Amendments to California’s existing whistleblower statute, California Labor Code section 1102.5, provide for increased sanctions against those who retaliate against whistleblowers. Effective Jan. 01, 2014, sanctions include a potential civil fine of up to $10,000 per violation and also give whistleblowers an expanded right to seek redress in the civil courts. The amendments signed by California Governor Jerry Brown last fall, also prohibit retaliation by anyone acting on an employer’s behalf.Read More
2014 Offers Significant Changes to Prevailing Wage Law
A number of bills signed by Governor Brown in 2013 and effective January 1, 2014 relate to prevailing wages in California. One notable bill (AB 1336) provides new tools to crack down on wage and benefit theft in California’s underground economy. Employers who provide services or construction work for the government or public entities must pay the prevailing wage, which is usually significantly higher than the minimum wage. Contractors who fail to pay employees correct wages on public works will be less likely to get away with it thanks to AB 1336.Read More
In an unsurprising order, the United Supreme Court (SCOTUS) took our firm’s case against CarMax. The order is here. We had prevailed at the Court of Appeals in reversing the trial court’s order sending my client to individual arbitration. The California Supreme Court had denied review and defendant took a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
We opposed the petition of certiorari but it was granted over our objections. They performed what is known as a GVR (Grant, Vacate, Remand). We will not appear in Washington, D.C. to argue the case, at least not this go around. Rather, SCOTUS granted CarMax’s petition, vacated the California Court of Appeal decision, in this case, and remanded the matter back to the Court of Appeal to reconsider their opinion in light of American Express v. Italian Colors.
However, I try to spin this, its bad news. In fact it likely signals the death of Gentry v. Superior Court. By taking the action that SCOTUS did, it signals that SCOTUS wants to enforce any and every arbitration agreement that comes before it with virtually no exceptions. It’s a sad day indeed, but we intend to keep fighting as crazy as odds may appear.
For each time he falls, he shall rise again!
Sancho! My armor! My sword!
Class Reaction Podcast: Listen to Eric Kingsley discuss issues of employment law with Jennifer Zargarof of Sidley.The podcast is Episode 9 – I thought there wouldn’t be any math.
Episode 9 guests are Jennifer Zargarof of Sidley and Eric B. Kingsley of Kingsley & Kingsley. Hosts are H. Scott Leviant and Linh Hua of Moore & Leviant LLP. Show topics include discussions of Concepcion v. Amscan Holdings, Inc. (Feb. 18, 2014), Martinez v. Joe’s Crab Shack Holdings (now held for Duran), and Williams v. Superior Court (Allstate Ins. Co.), 221 Cal. App. 4th 1353 (Dec. 6, 2013) (discussing Dukes). This episode is published by The Complex Litigator.Read More
New Laws Change Leaves of Absence in California for 2014.
Time Off for Crime Victims
SB 288 protects crime victims from being discharged, discriminated against, or retaliated against pursuant to SB 288 for taking time off from work. Victims, defined as “any person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act,” can include a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or guardian.
The law, which added Section 230.5 to the Labor Code, provides a list of covered crimes, including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony child abuse likely to produce great bodily harm or a death, felony physical abuse of an elder or dependent adult, solicitation for murder, and “a serious felony.”
Employees must comply with requirements for requesting the leave and employers may request certification for the time off from employees.
Reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and benefits are available to employees alleging violation of the new law in a complaint filed with the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.Read More
Expanded Employee Protections Effective Jan. 1 2014
California – employee protection from retaliation
In October 2013, California passed numerous bills into law that provide California workers who seek to exercise their workplace rights with strengthened protections against employer retaliation. Two bills in particular, AB 263 and SB 666, took effect on January 1, 2014 and provide new employee protections for immigrant workers and whistleblowers. California enhances employee protection from retaliation.
AB 263 amends Labor Code section 98.6, which protects employees who assert their rights under the Labor Code; for example, complaining about unfair wages or working conditions. Specifically, AB 263 prohibits retaliation or adverse action against employees for exercising their rights under the Labor Code (note: current law only explicitly prohibits discharge and discrimination).Read More
A federal class-action lawsuit was filed Monday against Gerawan Farming on behalf of current and former employees, who say the company has failed to pay minimum wage, overtime, and state-guaranteed paid rest breaks.
More than 20 employees gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown Fresno Tuesday, including the two plaintiffs named in the lawsuit, Rafael Marquez Amaro and Jesus Alarcon Urzua.
Attorney Mario Martinez, who represents the workers, said the lawsuit was on behalf of thousands of Gerawan field workers who were paid by piece rate over the last four years. Workers said earnings vary since they are paid by piece rate, but it was often below minimum wage.Read More
Bottom Line: Signed into law by Governor Brown in October of last year, and effective in 2014, SB 435 expands meal and rest break rules to include “recovery” periods taken by employees to prevent heat illness.
Labor Code 226.7 provides that an employee should receive one hour of pay as a penalty for not receiving rest or meal periods in accordance with California law. SB 435 expands the one hour of pay penalty to missed “recovery periods” and applies to any meal, rest or recovery period mandated by applicable statute, regulation, standard, or order of the California IWC, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, or the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.Read More