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

Recently in Employment Law Category

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.

Vergara Decision Stands: CA Teacher Tenure to Stay

The California Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Vergara v. California, one of the most significant teacher's tenure cases to date. This means that the state appeals court decision is undisturbed, preserving many employment rights for teachers.

CA Farmers Sue to Block 'Piece-Rate' Modifications

A California farming interest league has filed a complaint in Fresno County Court alleging that Assembly Bill 1513, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, is unconstitutionally vague, according to Court House News.

The law is essentially an updated version of a pay scheme that California has had in place since the turn of the century. But now its critics have argued that the latest updates are an opening for harm to farmers and even to workers.

We have to say it: we're a little disappointed in the Uber settlement -- and not because it doesn't give drivers enough cash, or because we'd rather not tip. The settlement means that one of the biggest questions of the modern "gig economy" goes unanswered. We still don't know: are the thousands of on-demand workers, at companies like Uber, Lyft, and Postmates, employees or independent contractors?

Uber announced yesterday that it was settling two massive class actions brought by its drivers. As part of the settlement, Uber will pay $100 million and allow drivers to solicit tips from passengers, but those same drivers will continue to be considered independent contractors by the company.

California Supreme Court Makes It Easier to Sue Over Seats

California's highest court jumped into a surprisingly controversial area of the law yesterday: seating. The California Supreme Court provided guidance to the Ninth Circuit on Monday in a case brought by retail and banking employees trying to sue their bosses over lack of adequate seating -- and trying to form a class action to do it.

The row is over the proper interpretation of key California labor law requiring businesses to provide "suitable seats." So, just what on earth is a "suitable seat" anyway?

May Day came a bit early for workers in the Golden State as the Supreme Court and the state government handed organized labor two major wins. In Washington, D.C., a deadlocked Supreme Court decision helped save public labor unions from a major challenge. In Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown announced that he would raise the state's minimum wage by 50 percent, to $15 an hour.

Let's take a look at these recent victories.

When it comes to labor regulations, farm workers are in a class by themselves -- a class that largely exempts them from normal minimum wage, child labor, and overtime laws. But even that class has subclasses, which privilege certain types of agricultural work over others. If you're a prune dryer in California, for example, state regulations entitle you to more overtime than if you're simply a prune picker.

And those regulations have a bit of a bite, as two farmers learned on Tuesday in California's Third Appellate District court.

Lyft Amputates a Toe to Save the Foot, Settles Class Action Suit

"It looks like Lyft got off fairly lightly here," according to a market analyst commenting on the recent settlement agreement between Lyft and its drivers. Under the terms of the settlement, the ride-sharing company will pay $12.5 million, give concessions, and give drivers notice if they are to be deactivated.

It's good news for Lyft, but not so great news for its bigger rival Uber, whose head is still inching toward the chopping block.

The California State Legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed, more than 800 new laws in 2015, covering everything from physician-assisted suicide, to minimum wage, to beer-tastings at farmers' markets. As is often the case, most of those new laws went into effect at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2016.

Here's a quick overview of some of the most significant new laws and how they might affect your life and your legal practice.

'Sharing Economy' Lawyer Wins Uber Class Expansion

The lawyer behind the class actions suits of Uber, Lyft, Amazon and Google is on a roll. Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court in California recently decided that the entire group of Uber drivers can join as plaintiffs in one of the most contested misclassification suits in history.