California’s legislature and courts have acted to curb an employer’s ability to recover its fees and costs when it prevails in a lawsuit brought under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”, Government Code § 12940 et seq.), even if the plaintiff employee rejected the employer’s Code of Civil Procedure Section 998 offer to compromise. Continue Reading California: No Fee Award For Prevailing Employer in FEHA Action Even Where 998 Offer Rejected
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:
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.
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.
In a highly anticipated opinion, a Federal Judge in California ruled in favor of GrubHub, an internet food ordering service, finding it properly classified a delivery driver as an independent contractor.
In Lawson v. GrubHub, the plaintiff, a delivery driver, alleged that GrubHub violated California’s minimum wage, overtime and employee expense reimbursement laws by misclassifying him as an independent contractor when he was really an employee. He brought the case on behalf of himself and as a representative action pursuant to the California Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).
Driven by the wave of publicity surrounding sexual harassment allegations against prominent artists, executives, news anchors, filmmakers and legislators, and the ensuing #MeToo movement, legislators in California and several other states recently have introduced bills designed to prevent such harassment. Below we summarize four bills introduced in the California Senate and Assembly in January 2018. Employer groups have not yet publicly mounted a challenge to any of these bills, and it is not possible to say which, if any, of these bills will move all the way through the legislative process and be signed into law by the Governor.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking to repeal a 2011 rule that significantly impacted the compensation of hospitality workers. Specifically, the NPRM proposes to allow hospitality employers to control the distribution of the tips they pool assuming their employees are paid the full minimum wage. By way of background, the FLSA requires employers to pay employees a minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour) plus overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a single workweek. Employees who “customarily and regularly receive tips” must still receive the minimum wage, but employers may elect to take a “tip credit” by counting up to $5.12 per hour of those employees’ tips toward the minimum wage, meaning employers may pay a reduced wage of $2.13 to tipped employees. Historically, employers that take the tip credit have been prohibited from sharing money from a tip-pooling system to employees who do not traditionally receive direct tips (cooks, dish washers, etc.). In 2011, the DOL extended the tip-pooling prohibition to apply to employers even if they do not take the tip credit and pay their employees the full federal minimum wage.
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) not only prohibits discrimination, harassment and retaliation, but goes a step farther than similar state laws in its explicit requirement that employers take reasonable steps to prevent and correct such conduct. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12940(k). In 2016, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council promulgated regulations which set forth the required elements of a compliant prevention and correction program (2 CCR §§ 11023-11024), and in May 2017 the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) issued a Workplace Harassment Guide (the “Guide”) to clarify further employers’ obligations under these regulations. The Guide, which is notable for its detailed explanation of workplace investigation procedures, can be accessed here.
The Second Circuit recently held that Rite-Aid lawfully fired a long-tenured pharmacist after he refused to comply with the company’s new mandate that pharmacists administer immunizations. The Court’s decision overturned a jury verdict of $2.6 million in the pharmacist’s favor and reminds employers what it takes to show that a given function is “essential” and what accommodations are reasonable. The former pharmacist had claimed Rite-Aid illegally discharged and retaliated against him, and refused to accommodate his disability—trypanophobia, or needle phobia—under the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state law.
Gone are the days when most workers stay at one job for their entire career. Losing key talent to a competitor is one of the biggest challenges many employers face. Hunton & Williams LLP partners Roland Juarez and Emily Burkhardt Vicente discuss strategies that companies across industries can employ to protect themselves from unlawful employee raiding. View the 5-minute video here.