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
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 the Supreme Court’s decision could have opened the flood gates for employment claims brought by employees seeking a recovery from the perceived “deep pocket” franchisor.
The plaintiff in Taylor alleged that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor while employed at a Domino’s Pizza franchise owned and run by a company called Sui Juris. She subsequently filed suit against her supervisor, Sui Juris, and the franchisor, Defendant Domino’s Pizza Franchising, LLC (“Domino’s”). Plaintiff’s claims against Domino’s were premised on the theory that Domino’s was her and her supervisor’s employer.…
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Part 2 of 2: Supreme Court Rules That “Supervisors” Under Title VII Must Have Power to Take Tangible Employment Actions
On Monday, we blogged about the first of two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar. Today, we’ll discuss the second decision, Vance v. Ball State University, which addressed who is a “supervisor” for vicarious liability purposes under Title VII. The decision provides clarity in a previously muddled area of law, and has important implications for employer liability for workplace harassment under Title VII.
As you probably know, Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and similarly prohibits harassment resulting in a hostile work environment based on these characteristics. The plaintiff in Vance was a catering assistant who filed a lawsuit claiming that she had been subjected to a racially hostile work environment at the hands of a catering specialist in her department. Although the parties disagreed about whether the specialist was a supervisor, they did agree that she lacked authority to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline the plaintiff. The district (trial) court found that without this authority, the specialist was not a supervisor for whose actions the employer could be vicariously liable under Title VII.…
Continue Reading Part 2 of 2: Supreme Court Rules That “Supervisors” Under Title VII Must Have Power to Take Tangible Employment Actions
Supreme Court Upholds “Cat’s Paw” Theory In Employment Discrimination Cases
Today the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Staub v. Proctor Hospital, upholding the "cat’s paw" theory of employer liability, under which employers are liable for discrimination where lower-level supervisors with discriminatory motives influence, but do not make, adverse employment decisions made by higher-level managers. The near unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Scalia…
How To Avoid Holiday Party Pitfalls (and Liability)
According to recent poll by the Society of Human Managers (SHRM), fewer employers are foregoing holiday parties this year than in 2009. Although the economy continues to sputter, many employers likely see the traditional holiday party as a relatively inexpensive way of boosting morale and creating good will among their employees.
Some employers approach party planning…
Washington Supreme Court Decides Morgan v. Kingen – Bankruptcy is No Defense
The Washington Supreme Court issued a decision today in Morgan v. Kingen, holding that bankruptcy is not a valid defense to a willful withholding of wages under RCW 49.52.070. The plaintiffs in this case worked at Funsters Grand Casino in SeaTac, Washington. The casino was not a success and the owners voluntarily filed…