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Pot Pourri of Recent Cases I missed

There have been so many recent employment law decisions that I can't long-form blog them all. So, here's a quick roundup of three recent, significant rulings -

Court of Appeal: OK to Deduct from Exempt Employees' PTO/Vacation for Partial Day Absences of Any Length

Basic wage-hour principle: With some exceptions, an employee classified as "exempt" under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act is entitled to a full salary for any week in which she / he performs any work. There are some exceptions allowing for salary deductions. For example, an employer can deduct from an exempt employee's salary for full-day absences for personal pursuits, or full day absences for illness if the employer has a bona fide paid sick leave plan.

California Supreme Court Holds Independent Contractor Misclassification Claims Can Be Determined by Common Proof – But Only in Certain Circumstances

In its first employment-related class certification decision since its seminal ruling in Duran v. U.S. Bank,1 the California Supreme Court, in a fragmented opinion, reversed the denial of class certification for a group of newspaper delivery carriers who alleged they were employees misclassified as independent contractors. In Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc.,2 the California high court held that the trial court improperly focused its analysis on variations in how the carriers did their jobs rather than whether the newspaper retained the right to control the method and manner of how they performed their duties through its standard written contracts with the carriers.

San Francisco Bay Area Employers Must Provide Commuter Benefits by September 30th

Employers with at least 50 full-time employees in the San Francisco Bay Area must offer commuter benefits, such as payments for commuter transit passes made with employees’ pre-tax earnings, to any employee who works at least 20 hours per week no later than September 30, 2014.

Paid Sick Leave, Liens on Employers Still Possible From California Legislature

The California Legislature is now taking its last extended breather of the 2013-2014 legislative session. It began its summer break on July 3, and returns on Monday, August 4 for the sprint through the final days of the session.

California Supreme Court Holds Independent Contractor Misclassification Claims Can Be Determined by Common Proof – But Only in Certain Circumstances

In its first employment-related class certification decision since its seminal ruling in Duran v. U.S. Bank,1 the California Supreme Court, in a fragmented opinion, reversed the denial of class certification for a group of newspaper delivery carriers who alleged they were employees misclassified as independent contractors. In Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc.,2 the California high court held that the trial court improperly focused its analysis on variations in how the carriers did their jobs rather than whether the newspaper retained the right to control the method and manner of how they performed their duties through its standard written contracts with the carriers.

City of San Diego Imposes Minimum Wage Hike and Sick Pay Ordinance

Rejecting a call to place a proposed minimum wage hike on the November ballot as a referendum item, on July 14 the San Diego City Council approved an ordinance raising the city’s minimum wage to $11.50 per hour by 2017.

Ninth Circuit Rules California Meal and Rest Break Laws Not Preempted by FAAAA

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded, in Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC, that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 19942 (FAAAA) does not preempt the application of California’s meal and rest break laws to motor carriers because these state laws are not sufficiently “related to” prices, routes, or services. The decision is contrary to the decisions of approximately a dozen district court cases holding that such laws were preempted. Moreover, if the Ninth Circuit’s decision goes unchallenged, trucking companies that have operations in California will be required to comply with California’s meal and rest break laws instead of the Department of Transportation regulations.

California Supreme Court Narrows the Inside Sales Exemption in California

The California Supreme Court unanimously decided the following: "an employer may not attribute commission wages paid in one pay period to other pay periods in order to satisfy California?s compensation requirements."

9th Circuit: California Meal / Rest Period Laws Apply to Trucking Companies; Not Preempted by Federal Law

Trucking companies subject to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act have litigated a number of cases concerning whether federal law preempts California wage-hour requirements concerning meal and rest periods. The FAAAA provides: “States may not enact or enforce a law . . . related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property.” 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1).