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Constitutional Challenge to California's Background Check Law Rejected

If a background check includes information about a job applicant’s character, California’s background check law applies, the California Court of Appeal has held, rejecting an employer’s challenge to the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (Cal. Civ. Code § 1786 et seq.) (“ICRAA”). Connor v. First Student, Inc., No. B256075 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 12, 2015).

California Court Holds Arbitrator Decides Class Arbitrability Where Agreement Specifies AAA Rules

An employment arbitration agreement that incorporated the American Arbitration Association’s National Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes vested the arbitrator with the power to decide whether the agreement authorized class-wide relief, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Universal Protection Service LP v. Superior Court, No. C078557 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 18, 2015). The Court denied an employer’s petition to set aside the trial court’s order compelling class arbitration and ordered that the arbitrator should determine the class issue.

Recent Opinion Letter Raises Questions Regarding California's Paid Leave Law

Executive Summary: California employers are now facing another hurdle in their efforts to comply with state's paid leave law, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, in light of a recent opinion letter from the state agency that enforces the law.

Inability to Work Under A Particular Supervisor Is Not a Disability in California

In response to standard negative performance feedback from a supervisor, an employee takes a leave of absence due to stress and submits a medical note stating that the employee must be transferred to another department as an accommodation. Under California law, must a company grant such an accommodation? According to a recent California Court of Appeal decision, Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Medical Foundation, the answer is no.

Former In-House Attorney Cannot Duck Trade Secrets Allegations with Anti-SLAPP Motion

On July 17, 2015, a California appellate court affirmed the denial of an intellectual property attorney’s anti-SLAPP motion against his former employer. Terrence Wyles, the defendant and former in-house counsel for medical products company West Hills Research and Development, Inc. (“West Hills”), sought to dismiss his former employer’s trade secrets misappropriation case by asserting that its lawsuit interfered with his efforts to file a complaint against its senior officers for embezzlement. The defendant alleged that he retained copies of confidential company documents following the termination of his employment as evidence to support a shareholder derivative lawsuit he planned to file alleging that the company was engaging in financial misconduct. The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motion, finding that the alleged financial misconduct had nothing to do with the misappropriation of trade secrets underlying the company’s complaint.

Last Call: California Legislature Makes Final Push for 2015 Session

The California Legislature reconvened on Monday, August 17, to finish its work for the 2015 regular session, which must end by September 11.

Court of Appeal: Incorporation of AAA Rules = Delegation to Arbitrator

In many employment arbitration agreements, the employer provides that the arbitration will be conducted under the employment dispute rules of the American Arbitration Association or AAA. (The formal name of these rules is the National Rules for Resolution of Employment Disputes.) Why? These rules have been upheld as sufficiently benign to employee rights such that arbitration under those rules will be compelled. And sometimes they're probably just included by default.

California Amends FEHA, Protecting Accommodation Requests

On July 16, 2015, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), adding protections for workers who request accommodations for disabilities or religious beliefs.

California Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Public Entity Employer: No Forum Shopping for California Public Entity Employees

In a recent unpublished case, the California Court of Appeal ruled a public civil service commission decision on a worker’s employment claims precluded him from relitigating his claims in a civil action. According to the state appellate court, the suit brought by a discharged worker who filed claims against his public employer was barred. Glover v. City of Santa Barbara, No. B257114 (May 21, 2015).

California Labor Commissioner Issues $2.2 Million in Wage Theft Citations

California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su issued more than $2.2 million in citations to the owners of three residential care facilities for what were deemed "egregious" wage theft violations.