California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Employment Law Category

Taxi Drivers Lose Uber Appeal

A recent decision certified for publication out of California's First Appellate District rejected a potential taxi driver class action against Uber. The claims in Goncharov v. Uber were based on allegations of income and passenger appropriation as a result of Uber, essentially, not playing by the rules.

However, as the appellate decision explains, even though Uber didn't play by the rules, the rules didn't quite exist. As a result, Uber reached a settlement with the CPUC to allow them to operate while the final rulemaking for TNCs (Transportation Network Companies) were still underway. As the court reasoned, this left taxi drivers with no viable claims.

Statewide Class of Janitors Certified in Wage Case

A California appeals court re-wrapped its pre-Christmas decision, allowing a class-action to proceed on behalf of janitorial workers for wage violations.

In the ABM Industries Overtime Cases, the First District Court of Appeals certified the class action on Dec. 11, 2017. But the court made a minor modification and published the decision on Jan. 10, 2018.

For some 35,000 janitors, it was all's well that ends well. But for the trial judge, maybe not so much.

Court Revives Obesity Disability Claim Against Club

Ketryn Cornell had a weight problem, and it became an issue at work.

She liked her job, but when a "thin woman" started making more money than she did, things got nasty. A pay dispute quickly turned into a lawsuit.

A trial judge dismissed Cornell's discrimination case, but California's Second District Court of Appeal reversed in part. At trial in Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club, it could go from bad to worse.

California wants to protect actors from age discrimination -- a noble goal, certainly. But the state's way of going about it has raised some eyebrows. Under AB 1687, certain "online entertainment employment service providers" would be prohibited from publishing information about entertainers' ages. The law would apply perhaps exclusively to IMDb, the Internet Movie Database, who has sued, alleging that the law violates the First Amendment.

Now, IMDb has won its first battle. A federal judge issued an injunction against the law earlier this week. The ruling didn't exactly come as a surprise, though. Just a few days earlier, that judge, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, had urged the state to drop its defense of the law.

Taxi Company Shuts Down for Failure to Pay Workers' Comp

A workers' compensation case has put a California taxi company out of business.

Faced with more than $500,000 in fines, A-C Transportation Services, Inc. closed the doors on 20 cabbies on Dec. 31, 2016. The Department of Industrial Relations announced that the closure was part of a settlement based on the company's failure to provide workers' compensation for its drivers.

Kevin and Jennifer Kroh, who also did business as Healdsburg Cab Company, agreed in the settlement to pay a fine of $200,000 and to cease doing business. They had argued unsuccessfully that the drivers were independent contractors rather than employees, and not entitled to workers' compensation.

When is a rest period not a rest period? When you're kept working or on call the whole time, the California Supreme Court recently ruled. In a case decided last Thursday, the court ruled that California law prohibits rest periods and breaks where an employee remains on duty or on call, such as when employees are required to respond to calls or perform basic tasks even when on a required break.

For a break or rest period to meet the requirements of California law, the court concluded, employees must be truly free from work duties.

Well, consider this one of the most obviously stupid things you've encountered recently. In 2011, four supervisors at the West Kern Water District decided to stage a mock robbery in their work place. Following a training on responding to robberies, the supervisors snuck out of the office, with one soon returning dressed in a ski mask, demanding the office's money, and claiming to have a gun.

Of course, the "mock" victim hadn't been informed of the scheme beforehand. To her, everything appeared very, very real.

IMDb, the internet movie database, can tell you virtually every role an actor has played, what projects an actress has in the pipeline, and even your favorite celebrity's height. It can also tell you an actor's age and birthday, at least for now.

A new California law, signed by Governor Brown this September, seeks to deter age discrimination in the entertainment industry by requiring websites like IMDB to remove actors' ages on request. Now, IMDb is suing, alleging that the law violates its First Amendment rights.

Workers at McDonald's franchises in California might soon have a reason to say "I'm lovin' it," now that the company has agreed to a pay out $3.75 million to settle a lawsuit against the world's largest fast food chain. The suit sought to hold McDonald's Corp. accountable, as a joint employer, for the alleged wage and hour violations of a Bay Area franchisee.

The settlement marks the first time McDonald's has agreed to pick up the tab for one of its franchisees, according to Reuters.

When grading teacher performance, school districts aren't required to incorporate students' standardized test scores, a judge in Northern California ruled last week. Contra County Superior Court Judge Barry Goode rejected arguments by the nonprofit group Students Matter that the school districts were required to make standardized test scores a central part of teacher evaluations.

School districts have broad discretion in how to evaluate their teachers' performance, Judge Goode ruled, and all of the 13 districts sued by Students Matter were complying with their legal obligations.