allegations of employee misconduct, reinforcing the breadth of (1) what constitutes an “occurrence” under an employer’s commercial general liability (CGL) policy and (2) the duty to defend regarding claims for negligent hiring, retention and supervision.

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New regulations addressing national origin discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) go into effect on July 1, 2018 – are you ready?  The regulations expand the definition of “national origin,” make language restrictions presumptively unlawful, and limit an employer’s ability to verify immigration status, among other significant changes. Continue Reading California’s New Regulations Expand National Origin Protections

In a time when workplace violence seems to be on the rise, many companies have adopted a strict no tolerance policy even for conduct outside the workplace.  In California, however, employers need to be cognizant of the protections afforded individuals that may make such terminations riskier than the company may expect.  One employer got just such a reminder last week when a California jury returned an $18M verdict against it for terminating an employee after he was arrested for threatening his girlfriend outside of the workplace.

Continue Reading Terminating an Employee Arrested for Off-Duty Conduct Could Run Afoul of California Law

There may be some changes coming to how California enforces its antidiscrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  In February 2017, a bill (Senate Bill 491) was introduced in the California Senate proposing to allow local government entities to enforce antidiscrimination statutes.

Continue Reading California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing Will Study Local Enforcement of State Employment Anti-Discrimination Law