Labor and Employment Law

Newly-Published Labor and Employment Cases

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Garcia v. Haralambos Beverage Co. (CA2/5 B296923 1/4/21) Wage and Hour/Arbitration 

The employer waived its right to arbitrate by waiting to file its motion to compel arbitration of plaintiffs’ individual claims until after it failed to settle the case following two years of classwide discovery and class notice procedures.

Christian v. Umpqua Bank (9th Cir. 18-35522 12/31/20) Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment by Customer 

The appellate court reversed a grant of summary judgment for the employer, finding genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether a customer’s alleged harassing conduct (including indirect contact such as sending letters to the plaintiff and visually observing her at work, and making comments about the plaintiff to other employees) was severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment for plaintiff and, if so, whether the employer was liable under Title VII for promptly failing to stop the harassing conduct.

Shirvanyan v. Los Angeles Community College etc. (CA2/1 B296593, filed 11/30/20, ord. pub. 12/29/20) FEHA Disability Discrimination/Interactive Process/Available Reasonable Accommodation 

New trial granted where evidence supported the employer’s liability for failure to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate only one of plaintiff’s two disabilities, and the jury did not indicate whether it relied on the employer’s response to one or both disabilities in reaching its verdict.

Dept. of Human Resources v. Internat. Union of Operating Engineers (CA5 F078825 12/17/20) Public Employment MOU/Arbitration 

A collective bargaining agreement required State departments to remove certain “materials of a negative nature” from an employee’s personnel file upon request. An arbitrator interpreted the agreement as banning the State’s use of such materials in future personnel actions. Arbitration award vacated because the arbitrator’s interpretation violates the merit principle of State civil service by preventing the State from considering negative materials when making appointment, promotional, and disciplinary decisions.

Doe v. CVS Pharmacy (9th Cir. 19-15074 12/9/20) Affordable Care Act/Employer-Sponsored Healthcare Plan 

Pharmacy benefits manager for plaintiffs’ employer-sponsored health plans required them to obtain specialty HIV/AIDS medications through its designated specialty pharmacy for those benefits to be considered “in-network.” Plaintiffs stated a claim for disability discrimination under section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which requires the plaintiff to allege facts adequate to state a claim under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, because they adequately alleged that they were denied meaningful access to their prescription drug benefit under their employer-sponsored health plans because defendants’ program prevented them from receiving effective treatment for HIV/AIDS.

Hildebrandt v. Staples the Office Superstore, LLC (CA2/3 B294642 12/4/20) Wage and Hour Class Action/Statute of Limitations/Tolling 

Plaintiff’s claims for various Labor Code violations were tolled during the pendency of the class certification portions of two class action lawsuits in which plaintiff was a putative class member. Accordingly, although plaintiff filed his lawsuit more than four years after his employment with Staples ended, his lawsuit was timely because it was filed two months after the court denied class certification in the second class action lawsuit.

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