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Legal Update

U.S. Supreme Court Keeps PAGA Representative Claims Intact From Arbitration

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015

On January 20, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, S204032 (June 23, 2014), a key California Supreme Court decision concerning class action arbitration waivers in California. (more…)

Employee’s On-Call Hours Spent On-Premises Counts as Hours Worked

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015

The California Supreme Court recently held unanimously in Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc. that the California wage order covering security guards entitles them to be compensated for any on-call hours spent at their assigned worksites. (more…)

Nonseverable Arbitration Clause Waiving Right to Bring PAGA Claim is Unenforceable

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015

California courts continue to wrestle with the enforceability of class action and representative action waivers that employees consent to when they enter into arbitration agreements. In a decision rendered just two days ago on January 7, 2015, the California Court of Appeals in Montano v. The Wet Seal Retail Inc. ruled that an employee’s waiver of his or her right to bring a representative action under the Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA” or California’s “Sue Your Boss” law) is unenforceable. (more…)

Workplace Policies and Practices Put to the Test in Two California Cases

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015

Employers ended 2014 with a pair of favorable wage and hour class action decisions filed on December 31, 2014.

The first, Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., involved 15,000 current and former security guards employed by ABM Security Services, Inc. who claimed that their employer violated the California Labor Code by requiring them to carry radios so they could be “on call” during their rest breaks. The plaintiffs claimed that because they were required to be “on call,” they were not fully relieved of their duties during their breaks. The Court of Appeals disagreed, deciding that simply being on call does not constitute “work,” and therefore does not, in and of itself, violate Labor Code section 226.7, which prohibits employers from requiring employees to work during a rest period. Although the security guards were required to be on call during their breaks, they were still allowed to engage in non-work activities. (more…)

Summary of Recent California Employment Laws

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015

In keeping with the State of California’s reputation as an employee-friendly state, the California legislature has passed a series of new laws creating obligations for employers to comply with in 2014 and 2015. Below, we have outlined a list of key laws that employers should be aware of. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and it does not include a summary of the Mandatory Paid Sick Leave law (Healthy Workplaces, Health Families Act of 2014), which will be the subject of a forthcoming posting: (more…)

Court Confirms Brinker Meal Period Standard and Plaintiff’s Higher Burden of Proof

Posted by on Nov 15, 2014

After years of wrangling and litigation, an employer’s meal period obligation under California Labor Code section 226.7 was clarified in the landmark California Supreme Court decision of Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1004. In that case, the issue was whether employers must (1) merely make meal breaks available to their employees (Make Available Standard), or (2) actually ensure employees take their meal breaks (Ensure Standard).

The Supreme Court adopted the Make Available Standard. Under this standard, the employer is only required to relieve its employee of all job duties for the taking of a meal break. If that opportunity is made available to the employee, the employee may then choose to skip or delay the meal break (e.g., an employee may skip a meal break in order to leave work early). In contrast, the previous, and now rejected, Ensure Standard an employer had to ensure its employees took a meal break regardless of whether or not the employee wanted to take one. (more…)

Department of Justice Provides Guidelines on Body Cameras

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014

Over the past few months, there has been much attention whether police departments should equip their officers with video cameras. Last month, the United States Department of Justice issued a report regarding the use of body-worn cameras by police. The report, found here, is a worthy read. It provides guidance to cities and departments as they decide whether to issue body-cameras, and advises how to do so.

Legal Pitfalls to Avoid in Adopting a Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) Policy

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014

60% of employees have recently reported that they use a personal electronic device for work. This is not surprising. It is probably safe to assume that almost every person now owns some form of a personal mobile electronic device. With the proliferation of these personal devices, people are increasingly using them for work-related matters such as checking work emails, making work-related phone calls, or drafting a document on a laptop or tablet. Employees use their personal devices to access confidential company data, contact customers, and store customer contact information onto their devices. Although problems do not arise in most instances, what happens when an employee quits or is terminated? What policies and practices do you have in place to prevent those employees from simply taking your confidential and proprietary information and giving it to a competitor or publicizing it in other ways? (more…)

No Duty to Defend Massage Therapist’s Alleged Sexual Assault of a Client that Occurred During a Massage

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014

(Baek v. Continental Casualty Co., California Court of Appeal – 2nd District, No. B251201, Oct. 6, 2014)

What acts are considered within an employee’s “scope of employment”? When does an insurer have a duty to defend an insured’s employee for intentional tortious acts? Most recently, the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the Second District of the California Court of Appeal determined that a massage therapist’s alleged sexual assault of a client at its establishment was not within the scope of employment. (more…)

Governor Brown signs “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014”

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014

On September 10, 2014, Governor Brown signed AB 1522, “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014” into law requiring California employers to provide sick leave benefits to their employees.  The new law contains some detailed requirements which are highlighted below. (more…)