Labor and Employment Law

Newly-Published Labor and Employment Cases

Assn. for L.A. Deputy Sheriffs v. Macias (CA2/8  B295086 4/30/21) Union Board Member Removal 

Labor union had associational standing to seek damages on behalf of its members for former board members’ breach of fiduciary duty.

Martinez v. Rite Aid Corporation (CA2/7 B292672 4/30/21) Wrongful Termination/ Compensatory Damages 

Actual earnings from post-termination employment must be offset from a lost earnings award regardless of whether the employment was comparable to the prior employment. Comparability to prior employment is only relevant in determining whether projected earnings from employment not sought or accepted may be used to offset lost earnings.

Rosales v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (CA2/8 B305546 4/30/21) Arbitration/PAGA 

The threshold question whether a plaintiff is an employee who can seek penalties under PAGA cannot be delegated to an arbitrator.

Verceles v. L.A. Unified School Dist. (CA2/7 B303182, filed 4/19/21, ord. pub. 4/29/21) FEHA/Anti-SLAPP 

Trial court improperly granted anti-SLAPP motion because plaintiff’s discrimination and retaliation causes of action arose out of the school district’s unprotected decisions to reassign him and terminate his employment, not any protected communications made during its investigation of his alleged misconduct or the investigation as a whole.

Calif. Truck. Ass’n v Bonta (9th Cir. 20-55106 4/28/21) AB 5 ABC Test/FAAAA Preemption 

District court improperly enjoined the State of California from enforcing AB 5 against motor carriers doing business in California. Because AB 5 is a generally applicable labor law that affects a motor carrier’s relationship with its workforce and does not bind, compel, or otherwise freeze into place the prices, routes, or services of motor carriers, it is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994.

Towner v. County of Ventura (CA2/7 B306283 4/28/21) POBRA 

Willful disclosure of a public safety officer’s confidential personnel records without complying with mandatory procedures for disclosure under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act and Penal Code section 832.7 is not protected activity under the anti-SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16.

Rush University Medical Center (370 NLRB No. 115 4/27/21) Appropriateness of Manual Election during COVID-19 Pandemic

Before ordering a mail ballot election, Regional Director must consider the likelihood that conducting a manual election would expose employees to COVID-19 and whether current COVID-19 cases among employees eligible to vote would result in their disenfranchisement by a manual election.

Oakland Police Officers’ Assn. v. City of Oakland (CA1/1 A158662 4/26/21) POBRA 

Under section 3303(g) of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, an officer under investigation is entitled “to any reports or complaints made by investigators or other persons, except those which are deemed by the investigating agency to be confidential.” Contrary to Santa Ana Police Officers’ Assn. v. City of Santa Ana (2017) 13 Cal.App.5th 317, the court held section 3303(g) does not require disclosure of confidential reports or complaints after an initial interrogation and prior to any further interrogation.

Felczer v. Apple (CA4/1 D077314 4/23/21) Postjudgment Interest on Prejudgment Interest 

Postjudgment interest on an award of prejudgment costs begins to run on the date of the judgment or order that establishes the right of a party to recover a particular cost item, even if the dollar amount has yet to be ascertained.

Gomez v. The Regents of the University of Cal (CA4/1 D077181.4/23/21) Wage and Hour/PAGA 

California minimum wage laws do not apply to the University of California.

IKEA Distribution Services, Inc. (370 NLRB No. 109 4/19/21) Determination of Appropriate Bargaining Unit

Regional Director must determine whether inclusion of particular employees is required for a proposed unit to be an appropriate unit, even when the employer is precluded from litigating that issue because it did not timely serve its position statement on the union.

Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Ramirez (CA2/5 B299469 4/19/21) Anti-SLAPP/Malicious Prosecution

Ramirez settled her individual wage and hour claims and voluntarily dismissed her class claims before class certification. The employer then filed a malicious prosecution action against Ramirez and her attorney, which was met with an anti-SLAPP motion by Ramirez. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s denial of Ramirez’s motion, finding as a matter of law that the settlement could not establish the underlying action terminated in the employer’s favor. Ramirez’s class claims also did not terminate in the employer’s favor because her voluntary dismissal of those claims did not resolve them on the merits.

Rubio v. CIA Wheel Group (CA2/8 B300021 4/15/21)  FEHA Medical Condition Discrimination/Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages award 3.5 times the amount of compensatory damages affirmed where the employer’s conduct in firing plaintiff while she was undergoing cancer treatment demonstrated a “medium high level” of reprehensibility.

Zoller v. GCA Advisors (9th Cir. 20-15595 4/14/21) Arbitration 

Language in employment and arbitration agreements investment banker signed upon hire was sufficient to constitute a knowing waiver of her right to pursue statutory employment claims in court.

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