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Adam Y. SiegelBlog Posts

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State Budget Proposal Seeks to Reduce PAGA Litigation Through Increased State Oversight

On January 7, 2016, Governor Brown’s office submitted a 22-page Budget Change Proposal for 2016-2017 (http://web1a.esd.dof.ca.gov/Documents/bcp/1617/FY1617_ORG7350_BCP474.pdf) in an effort to “stabilize and improve the handling of Private Attorneys General Act cases.” Background Enacted in 2003, the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) enables private parties to recover penalties for certain Labor Code violations that could previously … Continue Reading
February 26, 2016

Public Sector Union Fees Continue to Hang in the Balance With Scalia’s Passing

The recent death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia will give public sector unions a short respite in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et al., a case that was likely to limit public sector unions’ ability to require mandatory fees from public workers. Following last month’s oral arguments before the High Court, many legal analysts expected … Continue Reading
February 22, 2016

Arbitration Agreements

Denying an employer’s motion to compel individual arbitration of a wage and hour class action, a California federal court ruled that the employer’s dispute resolution program violated its employees’ right to engage in concerted action under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Totten v. Kellogg Brown & Root, LLC. Notably, this ruling departs from the … Continue Reading
February 8, 2016

Waiting Time Penalties Under California Labor Code Not Wages for Federal Tax Purposes

Waiting time penalties imposed under Section 203 of the California Labor Code are not “wages” for purposes of federal income or employment taxes, according to a Chief Counsel Advice Memorandum issued by the Internal Revenue Service. Although the Memorandum is not precedential, it provides guidance regarding the IRS’s current views on the taxability of such … Continue Reading
November 30, 2015

Worker Misclassification Risk? Top 10 Questions to Ask about Your Independent Contractors

Employers’ risk of liability for the misclassification of workers continues to grow, as employee misclassification remains a top enforcement priority for the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), and class actions asserting misclassification claims are filed almost daily in federal and California state courts. Employers regularly using independent contractors should examine those relationships periodically to ensure … Continue Reading
November 20, 2015

Reversing $1 Million Judgment against Los Angeles, the California Court of Appeals Ruled Continuing Violation Doctrine did not apply to Firefighter’s Decades-Old Race Discrimination and Harassment Claims

The California Court of Appeal reversed a $1 million judgment against the City of Los Angeles in a racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation case brought by a firefighter under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Jumaane v. City of Los Angeles. After 12 years of litigation and two jury trials, the Court ruled that … Continue Reading
November 20, 2015

An Employee’s Request for a Disability or Religious Accommodation Is Considered Protected Activity Under Change to the Fair Employment and Housing Act

Effective January 1, 2016, an employee’s request for an accommodation for a disability or for religious reasons is considered to be “protected activity” for a retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Existing law requires an employer covered by the FEHA to provide reasonable accommodation of, among other things, a person’s disability … Continue Reading
November 9, 2015

Employer Cannot Enforce Class Action Waiver Because Court of Appeal Rules Interstate Truck Drivers Not Subject to FAA

On October 26, 2015, a California Court of Appeal held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not apply to interstate truck drivers, and as a result, it ruled that an employer’s class action waiver was unenforceable as a matter of public policy under the California Gentry rule. Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, … Continue Reading
November 9, 2015

The California Senate Passes a Bill That May Abolish Arbitration Agreements

On August 24, 2015, the California Senate passed measure AB-465 which prevents employers from requiring employees to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment. The Senate approved this measure by a vote of 22-15. In support of this measure, Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernandez stated, “No worker should be forced to choose between a job and … Continue Reading
September 1, 2015

Common Sense Prevails as Court Knocks Out Yelp Reviewers’ Class Action Seeking Pay for Voluntary Online Reviews

A California federal judge dismissed a putative employment collective action last week, brought by individuals who wrote reviews on Yelp, a popular online business rating website predicated on user-reviews, holding that an individual who acts for personal pleasure without a promise of pay does not have a claim for wages under federal labor law. Jeung, … Continue Reading
August 24, 2015

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