In Aleman v. Airtouch Cellular, a California Court of Appeal ruled on December 21, 2011 that one class representative was not entitled to additional reporting pay or split shift premiums and a second class representative could not pursue such claims because she had signed a release in exchange for enhanced severance compensation. The court did, however, reverse the award of attorneysâ€™ fees to the employer.
On December 13, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reconsidered the case, Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., after the California Supreme Court had decided several certified questions of law. The Ninth Circuit had previously delayed ruling, and instead asked the California Supreme Court to decide three questions of California law, including whether a company with its principal place of business in California was required to pay out-of-state employees temporarily working in California according to Californiaâ€™s daily overtime rules.
A California Court of Appeal has ruled that a religious school teacher who was living “out of wedlock” with her boyfriend as they raised their child cannot state a claim against the church for wrongful termination based upon marital status discrimination. Henry v. Red Hill Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tustin, No. G044556 (Fourth Dist., Div. Three Dec. 9, 2011).
When it comes to the holidays, FMLA administration can be most difficult — both in terms of employee absences and how to calculate them. As I covered last month, the FMLA regulations provide very specific rules for calculating an employee’s FMLA leave for a holiday or when the employer is shut down because of holidays or breaks.
In Home Paramount Pest Control Cos. v. Shaffer, No. 101837, 2011 Va. LEXIS 222 (Nov. 4, 2011), the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a covenant not to compete was overbroad and unenforceable, even though it was identical to a covenant the court had upheld 22 years earlier in Paramount Termite Control Co. v. Rector, 238 Va. 171 (1989). Acknowledging this, the court expressly overruled its holding in Paramount Termite.
On December 5, 2011, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the improper classification of employees as independent contractors.
In the first significant ruling of its kind, the Los Angeles Superior Court in Bright v. 99Â¢ Only Stores granted the defendantâ€™s motion to strike the plaintiffâ€™s representative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allegations. The plaintiff, Eugina Bright, filed a complaint against 99Â¢ Only Stores in June 2009 alleging that the store failed to provide her, and all other cashiers, with suitable seating.
In a ground-breaking decision that will make it easier for employers to obtain restraining orders to protect their employees from violence in the workplace, a California appellate court has ruled that “all relevant evidence” must be considered in such proceedings â€“ even otherwise inadmissible hearsay. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals v. Wilson, Nos. D058491 & D058492 (Fourth Dist., Div. One Dec. 5, 2011).
Responding to a stated concern over human trafficking and goods that are produced by forced or child labor, the California Legislature passed the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 with the goal of “ensur[ing] large retailers and manufacturers provide consumers with information regarding their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains.”1 This is the first state or federal law of its kind. Beginning January 1, 2012, every retailer and manufacturer doing business in California with annual worldwide gross receipts exceeding $100 million must conspicuously disclose on its website the extent to which it does the following:
Cynthia Adams was a registered hospice nurse for Fayette Home Care and Hospice. According to one of her hospice patients, Adams apparently showed him and his wife three pictures of her boyfriend’s genitals, the photos of which were stored on her cell phone. Not surprisingly, the patient told another nurse from Fayette about the incident and asked that Adams not come back.
On November 16, 2011, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed a finding that registered nurses who were paid on an hourly basis were exempt from the overtime requirements of the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (â€œNJWHLâ€), even though the regulation applicable at the time only extended the â€œprofessionalâ€ exemption to employees compensated on a â€œsalary or fee basis.â€
On November 23, 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the “Gender Identity Bill.” This makes Massachusetts the 16th state â€“ along with California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia â€“ to provide some level of protection to employees based on gender identity and/or expression.
In an ASAP published on October 17th, Littler reported that, in recent amendments to its overtime regulations, New Jersey had inadvertently eliminated the exemption for sales employees paid on commission, which closely tracked an exemption in Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (sometimes known as the “inside sales” exemption).
In a case of first impression, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District ruled that there is no individual liability for discrimination or retaliation under California Military and Veterans Code section 394, which protects from discrimination employees who are called to active duty. Haligowski v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B231310 (Nov. 11, 2011).
In the latest twist in the developing law regarding the preemptive scope of California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA)1 a California federal court in Amron International Diving Supply, Inc. v. Hydrolinx Diving Communication, Inc.2 (“Amron”) recently issued a decision reinvigorating the growing tension between courts addressing the issue of UTSA preemption â€“ a tension that, unfortunately, is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.