Do anxiety and stress relative to employee’s interaction with supervisor causing an inability to work under that supervisor constitute a disability recognized by FEHA?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Medical Foundation (filed 5/26/2015) C073677, plaintiff worked as an assistant in patient intake at one of defendant’s clinics.  Her immediate supervisor was Debbie Prince, who reported to regional manager Norma Perry.  After about 3 years on the job, plaintiff reported to her treating physician she was suffering stress because of interactions […]

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Must the harassment to which an employee is subjected be severe or pervasive before an employer can be liable for failure to prevent harassment under FEHA?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

Dickson v. Burke Williams, Inc.(filed 3/6/15) B253154 is a case in which the jury awarded plaintiff employee $35,000 in compensatory damages, plus $250,000 in punitive damages, based on its finding that defendant employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment by the massage therapy company’s customers. However, while the jury made a special […]

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May courts review arbitration award consistent with employment agreement forbidding outside work where employee exercised unwaivable statutory right?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Richey v. AutoNation, Inc. (filed 1/29/15) S207536, the California Supreme Court responds, “No.”   The court concluded that even if the arbitrator in that case committed error in accepting the untested “honest belief” defense, any error did not deprive the employee plaintiff of an unwaivable statutory right because of the overriding rationale that employee was […]

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Must an employer compensate 24-hour shift employee for on-site sleep time?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In my December 18, 2013 blog article, I commented on the California Supreme Court action in granting review of and depublishing the Court of Appeal opinion in Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions Inc. I noted there may be no safe haven to allow most employers to contract away employees’ claims for wages for employer-controlled sleep […]

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Employee security screening time in departing from warehouse work site is not compensable under FLSA, but California employers beware.

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The Federal Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which provides minimum wage and overtime compensation to employees for hours worked per week in excess of 40, was amended by Congress in 1947 (Portal-to-Portal Act) to exempt an employer from liability for (1) time spent by employee traveling to work site, and (2) activities preliminary or […]

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In a wage and hour class action, where a corporation with no employees owns a corporation with employees, and the former exercises some control over the latter and its employees, may the former be an “employer” of the latter’s employees?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The answer: yes, as stated in the very first paragraph of Castaneda v. Ensign Group, Inc. (filed 9/15/14) B249119, following rehearing.  There, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Six, reversed the summary judgment that had been granted dismissing Ensign from the action. Castaneda filed a class action on behalf of himself and other […]

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May an employer attribute commission wages to a different pay period than when paid to satisfy state’s compensation requirements?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The fact that commissions earned by employees can both be delayed in payment and distributed in uneven increments creates some challenges. Under Federal law, an employer may attribute commissions to when they are earned (rather than when paid), or to other pay periods, so long as an employee is paid minimum wage in each pay […]

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Cal Supreme Court: Arbitration agreement waiver of right to class procedure approved; but right to bring PAGA representative action cannot be waived.

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (filed 6/23/14) S20432, the California Supreme Court majority has delivered a split decision on the question of whether an arbitration agreement that waives a party’s right to bring a representative action on behalf of others is enforceable. Representative actions in the form of class actions brought to […]

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Must a wage-and-hour misclassification class action judgment be reversed because the trial court denied defendant employer the opportunity to impeach plaintiffs’ statistical model where the sampling belied consistency in class member work habits?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In the much-awaited California Supreme Court opinion of Duran v. U.S. Bank National Association (filed 5/29/14) S200923, the state high court answered affirmatively, reversing the judgment. There, loan officers sued for unpaid overtime, claiming they had been misclassified as exempt employees under the outside salesperson exemption, exempting from overtime pay entitlement employees who spend more […]

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Employees Decline Available Family And Medical Leave At Their Own Risk – Court Ruling Requires Employee To Affirmatively Request

Posted by Jeffrey Davis on

It comes as no surprise that federal and state medical leave statutes authorize eligible employees to take time off to care for ailing family members.  Moreover, under both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) (collectively “family-medical leave”), employees are not required to expressly mention the FMLA […]

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