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Summary judgment on plaintiff's discrimination in employment claims was properly granted because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with the FEHA and EEOC.  His administrative complaint mentioned entirely different grounds (sex and whistleblower retaliation by his supervisor) than his court complaint (sexual harassment, race, immigration status and retaliation  by coworkers).  Employees satisfy the administrative exhaustion requirement if their court… Read More

Plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement when she was initially employed by defendant on an at-will basis.  That period of employment ended.  Plaintiff was rehired four months after terminating her original employment.  On rehiring plaintiff, defendant did not require her to sign a new arbitration agreement or say anything about reviving the old one.  Held, the trial court's conclusion that there… Read More

Lab. Code 1194(a) provides that in a suit for unpaid minimum wages, an employee is entitled to recover the unpaid wages as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs.  This provision conflicts with CCP 1033(a) which grants trial courts discretion to deny costs when the plaintiff recovers less than the maximum awardable in a limited jurisdiction case.  This decision determines… Read More

This decision holds that under Wage Order 16: (1) time spent awaiting and undergoing an employer-mandated exit security procedure that includes the employer’s visual inspection of the employee’s personal vehicle at a security gate is compensable hours worked because it is an employer-mandated task for the employer's benefit.  (2) Time spent traveling between the security gate and the employee parking… Read More

The FAA's exemption for contracts of employment for workers in interstate and foreign commerce applied to plaintiff who worked in a warehouse in California which served as a transhipping depot for Adidas products which arrived at the warehouse from foreign countries, were stored temporarily at the warehouse before being loaded on trucks for distribution to local retailers.  Though plaintiff transported… Read More

Contrary to prior Second Circuit rulings, this decision holds that a plaintiff alleging retaliation in violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's provision (18 U. S. C. §1514A(a)) prohibiting retaliation against employees for engaging in protected whistleblowing activity need not plead or prove that the retaliating employer acted with retaliatory intent.  The employee's prima facie case need merely show that his protected… Read More

Federal statutes are presumed to apply only domestically--within the US's territorial jurisdiction. The presumption is applied in a two-step framework.  First, the court asks if Congress has affirmatively and unmistakably instructed that the provision at issue should apply to foreign conduct. Second, if Congress has not done so, the court asks whether the suit seeks to apply the statute domestically… Read More

Under 9 U.S.C. 402(a), a pre-dispute arbitration agreement is not enforceable to require arbitration (or waive a class action) on a claim for sexual harassment or assault under state or federal law.  Section 402 became effective on March 3, 2022 and applies to all disputes which arise after that date.  This decision holds that a "dispute" does not arise when… Read More

After successfully moving to compel arbitration of Suarez's wage-and-hour claim, the defendant employer failed to pay its share of the initial arbitration fee.  This decision grants the employee's petition to vacate the order denying his motion to withdraw the dispute from arbitration on the ground that non-payment of the fee within 30 days of its due date was a breach… Read More

Employment, , 1, 1 Trial courts lack inherent authority to strike PAGA claims on manageability grounds.  Trial courts do not generally possess a broad inherent authority to dismiss claims.  Nor is it appropriate for trial courts to strike PAGA claims by employing class action manageability requirements.  Trial courts may use a vast variety of tools to efficiently manage PAGA claims,… Read More

This decision affirms an order denying an employer's motion to compel arbitration.  The arbitration provision purported to require arbitration of all disputes, but prohibit any form of representative action.  Following Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (2023) 14 Cal.5th 1104, such a clause is unenforceable as to PAGA claims involving Labor Code violations not suffered by the individual plaintiff.  Because the… Read More

A staffing company is not itself a "laborer" under Civ. Code 9100 and so is not entitled to claim a mechanic's lien or payment under a payment bond on a public project.  The statutory definition of those entitled to claim changed after Contractors Labor Pool, Inc. v. Westway Contractors, Inc. (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 152 was decided and the statute no… Read More

The San Francisco Fire Department and San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency are departments of the City and County of San Francisco, not independent public agencies.  Hence, a fireman was a city employee and when he was injured by an MTA bus driver who drove through an active fire scene, severing a fire hose which caused the fireman serious injuries, the… Read More

This decision holds that some but not all claims for retaliation for whistleblowing activities, in violation of Lab. Code 1102.5, are not intentional acts for which insurance defense and indemnity is barred by Ins. Code 533.  In particular, under Lab. Code 1102.5(c), an employee is protected if he refuses to perform work duties if doing so is actually (not just… Read More

In this sex harassment case, the Court of Appeal reverses a denial of plaintiff's new trial motion, finding that the trial court erred in failing to exclude the contents of complaints co-workers lodged against plaintiff.  The fact that co-workers had complained about plaintiff was relevant since the complaints provided a possible motive for plaintiff to fabricate her own sex harassment… Read More

Effective in 2019, Gov. Code 12923 "clarified" the law regarding hostile work environment sexual harassment claims.  The section states that summary judgment should rarely be granted on such claims.  In addition, it provides that even a single incident can be sufficient to support a hostile work environment claim "if the harassing conduct has unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance… Read More

A district court order was immediately appealable insofar as it prohibited the defendant employer from communicating with workers about this opt-in FLSA action or soliciting them not to join the action, but not insofar as it voided the agreements that the employer had solicited from workers releasing FLSA claims or agreeing not to join the action.  The appealable portion of… Read More

Civ. Code 51.9 prohibits sexual harassment in business, service or professional relationships, carrying over FEHA's ban on workplace sex harassment into this different context.  As under FEHA, sex harassment can consist of quid pro quo harassment or hostile environment harassment.  Here, plaintiff alleged enough to allow a reasonable inference that the women's soccer coach subjected team members, including plaintiff, to… Read More

Seyfarth was hired to investigate a professor's claim that she was discriminated against by Cal. State University Fullerton.  It performed the investigation and submitted a report to the university administration concluding there was no merit to the professor's claims. After unsuccessfully suing a host of other defendants, the professor sued Seyfarth, claiming the report and investigation were biased, etc.  Seyfarth… Read More

This decision reverses a summary judgment in favor of the defendant employer against the plaintiff employee nurse who sued individually and under PAGA for violation of Labor Code sections on rest and meal breaks and payment of all wages due on termination.  The employer failed to meet its burden of proving plaintiff's claims were time barred.  While she may not… Read More

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