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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

This opinion reverses an electrician's $12.6 million judgment for injuries he sustained due to a defective roof access hatch which was defective and slammed shut on his back herniating several discs.  The Privette doctrine barred the plaintiff's recovery.  He was a worker employed by a licensed contractor whom the property owner had hired.  The defects in the roof hatch were… Read More

Without deciding between CalOSHA's two tests for employer liability for harmfully exposing employees to atmospheric contaminant--i.e., the "harmful exposure" standard which requires proof of exposure to airborne contaminant that actually result in or have a probability of resulting in illness, or the "zone of danger" standard (i.e., that it is reasonably predictable by operational necessity or otherwise, including inadvertence, that… 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 en banc opinion reverses a summary judgment the district court had granted the University of Arizona in a Title IX sex harassment claim based on a sexual assault by a male student on a football scholarship against a woman student in off-campus housing.  To obtain damages under Title IX for student-on-student harassment, a plaintiff must show (1) that the… Read More

When COVID shutdown its hotels, Hyatt temporarily furloughed many of its employees.  This decision holds that Hyatt violated Lab. Code 201 and 227.3 by failing to pay the furloughed workers their accrued but unpaid vacation pay at the time they were furloughed.  Under California law, a temporary layoff, with no specified return date within the normal pay period, is treated… Read More

Plaintiff was employed by defendant.  While on a lunch break, he was hit by a pickup truck as he crossed a street near the store where he worked. He returned to work where he was given some minor first aid and then driven home, where it died.  This decision holds that the Worker's Compensation Act provides plaintiff's sole remedy against… Read More

Following both Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (2022) 142 S.Ct. 1906 and Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (2023) 14 Cal.5th 1104, this decision holds that the plaintiff must arbitrate PAGA claims that arise from Labor Code violations that affected him, but may pursue in court PAGA claims that arise from Labor Code violations affecting only other employees, not himself. Read More

A prior PAGA suit against the same employer did not have claim preclusive effect as to all potential PAGA suits against the employer, nor could the release in the judicially approved agreement settling the prior suit enforceably release all potential PAGA claims against the employer.  Instead, the prior plaintiff's authority to represent the state in suing under PAGA was governed… Read More

Gov. Code 12926(d) states that, for purposes of the FEHA, the term “ ‘[e]mployer’ includes any person regularly employing five or more persons, or any person acting as an agent of an employer, directly or indirectly . . . .”  This decision holds that the quoted language allows the employer's agent to be held primarily liable for its own violation… Read More

Evid. Code 1106 prohibits admission of specific instances of plaintiff's sexual conduct to prove the plaintiff's consent or lack of injury from alleged sexual harassment, assault or battery.  A "plaintiff's sexual conduct" includes involuntary as well as voluntary sexual conduct (such as a subsequent sexual assault by a different perpetrator). While evidence of sexual conduct otherwise excludable under 1106(a) may,… Read More

Under Wage Order No. 5, a hospital may obtain an affirmative defense to a claim for overtime pay by securing a 2/3ds affirmative vote of the workers in the unit to an alternative work schedule so long as the employer first makes full disclosure of the effects that the alternative work schedule will have and fulfills various other procedural requirements. … Read More

Following Rittmann v., Inc. (9th Cir. 2020) 971 F.3d 904, this decision holds that drivers who drove goods from in-state warehouses to Domino's franchisees in California are workers engaged in interstate commerce within the meaning of the exception to the FAA's scope.  These drivers handled the last stage of transportation of the goods from out-of-state sources to the California… Read More

This decision affirms a $7 million judgment, including $6 million in punitive damages, against an employer for firing plaintiff in violation of Lab. Code 1102.5(c) (which prohibits adverse employment action in retaliation for a refusal to work reasonably perceived to violate a local, state or federal rule or regulation) and 232.5 (which prohibits retaliation for reporting working coinditions).  Plaintiff was… Read More

Lab. Code 2802 requires an employer to reimburse employees for expenses they incurred in working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It does not matter that the state's emergency stay-at-home caused the employees to work from home rather than in an office.  Lab. Code 2802 contains no causation requirement or excuse.  Rather the section requires an employer to reimburse employees… Read More

While the Rowland factors' foreseeability factors weigh in favor of imposing a duty of care on employers to take safety measures to prevent employees from contracting COVID-19 and transmitting the disease to family members and others, the public policy factors weigh against finding such a duty of care and they outweigh the foreseeability factors.  Recognizing liability would create staggering risk… Read More

Defendant employer did not pay its arbitration fees within 30 days after their due date.  Under CCP 1287.98, plaintiff therefore had and exercised the right to withdraw his claim from arbitration and pursue it in court.  The arbitrator or arbitration administrator had no power to avoid the effect of defendant's nonpayment by extending the due date after defendant's default.  Also,… Read More

Under Title VII (42 USC 2000e(j)), an employer must accommodate an employee's religious observance practice unless it is unable to do so without undue hardship in the conduct of the employer's business.  Undue hardship requires substantially more than "more than de minimus cost."  Instead, to establish "undue hardship," an employer must show is that the burden of granting an accommodation… Read More

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