California Employment Law Blog

PAGA Update: What You Need to Know About Arbitrating Individual Claims

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Jun 05, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) grants California employees the authority to pursue civil penalties for labor violations. The recent Ninth Circuit case, Johnson v. Lowe's Home Centers, LLC (2024), underscores that employees may be compelled to arbitrate individual PAGA claims, while still maintaining the standing to pursue their non-individual claims in court.

No Free Lunch: The Cost of Controlled Breaks and Commutes in Huerta v. CSI

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Mar 31, 2024 | 0 Comments

The California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) sets labor standards, including Wage Order No. 16-2001 for sectors like construction and mining. In George Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors (2024), the California Supreme Court ruled that security checks, certain intra-premises travel, and on-site meal breaks count as compensable "hours worked," underscoring employer control as a key factor.

Lin v. Kaiser: Understanding Mixed Motive Claims in FEHA Disability Cases

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Mar 06, 2024 | 0 Comments

California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) allows for "mixed motive" cases where disability need not be the sole cause but a significant factor in employment decisions. Lin v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (2023) exemplifies the application of "mixed motive" analysis, demonstrating the challenges and nuances in distinguishing between legitimate business decisions and discriminatory practices, and emphasizing the importance of clear documentation and accommodation in the workplace.

Texts, Harassment, and Liability: Lessons from Atalla v. Rite Aid

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Feb 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

In Atalla v. Rite Aid Corporation (2023), the Court of Appeal found no employer liability for a supervisor's sexually inappropriate texts and photos sent to an employee outside of work hours. The court also dismissed a claim of constructive termination, citing the employer's swift action in terminating the harasser and inviting the employee back to work.

The Clock is Ticking: Implications of Late Payments in Arbitration

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Feb 13, 2024 | 0 Comments

In a recent case, the California Court of Appeal interpreted Section 1281.98 of the California Arbitration Act, emphasizing the 30-day deadline for receiving arbitration fees. The court ruled that fees must be both sent and received within 30 days after the due date, highlighting the importance of timely payments to avoid material breach of arbitration agreements under California law.

Bearing the Burden: Understanding Summary Judgment in Employment Discrimination

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Feb 13, 2024 | 0 Comments

In Hittle v. City of Stockton, former fire chief Ronald Hittle claimed religious discrimination, citing remarks by the deputy city manager. Despite Hittle's attempts to use the comments as evidence, the Ninth Circuit upheld the city's summary judgment, emphasizing the insufficiency of the remarks in meeting the criteria to defeat summary judgment and the city's valid reasons for termination based on Hittle's job performance.

Defining "Dispute": The Impact of the Ending Forced Arbitration Act on Harassment Claims

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Feb 08, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, effective March 3, 2022, invalidates prior arbitration agreements for sexual assault or harassment disputes. In Kader v. Southern California Medical Center, Inc. (2024), a California Court of Appeal clarified that a "dispute" arises when a party asserts a right, claim, or demand, not when the alleged misconduct actually occurred.

Suarez v. Superior Court: Section 1281.97 and Timely Arbitration Payments

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Jan 28, 2024 | 0 Comments

Under section 1281.97, if an employer fails to pay arbitration fees within 30 days of the due date, it constitutes a "material breach," leading to the forfeiture of arbitration rights. In Suarez v. Superior Court (2024), an employer sought to evade section 1281.97 through alternative filing requirements. The Court of Appeal dismissed the employer's arguments, emphasizing the importance of timely payment for employers to uphold arbitration agreements.

Tough Pill to Swallow: PAGA's Impact on Arbitration Waivers and "Poison Pill" Clauses

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Jan 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

In Demarinis v. Heritage Bank of Commerce (2023), employees, initially under an arbitration agreement, grappled with complexities tied to PAGA, arbitration waivers, and "poison pill" clauses. This case emphasizes the need for meticulous drafting of arbitration clauses, underscoring the importance of specificity in waiver provisions, as the inclusion of a "poison pill" can lead to an entire arbitration contract being deemed unenforceable.

Snoeck v. ExakTime: The Cost of Incivility

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Jan 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

Snoeck v. Exaktime demonstrates the substantial influence of incivility on attorney fees, as the court upheld a 40% reduction due to the plaintiff's counsel's uncivil behavior during trial and on appeal. This establishes a precedent, underscoring the need for legal professionals to maintain respect and civility within the California legal system to avoid significant financial consequences.

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