On December 6, 2019, a coalition of both national and state business organizations and trade associations filed a Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.  The lawsuit seeks both a preliminary and permanent injunction against implementation and enforcement of the recently enacted California law that makes it unlawful for California employers to require employees to sign arbitration agreements, under certain circumstances.
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California Labor Code §2802 requires employers to reimburse employees for all “necessary expenditures” incurred by an employee in the discharge of his or her duties. Business travel expenses fall into this category, as do uniforms, and even the portion of personal cell phone costs that can be attributed to business use.
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The California Labor Code requires employers to reimburse employees for certain expenses, but it’s not always clear which expenses should be reimbursed by the employer, and which expenses should be borne by employees.  Here’s a list of Five Things to Remember About Employee Reimbursements to help California employers navigate this area of the law.
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Claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) are recently much in vogue.  With the proliferation of arbitration agreements and class action waivers, plaintiffs’ attorneys all over California been using PAGA claims – which cannot be waived in an arbitration agreement – as a preferred vehicle to pursue representative wage-and-hour lawsuits against employers.
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The First Appellate District’s recent decision in Subcontracting Concepts, LLC v. DeMelo, A152205 (April 10, 2019) applies well-established unconscionability principles to an arbitration agreement signed by an employee of an independent contractor. The doctrine of unconscionability refers to an absence of meaningful choice with respect to the terms of a contract, usually the result of unequal bargaining power between the parties.
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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, even if the plaintiff employee rejected the employer’s Code of Civil Procedure Section 998 offer to compromise.
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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.
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n AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B285655 (June 25, 2018), 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.
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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.
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