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When the California Supreme Court decided Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (2014), this June, some legal commentators assumed that employees could not waive pre-litigation claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Those assumptions may have been premature. As we noted here, at least one federal court refused to apply Iskanian forcing an employee’s individual PAGA claims to arbitration. The list seems to be growing. The Courts in…
In a case of first impression within the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the whistleblower protection provision in Dodd-Frank protects whistleblowers who report alleged violations both internally and to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Connolly v. Wolfgang Remkes, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153439 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 28, 2014).  More specifically, in this case, the court determined that a former employee qualified as Dodd-Frank whistleblower (at…
The California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, (discussed here), held that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) except as to claims that were made pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). PAGA allows aggrieved employees to represent other current and former employees and recover civil penalties on behalf of the State of California for purported Labor Code violations.…
On September 3, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld certification of a class of approximately 800 nonexempt insurance claims adjusters who claimed they worked overtime without compensation despite the employer’s lawful written policy to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked. In Jimenez v. Allstate Ins. Co., the Ninth Circuit upheld certification after finding three common questions existed.  First, whether Allstate had an unofficial policy of discouraging employees from reporting overtime;…
Businesses have a strong interest in protecting their employees and customers from criminals. Moreover, a number of federal and state laws require employers to run criminal background checks on job applicants and, in some cases, to disqualify them based on a past arrest or conviction. To see the full article in the Wall Street Journal, click here.…
Yesterday, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, upholding class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements. This means that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 opinion in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion is to be given full force and effect in the employment setting in California. That said, however, Iskanian distinguishes the right of an employee to bring a representative action under California’s Private Attorneys General…
Commentators have quipped that class certification is so easy in California that with little effort a group of plaintiffs could certify even a ham sandwich.  In fact, as we have discussed here, we have seen a proliferation of recent appellate decisions hinging class certification on the mere existence of an employer’s uniform policy – no matter how facially lawful that policy may be or how diverse its application is to the putative class at…
In Stiller v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 3:09-cv-2473-GPC-BGS, Plaintiffs Eric Stiller and Joseph Moro alleged that Costco’s loss-prevention closing procedures effectively “forced” employees to work off-the clock without getting paid because they were required to remain on-site after they had clocked out of their shifts to go through security screenings. In December 2010, the district court certified a California-wide class finding that common questions predominated because Costco employed a centralized policy which applied to…
In its recent per curiam opinion in Rea v. Michaels Stores, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified rules and procedures relevant to defendants seeking to remove cases to federal court. In Rea, the plaintiffs filed a class action alleging that Michaels improperly classified California store managers as exempt from overtime. Michaels removed the action to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), but the district court remanded…
On January 30, 2014, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District ruled that California State courts have concurrent jurisdiction over retaliation claims under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) in Driscoll v. Superior Court (Spencer). The following addresses the basis for that ruling and its implications. Background Radiologist Scott Driscoll worked for physician Todd Spencer and his medical practice, the Todd Spencer, M.D., Medical Group, Inc. On behalf of himself and the Medical Group,…