Hazel U. Poei

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By way of background, in Palacio v. Jan & Gail’s Care Homes, Inc. (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 1133, the Fifth District Court of Appeal considered the interplay between subdivisions 11(A) and 11(E) of Wage Order No. 5. Subdivision 11(A) allows employers and employees to agree that meal periods will be on duty and to revoke these voluntary agreements at any time and states: No employer shall employ any person for a work period of more than…
The California Supreme Court recently held that the tort claim of conversion is not an appropriate vehicle for plaintiffs seeking recovery of unpaid wages. In Voris v. Lampert (Cal. 2019) Case No. S241812, the plaintiff brought suit against three start-up ventures and two individual defendants to recover wages which had been promised to the plaintiff but never paid. The operative complaint raised twenty-four causes of action including: breach of oral contract, quantum meruit, fraud, failure…
In Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court (53 Cal. 4th 1004), the California Supreme Court explained that an employer must relieve the employee of all duty for the designated meal period, but need not ensure that the employee does not work. In other words, no policing of meal breaks by the employer is required; and employees can break themselves. Now, the Ninth Circuit is asking the California Supreme Court if employers must go further in spelling…
In April 2018, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal. 5th 903, 916-17 and set forth the standards for determining independent contractor status for purposes of the California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. The Court presumed that a worker is an employee unless he or she meets the requirements of the “ABC Test.” To satisfy the ABC Test and thus be legally considered an independent…
Judge George H. Wu of the United States District Court for the Central District of California recently dismissed meal and rest break claims brought under the California Labor Code in a class action against motor carrier U.S. Xpress. In Anthony Ayala v. U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Inc. et al, Judge Wu granted U.S. Xpress’ motion for partial summary judgment, stating that he did not possess the authority to review the merits of the case since the…
With political campaigns well underway, the protection of “free speech” and concerns that regular political discourse could create potential liability are mounting.  Notably, within the last year, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Commission expanded upon a number of definitions and specific employment practices prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Not listed among them is any specifically identified protection applicable to political speech or beliefs. (See Government Code § 12940(a)[“It is an unlawful employment practice…[f]or an employer, because of…
On March 26, 2019, proposed Assembly Bill 5, which would codify the California Supreme Court’s controversial Dynamex decision, was amended to exempt certain types of licensed workers. Just as noteworthy as the types of workers identified as exempt from the standard are the types of employees who were not identified. For example, the exemption does not appear to cover trucking companies and gig economy transportation companies. If there are specific statutory exclusions, it will be…
On February 7, 2019, the California Supreme Court determined that an employee cannot sue a payroll company for breach of contract under the third party beneficiary doctrine, and that it is inappropriate to impose a tort duty of care upon a payroll company with regards to the obligations owed to an employee under the applicable labor statutes and wage orders. After filing a civil complaint against her former employer alleging causes of action for wrongful…
By now, most employers should be aware of the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Family Act which went into effect in 2015.  Under California law, all employers (with very few exceptions), must allow employees to use up to 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave in a 12-month period.  However, what many employers do not know is that several cities within the State of California have their own paid sick leave requirements, many of…
Since passing the California Fair Pay Act (“CFPA”) on October 6, 2015, California has remained a trailblazer in its efforts to address and decrease gender pay inequity. The CFPA requires all employers pay employees performing “substantially similar work” the same wage regardless of gender, ethnicity or race. The CFPA also requires employers to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant who makes a reasonable request for it, prohibits employers from requesting an applicant’s prior…