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Total Articles: 10

California Allows Employees in the Construction Industry to Waive PAGA Remedies Pursuant to Qualifying CBAs

Among the approximately 1,000 bills signed by California Governor Brown last month was Assembly Bill 1654 ("AB 1654"), which allows a class of employees to waive the remedies created by the Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA). As the number of PAGA lawsuits continues to increase in California, AB 1654 provides construction industry employers with an opportunity to resolve such disputes through entering into a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union.

Class Action Waivers Remain Inapplicable to PAGA Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not extend to claims under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, No. 16-285; Ernst & Young LLP et al. v. Morris et al., No. 16-300; National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307 (May 21, 2018); Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles (2014) 59 Cal.4th 348.

Class Action Waiver in Employment Arbitration Agreement is Unenforceable, Court Rules

A class action waiver in an arbitration agreement is unenforceable under the National Labor Relations Act, Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel has ruled. Neal Pataky et al. v. The Brigantine, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-00352 (S.D. Cal. May 3, 2017).

California Appellate Court Permits Use of Statistical Sampling to Prove Class Certification

Statistical sampling has always been an effective and efficient way for plaintiffs to establish class action liability in California. After some hope that a 2011 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States might hamper that ability, a California appellate court has reaffirmed statistical sampling as a viable method available to class action plaintiffs to prove their cases.

No Class Action for Residential Care Facility Employees Over On-Duty Meal Periods

Denying class certification in an action for alleged meal period violations under the California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 5-2001 (“Wage Order 5”), the California Court of Appeal ruled that a 24-hour residential care facility for developmentally disabled individuals did not have a policy that violated wage and hour laws common to the class members. Palacio v. Jan & Gail’s Care Homes, Inc. Specifically, the Court ruled that the residential care facility did not need to inform employees whom it required to waive their right to uninterrupted meal periods and eat their meals with the residents under Section 11(E) of Wage Order 5, that the employees could revoke the waiver at any time under Section 11(A).

Court of Appeals Spices Up Class Certification "Death Knell" Laws For Chipotle

Executive Summary: In a case of first impression, the California Court of Appeals recently held that, unlike cases where only class allegations are asserted, California's "death knell" doctrine does not apply to cases where class certification is denied and representative claims under California's Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) move forward. See Munoz v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC447232 (June 30, 2015). The court's decision means the plaintiffs cannot appeal the denial of class certification until after litigation of their representative PAGA claims.

Duran v. U.S. Bank: When Class Certification Goes Wrong

The California Supreme Court recently handed down a landmark decision on class actions. The trial judge lost control of the certification and evidentiary presentation of the case resulting in a $15 million verdict against U.S. Bank National Association (USB). In this long-awaited decision, the California Supreme Court acknowledged the blatant errors perpetrated by the trial court and class counsel, and provided valuable guidance for employers and their attorneys in defending class actions. Duran v. U.S. Bank National Association.

California Supreme Court: Newspaper Carriers Can Proceed With Class Action Challenging Independent Contractor Status

On June 30, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued a decision addressing how trial courts should determine the appropriateness of class certification in cases where workers claim they were improperly classified as independent contractors. In a case brought by a group of newspaper carriers claiming that a newspaper company illegally treated them as independent contractors and deprived them of wage and hour protections, the state supreme court held that their employment relationship with the newspaper can be determined on a class-wide basis. Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., No. S206874 (June 30, 2014).

Legal Alert: California's Gentry Rule under Challenge

Executive Summary: The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated the decision of a California state court, which held that a trial court should apply the factors set out in the California Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Gentry v. Superior Court to determine whether a pre-employment arbitration agreement containing a class-action waiver is enforceable. The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case to the state court for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court's decision in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant (2013). See CarMax Auto Superstores California v. Fowler, No. 13-439 (February 24, 2014).

News From the California Class Action Front – Emerging Defenses to Wage Statement Claims . . . But Hold On to Your Seats

California appellate courts have recently offered some relief to employers issuing wage statements that fail to comply with the state’s hyper-technical content requirements. At the same time, California courts have given the green light to class action lawsuits based on violations of relatively obscure provisions of the state’s Wage Orders. California’s 17 Wage Orders, which are industry or occupation specific, govern workplace conditions ranging from temperature to seating. The good news is that compliance with California’s wage statement and Wage Order requirements can be easily targeted for auditing.
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