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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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.     BT CurrentsBT…

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09 Jan 2014 Against the Anchorman: California Court of Appeal Deems Hiring Young, Female Weather Anchors a Protected Exercise of Free Speech

In a recent opinion, a California Court of Appeal held that a television broadcasting company’s decisions to hire young, female weather anchors constituted free speech in connection with a matter of public interest and was thus protected by California’s anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“anti-SLAPP”) statute.  Like anti-SLAPP statutes in other states, California’s anti-SLAPP statute was enacted to stop lawsuits brought to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. In Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting,…

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06 Dec 2013 California Court of Appeals Overturns Superior Court Denial of Class Certification

A California Court of Appeal issued a decision that should serve as a cautionary tale for defendants in California class actions. The appellate court overturned a Superior Court judge’s decision denying class certification in a an alleged misclassification case where the judge found that plaintiffs had failed to establish that: their claims were typical of the class; they could adequately represent the class; common questions predominated the claims; and a class action is the superior means of resolving the litigation. In Martinez v. Joe’s Crab…

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16 Sep 2013 Governor Would Like Massachusetts to Join California As a Non-Noncompete State

Not long ago, Mark Scudder wrote here about the enforcement of a five-year noncompete by an Indiana state court. At the other end of the spectrum of this highly state-specific issue, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made news this week by announcing that he is in favor of making noncompetes unenforceable in Massachusetts.  There is a significant school of thought in Massachusetts that it is disadvantaged in recruiting high-tech talent by the fact that chief rival California, in effect, prohibits employers from using noncompetes.  That talent,…

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