Sidestepping its first opportunity to address Californiaâ€™s overtime exemption for administrative employees, the state Supreme Court has ruled that although the court of appeal misapplied the â€œadministrative/production worker dichotomy,â€ the case should be remanded for analysis under the applicable Industrial Welfare Commission wage order. In Harris v. Superior Court (Liberty Mutual), No. S156555 (Dec. 29, 2011), the unanimous Court reversed a determination that insurance adjusters were non-exempt production workers because â€œthe Court of Appeal misapplied the substantive law.â€
Articles about California Labor And Employment Law.
In a long-awaited decision, the California Supreme Court unanimously gave California employers a holiday present in an opinion that follows the majority of federal courts in finding that insurance claims adjusters are exempt administrative employees.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has released a form notice that is compliant with the new California Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011. Effective January 1, 2012, the Act requires employers to provide many new employees with written notice that details their rates of pay, employer name and address, workersâ€™ compensation carrier, and other information specified in the Act. Since Governor Jerry Brown signed the law in October, California employers have struggled to develop notices that are compliant.
California’s Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011 (“WTPA” or “Act”)1 takes effect on the first day of next year â€“ January 1, 2012. The WTPA is one of half a dozen new laws that affect an employer’s wage payment obligations. The WTPA amended five existing statutes within the California Labor Code, and created five new statutes in the same code.2 All are discussed below.
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).
Nonresidents of California are entitled to overtime pay under California law for work performed in California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled, following the California Supreme Courtâ€™s responses to its questions on state law. Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 24625 (9th Cir. Dec. 13, 2011). The Ninth Circuit reversed summary judgment in favor of the employer on claims for unpaid overtime under the California Labor Code (â€œLabor Codeâ€), as well as on claims under the California Unfair Competition Law (â€œUCLâ€), which were predicated on the Labor Code violations. However, the Court held that the UCL did not apply to alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act occurring outside of California.
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).
A number of new employment bills making significant changes in California employment law and requiring review of employer human resources policies and employee handbooks has been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. The new laws are effective January 1, 2012, unless otherwise indicated. We highlight what we believe to be the most significant below.
The required compensation levels for employees exempt from overtime under the California computer professional exemption will increase by 2.5 percent from the current levels beginning January 1, 2012, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has announced.
San Franciscoâ€™s Health Care Security Ordinance has been amended to require more of certain employers with workers in the City and County of San Francisco. The amendments will take effect January 1, 2012.
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:
Minor inconsistencies in witness testimony need not render a plaintiff-employeeâ€™s account of sexual harassment so â€œinherently improbableâ€ as to require reversal of the juryâ€™s verdict, the California Court of Appeal has held. The Court thus affirmed judgment in favor of the employee in a sexual harassment case.