Bryan Hawkins

Bryan Hawkins

Bryan Hawkins Bryan Hawkins is a litigator practicing in the firm’s Labor & Employment group with extensive jury and bench-trial experience in representing employers in employment-related litigation in court and before administrative agencies such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. His practice also involves counseling employers on employment-related issues, including handbooks and policies. Bryan also provides counseling on labor issues, such as advising employers on how to effectively respond to union organizing campaigns, negotiate collective bargaining agreements, and manage the employer/union relationship. In addition, Bryan’s practice includes litigating complex commercial disputes in areas such as antitrust, business torts, and real estate.

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California Court of Appeal Calls into Question the Validity of Employee Non-Solicitation Provisions

California Business and Professions Code section 16600 invalidates any contract restraining anyone from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business.  While this language has been understood to prohibit non-compete agreements, it was generally understood that it still permitted employee “non-solicitation agreements,” which are agreements preventing former employees from poaching employees from their former employers.  … Continue Reading

California Courts Slowly Interpret Dynamex

Almost six months ago, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Dynamex, which dramatically altered the landscape pertaining to the classification of California workers as either employees or independent contractors.  This past Monday, the California Court of Appeal issued one of the first decisions interpreting that seminal case. In Dynamex, the California Supreme Court … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Resolves Conflict Regarding California’s Background Check Laws

In Connor v. First Student, Inc., the California Supreme Court resolved a conflict in Court of Appeal decisions relating to the constitutionality of California’s background check laws. Employers frequently request background information from job applicants.  California has two primary laws regulating the collection and distribution of this background information:  the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Determines that the Federal De Minimis Doctrine Does Not Apply to California Wage Claims

In Troester v. Starbucks Corp., the California Supreme Court determined that the federal de minimis doctrine does not apply to California wage claims.  While this ruling does not completely eviscerate this legal defense for California employers, it places a very high burden on employers who are brave enough to raise this defense in California courts. … Continue Reading

California Enacts New Law Protecting as Privileged Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaints

On July 9, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2770.  This bill extends privileged communication status to certain communications by employees and employers regarding alleged sexual harassment and continues California’s efforts to address claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Prior to AB 2770, California law protected as privileged an employer’s responses to … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Embraces New Employee-Friendly Worker Classification Standard

In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Lee, the California Supreme Court created a new employee-friendly test for determining whether workers are properly classified as employees or independent contractors.  While providing a level of certainty lacking in the prior standard, the Court’s new test significantly increases the burden on California employers in demonstrating that their workers … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Instructs Employers How to Calculate Employee Overtime Pay Rate

In Alvarado v. Dart Container Corporation of California, the California Supreme Court determined how employers must calculate an employee’s overtime pay rate when the employee earns a bonus during a single pay period. While the holding was fairly fact specific, it is a reminder on an often ignored (but critical) issue in California employment law: … Continue Reading

California Proposes New Legislation Prohibiting Confidentiality Provisions in Settlement Agreements

In the face of a continuing wave of highly publicized complaints of sexual misconduct in the workplace, California state senator Connie M. Leyva introduced Senate Bill 820.  If passed, this law would prohibit the inclusion of nondisclosure terms in settlement agreements relating to actions alleging claims of sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace.… Continue Reading

California Implements Significant Changes in the Employment Application Process, Employee Training, and Protected Leaves

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills regulating a wide range of employer actions, everything from the labeling of cleaning fluids to the employment application process.  While compliance with all of these new laws is important, four are of particular importance as they directly impact the information employers can seek from … Continue Reading

California Responds to Increased Federal Immigration Enforcement Actions

On October 5, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 450. With the passage of this bill, California becomes the first state in the nation to enact a law prohibiting employers from providing voluntary assistance to immigration enforcement agents during workplace investigations. Earlier this year, U.S. immigration authorities conducted a series of high-profile raids of … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Puts a Small Crack in the Glass Door

An employer who unfairly and inaccurately is slammed by a former employee (or maybe even a current employee!) on a job-posting or employer-rating website will often look to its lawyer for help.  Surely the law protects against outrageous false statements that harm the employer’s ability to recruit new talent?  Maybe not—and if there is, it … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies California’s Day of Rest Statutes

In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, the California Supreme Court answered three questions from the Ninth Circuit concerning California’s “day of rest” statutes.  The Court’s decision clarifies a significant ambiguity for employers regarding the obligation to provide employees with their statutorily mandated day of rest. Mendoza involved a putative class action filed by former Nordstrom employees alleging … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Prohibits Employers from Implementing “On-Call” Rest Breaks

In Jennifer Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., the California Supreme Court determined that employers are prohibited from implementing “on-call” rest breaks.  This holding led the Supreme Court to reinstate an approximately $90 million judgment against the defendant employer. The plaintiff in Augustus worked as a security guard for defendant.  Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that defendant’s … Continue Reading

Expanding Overtime to Farmworkers: Will California Start a Trend?

On September 12, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1066.  The bill, which is the first of its kind in the nation, will entitle California farmworkers to the same overtime pay as most other hourly workers in California. California law defines employees “employed in an agricultural occupation” broadly to include any employment relating to … Continue Reading

United States Supreme Court Once Again Rejects California’s Attempt To Void Class Arbitration Waivers

In DIRECTV, Inc. v. Imburgia, a decision released this week, the United States Supreme Court rejected the California Court of Appeal’s interpretation of a binding arbitration provision that would have rendered unenforceable a class arbitration waiver provision.  In doing this, the Supreme Court once again affirmed the primacy of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and … Continue Reading

Anti-Arbitration Bill Approved by California Legislature

* October 11, 2015 Update: Governor Brown announced he has vetoed AB 465 On August 27, 2015, the California Assembly approved AB 465. The bill, which was approved by the California Senate on August 24, would prohibit California employers from requiring most individuals to enter into arbitration agreements as a condition of their employment. For … Continue Reading

California Court Limits Defenses Available to Employers Requesting Employee Background Checks

Background checks can provide California employers with vital information concerning their employees. In order to protect individual privacy rights, however, the California legislature has created two separate laws governing the procedure for such checks: the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (“ICRAA”), which generally governs reports concerning “character information,” and the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act … Continue Reading

AB 1897: California’s New Labor Contracting and Client Liability Law

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 1897 thereby creating new liability for businesses that engage in labor contracting.  Current California law prohibits employers from entering into labor or services contracts with a construction, farm labor, garment, janitorial, security guard, or warehouse contractor, if the employer knows or should know that the agreement does not … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Rules Employers Must Reimburse Employees For Work Calls on Personal Cell Phones

The California Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc.  was simple.  When employees must use their personal cell phones for work, California law requires employers to reimburse them, regardless of whether the cell phone plans are for limited or unlimited minutes.  This decision, however, could have a wide ranging impact … Continue Reading

California Enacts State-Wide Paid Employee Sick Leave Law

On September 10, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1522 (the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014”) and made California the second state in the nation (after Connecticut) to enact a state-wide law requiring most California employers to provide paid sick leave to employees.  This marks the latest development in a growing trend that … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies When a Franchisee’s Employees Can Bring Employment Claims Against the Franchisor in Taylor Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC

In Taylor Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, the California Supreme Court restricted the ability of a franchisee’s employees to sue the franchisor based on theories of vicarious liability and the theory that the franchisor was an “employer” under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). With this decision, franchisors can breathe a sigh of relief as … Continue Reading

New California Law Provides that Sexual Desire Is Not a Required Element in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

In a same-sex sexual harassment case, does the plaintiff need to prove that the alleged harasser’s conduct was motivated by sexual desire?  Under SB 292, a law signed by Governor Brown a few days ago, the answer in California is "no."    A key question when dealing with a sexual harassment claim under California’s Fair Employment … Continue Reading
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