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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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24 Apr 2017 California Supreme Court Throws Down the Gauntlet on Arbitration Waivers

  The California Supreme Court is no stranger to invalidating mandatory arbitration provisions. Recently, however, the court lay down yet another challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion case, holding that an arbitration agreement that waives the right to public injunctive relief is unenforceable under California law.   In the case, McGill v. Citibank, N.A., Sharon McGill alleged that Citbank engaged in illegal and deceptive practices in marketing a credit insurance plan she purchased. She filed a class action suit under…

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05 Apr 2016 Ok…Are You Sitting Down?

More than five years ago, the California plaintiffs’ bar launched a series of lawsuits against various retailers alleging that they were violating a part of the California wage orders that require suitable seating to be available to workers. For the mercantile industry, the regulations require:   (A) All working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.   (B) When employees are not engaged in the active duties of their employment and the nature…

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28 Apr 2015 Not so Fast: ‘No-Rehire’ Clauses Could be a Restraint on Trade

It is common practice that most employers settling with former employees include a clause in said settlement or separation agreements saying that the employee would never reapply to the company and was also not eligible for rehire. However, there is not clear authority saying those actual clauses are legally permissible. A divided Ninth Circuit panel has recently held that such clauses may constitute an unlawful restraint of trade under California law. As such, employers should give serious consideration and thought to including a pro forma “no re-hire” provision…

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30 Jan 2015 Are You Relying on Electronic Signatures for Employment Documents?

The California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, in Ruiz v. Moss Bros. Auto Group, Inc., recently affirmed an order denying a petition to compel arbitration where the employer failed to present sufficient evidence that the employee electronically signed an arbitration agreement. In Ruiz, Plaintiff Ernesto Ruiz filed a putative class action complaint alleging various wage and hour violations by his employer, Moss Bros. The company filed a petition to compel arbitration of Mr. Ruiz’s individual claims based on an arbitration agreement the Company claimed he electronically…

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09 Jan 2015 On Break, But Still on Call: “On Call” Rest Breaks are Permissible Under California Law

On Dec. 31, 2014, the California Court of Appeal, Second District reversed a $94 million judgment in a wage-and-hour class action against ABM Industries Incorporated (ABM) in Augustus et al. v. ABM Security Services Inc.  The judgment was initially granted by a California trial court in 2012. ABM appealed the damages award, which was granted on summary judgment in a set of consolidated class actions alleging ABM’s policy of requiring security guards to carry a radio during their breaks effectively put them “on call” during…

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05 Jan 2015 California Class Action an Occasion for All Employers to Review Vacation Practices LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

Many employers will have noted the decision last month where a federal court in California held that approximately 65,000 class members could maintain a class action against J.C. Penney’s under California law. That lawsuit challenges the company’s policy that employees forfeit accrued vacation benefits on termination. The issue in this decision was whether the plaintiffs met the commonality tests that allow a matter to be advanced as a class action rather than as a series of individual actions – individual actions that likely would not…

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22 Aug 2014 California Governor Signs Bills Impacting California Wage Suits

  California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills earlier this week intended to clarify California’s wage laws. The first of these bills, A.B. 2074, clarifies the statute of limitations to file suit for liquidated damages in relation to a violation of California’s minimum wage payment law. Specifically, existing law allows an employee to bring a civil lawsuit against an employer for the unpaid balance of wages/compensation owed to that individual, as well as to recover liquidated damages equal to unpaid wages plus interest in an…

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08 Aug 2014 Ninth Circuit FAAAA Meal and Rest Period Preemption Decision Appealed

  As we discussed here, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled last month in Dilts v. Penske Logistics (Dilts) that California meal and rest period laws are not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA).  The FAAAA  provides that  “States may not enact or enforce a law . . . related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property.”  49 U.S.C. § 14501.  In Dilts, while the lower court…

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14 Jul 2014 9th Circuit Rules that the FAAAA Does Not Preempt California Meal and Rest Period Laws

  In a set back for motor-carrier industry employers in California, the 9th Circuit ruled on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (the FAAAA) does not preempt California meal and rest break law. In Dilts v. Penske Logistics,  a three member panel of the  9th Circuit overruled a lower court that had found that the FAAAA, which provides “States may not enact or enforce a law . . . related to a price, route or service of any motor carrier . ….

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01 Jul 2014 New California Employment Laws Take Effect on July 1, 2014—Increased Minimum Wage, Expanded Paid Family Leave and Further Limits on Background Checks

  California employers should be prepared to comply with several new laws that take effect on July 1, 2014. These new laws will increase California’s minimum wage from $8.00 to $9.00 per hour, expand the list of family members for whose care employees are eligible to receive Paid Family Leave wage-replacement benefits and further limit the background checks that state and local agencies can perform.  A more complete description of the new laws taking effect on July 1, 2014, can be found here.     Rachel SegalRachel…

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