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Recent Blog Posts

Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau Win Rare Wage-Hour Class Action Trial for Employer-Client

On June 5, 2014, the law firm of Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau completely prevailed at trial of a wage-hour class action in the San Mateo County Superior Court, Benjamin Lopez and Susana Rinoza, et al. v. Lucky Chances, Inc., Case No. CIV 486493.  The trial was the culmination of a five-year class action filed in… Read More »

Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau Prevail on Appeal of Trial Court’s Order Denying Firm Employer-Client’s Petition to Compel Arbitration of Former Employee-Plaintiff’s Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Claims

On May 15, 2014, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District ruled in favor of a firm client seeking to enforce an arbitration agreement with a former employee who had filed a lawsuit in court alleging discrimination and wrongful termination in violation of public policy, among other claims.  Lourdes Tiri v. Lucky… Read More »

New California Labor and Employment Laws

Note all bills are searchable on the Legislative Counsel’s website: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html   AB 2751 Expands Bases and Remedies for Retaliation, Including for Threatening to Report Immigration-Related Violations  AB 2751, authored by Assembly Representative Roger Hernández, Retaliation, Chaptered June 28, 2014 (changes in italics below): Existing law prohibits an employer from discharging an employee or in any… Read More »

Supreme Court of California Sharply Criticizes Use of Statistical Sampling and “Representative” Testimony in Wage-Hour Class Actions as Violation of Employer-Defendant’s Constitutional Due Process Rights

On May 29, 2014, the Supreme Court of California issued a unanimous opinion in Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n., __ Cal. 4th __, 14 C.D.O.S. 5864 (Case No. S200923, May 29, 2014), sharply criticizing the trial court’s use of statistical samples and selected “representative” testimony when doing so interferes with the employer-defendant’s due process… Read More »

Practice Pointer: Drafting Enforceable Employment Arbitration Agreements

Following the pro-arbitration decisions in Iskanian, Tiri and Malone, it is clear that California employers may develop and enforce employment arbitration agreements with class action waivers and may reserve questions regarding the enforceability of the arbitration agreement to the arbitrator.  However, employers should still proceed with caution, as the enforceability of delegation clauses and arbitration… Read More »

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates President Obama’s “Recess” Appointments to the NLRB, Resulting in Review of NLRB’s Recent Pro-Union Rulings

On June 26, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning, __ U.S. __, (Case No. 12-1281, June 26, 2014), voiding President Obama’s 2012 recess appointments to the NLRB on the ground that the appointments exceeded the President’s constitutional authority.  In so holding, the Court affirmed the D.C. Circuit… Read More »

Supreme Court of California Limits Use of “After-Acquired Evidence” and “Unclean Hands” Doctrines as Defenses to Employment Discrimination Claims by Undocumented Workers

On June 27, 2014, the Supreme Court of California issued its decision in Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., __ Cal. 4th __, 14 C.D.O.S. 7206 (Case No. S196568), holding that an employee who fraudulently obtained employment through use of someone else’s social security number may still pursue employment discrimination claims stemming from termination and recover… Read More »

California Court of Appeal Refuses to Enforce Employment Arbitration Agreement Based on the Employer’s Failure to Translate Portions of it into Spanish

On May 9, 2014, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held that an arbitration agreement is unconscionable and an employer cannot compel arbitration when the employer failed to translate the entirety of an English-language employment agreement containing an arbitration agreement, confidentiality clause, and enforceability provision for its Spanish-speaking employees.  Carmona v…. Read More »

Supreme Court of California Holds that FAA Preempts Its Prior Decision in Gentry v. Superior Court, Allowing Class Action Waivers in Employment Arbitration

On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court of California issued its opinion in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, __ Cal. 4th __, 14 C.D.O.S. 6915, Supreme Court Case No. No. S204032 (June 23, 2014), rejecting its own prior limitations on class action waivers but holding that employee representative actions under California’s Labor Code… Read More »

Another California Court of Appeal Enforces the “Delegation” Provision in Employment Arbitration Agreement

On June 17, 2014, the California Court of Appeal in Malone v. Superior Court (California Bank & Trust), __ Cal. App. 4th __, 14 C.D.O.S. 6667, Case No. B253891 (June 17, 2014), upheld an employer’s delegation clause requiring issues relating to the enforceability of an employer’s arbitration agreement to be sent to the arbitrator for… Read More »