Tag: California

California Supreme Court Clarifies Meal and Rest Break Requirements Under State Law

In its long-anticipated decision in Brinker v. Superior Court, a unanimous California Supreme Court has clarified the scope of an employer’s obligation to provide meal and rest breaks to non-exempt employees in California.  The Court’s full opinion is available here. Meal Breaks California law requires employers to provide employees with a meal period of not less than … Continue Reading

Seasons’ Greetings From The California Legislature–New Laws That Apply To Employers In January 2012

The California legislature has done plenty this year to leave in employers’ stockings for the holidays–new employment laws that will become effective January 1, 2012.  In addition to the new California Transparency in Supply Chains Act we blogged about earlier, after some eggnog and holiday cheer, employers will need to be aware of new legal … Continue Reading

It’s Time to Ensure Compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act

Under the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, beginning January 1, 2012, large retailers and manufacturers that do business in California must disclose information on their websites about what they do to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains. The new law applies to companies with worldwide gross receipts of over $100 million. The … Continue Reading

California: “Suitable Seating” Class Actions on the Rise

California employers need to be mindful of a new kind of wage-hour class action – class claims arising from the “suitable seating” requirements of the California Industrial Welfare Commission’s wage orders.  The wage orders set forth what employers must do with respect to employees’ wages, hours and working conditions. There are 17 wage orders, applying to … Continue Reading

California Overtime Rules Apply To Work Performed In California By Out-Of-State Employees

The California Supreme Court has ruled that California’s daily overtime requirements apply to work performed in California by non-residents.  In Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., three employees of Oracle who were not residents of California worked as “instructors” and trained Oracle’s customers in the use of the company’s products.  Required by Oracle to travel, the plaintiffs … Continue Reading

Victory For Employers in Washington Medical Marijuana Case

In a victory for employers, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that Washington’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act (“MUMA”) does not protect medical marijuana users from adverse hiring or disciplinary decisions based on an employer’s drug test policy. Click here to download a copy of the decision in Roe v. Teletech Customer Care Management. The lawsuit and … Continue Reading

California: Employee’s E-Mails With Lawyer Are Not Privileged When Sent Via Company Computer

A clear and comprehensive computer policy is an essential component of any employee handbook. Last week, a California appellate court ruled that when such a policy is in place, an employee who uses the company computer to e-mail her attorney about perceived harassment and discrimination in the workplace waives the attorney-client privilege. In Holmes v. Petrovich … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Issues Split Decisions on Compensation for Travel Time and “Off-the-Clock” Work

  Employees who drive company vehicles between home and work will find little to cheer about in a recent Ninth Circuit decision . . . unless they live in California.  In Rutti v. Lojack Corporation, a three-judge panel refused to relax the rule that commuting time is non-compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).   The employee, who installed vehicle recovery systems, contended … Continue Reading

9th Circuit: No Compensatory or Punitive Damages in ADA Retaliation Cases

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently limited the remedies available to employees who sue for retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ruling that the statute does not provide for punitive damages, compensatory damages or a jury trial in ADA retaliation cases.  Click here to read the decision in Alvarado v. Cajun Operating Co.  … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Review Text Message Case; Primarily of Interest to Public Employers

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a police officer has a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages sent using his department-issued pager.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that the officer had such a privacy right.  Click here to read the opinion below in City of Ontario, California v. Quon.  In Quon, … Continue Reading

California DLSE Reverses Itself Regarding Schedule and Salary Reductions for Exempt Employees

The California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has issued an opinion letter in which it concludes that California law does not prohibit an employer from temporarily reducing the work schedule of an exempt employee from five days a week to four days a week, and correspondingly reducing the employee’s salary by 20 percent.  The … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: No Privacy Violation for Employer’s Placement of Video Camera in Employees’ Office

The California Supreme Court has issued its decision in Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc., finding that an employer’s placement of a hidden camera in an office used by two employees did not violate the employees’ right to privacy.  This case has been closely watched (OK, pun intended) as it worked its way through the appellate courts.  Like all workplace privacy … Continue Reading

Use Workshare Program to Cut Costs and Keep Workers

Are you looking for ways to hang on to staff, yet reduce costs?  Those goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive if you choose to participate in your state’s workshare program.  A workshare program allows your employees to collect some unemployment benefits but continue working part time.  Here’s an article from the Center for Law and … Continue Reading

Oregon Legislature Bans Mandatory Meetings

A new Oregon bill will prohibit employers from requiring employees to attend mandatory or "captive audience" meetings on, among other topics, labor unions.  Governor Ted Kulongoski is expected to sign the bill, which would them become law effective January 1, 2010.  Click here to read SB 519.  SB 519 prohibits an employer from taking action against an … Continue Reading

Extension of Federal Benefits to Same-Sex Partners Falls Short of Goals

The memorandum issued by President Obama yesterday extends some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, including access to a government insurance program that pays for long-term conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, and to sick leave to care for a sick same-sex partner or a non-biological child.  However, the extension did not provide eligibility … Continue Reading

Former Employee Wins $4.1 Billion, Dr. Evil Award

An arbitrator recently awarded $4.1 billion in favor of the former chief marketing officer of iFreedom  Communications Inc., finding that iFreedom breached his employment contract by firing him without cause.  You read that right:  $4.1 billion, with a "b."  U.S. Dollars, not Zimbabwean.  Don’t believe us?  You can read the opinion yourself:  Chester v. iFreedom Communications … Continue Reading

Starbucks Obtains Reversal of $105 Million “Tip Sharing” Case

Just over a year ago, we reported about a $105 million California verdict in favor of Starbucks baristas who were required to pool their tips with supervisors.  As you might expect, Starbucks appealed that decision.  Yesterday, a California Court reversed the decision.  Click here to read the decision in Chau v. Starbucks. The 4th District … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Declines to Reconsider Ruling on SF Health Care Ordinance

Back in October 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a San Francisco city ordinance that requires many employers to either contribute a specified amount toward their employees’ health care costs on a regular basis or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents.  Earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit denied a petition … Continue Reading

Starbucks Wins Round in Class Action over Applications’ Marijuana Questions

Earlier this month, Starbucks scored an important procedural victory from the California Court of Appeals, which ruled that a class of employees lacked standing to sue over questions the coffee chain asked on its employment applications about prior marijuana convictions.  Click here to read the opinion in Starbucks v. Superior Court.  Despite the apparent victory, … Continue Reading

California Overtime Laws Cover Nonresidents Who Work in California

Do California wage and hour laws – including their daily and weekly overtime provisions – apply to non-residents who occasionally perform work in California?  Yes, according to a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month.  Click here to read the court’s decision in Sullivan v. Oracle Corp. In Sullivan, Oracle sent employees … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court to Review Rest and Meal Break Case

Back in August, we reported a California Court of Appeals decision that employers must provide rest and meal breaks, but are not required to control that the breaks were taken.  Last week, the California Supreme Court granted review of that case – it might uphold the decision, but it might also overturn it.  The grant of … Continue Reading

Fourteen Million Reasons Not to Misclassify Employees as Independent Contractors

A class of current and former FedEx Ground drivers misclassified as "independent contractors" will receive an additional $9 million in reimbursements for employment-related expenses, an appointed referee ruled October 20.  This award will be combined with a previous award of $5.3 million the drivers received in 2006.  The award will reimburse the drivers for such expenses as truck … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds San Francisco Health Care Ordinance

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a San Francisco city ordinance that requires many employers to either contribute a specified amount toward their employees’ health care costs on a regular basis or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents.  The San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance went into effect on … Continue Reading
LexBlog