By:  Brendan J. Begley

A number of recent California appellate decisions reveal hidden traps that may ensnare employers in administrative proceedings involving employee claims for unemployment or workers-compensation benefits. Such proceedings typically appear routine and uncomplicated. Nonetheless, missteps in handling those routine and relatively low-risk claims can greatly increase an employer’s exposure to liability in a separate civil action alleging wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or similar claims.


Continue Reading Traps for Employers in Routine Unemployment and Workers Comp Proceedings

By:   Duyen T. Nguyen

In George Vranish, Jr. et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, 2014 DJDAR 761, January 23, 2014, the Court upheld the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) which set forth overtime pay for Exxon Mobil’s employees. Pursuant to the CBA, Plaintiffs were paid at the overtime premium rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek or over 12 hours in a workday but were not paid overtime for hours worked between the eighth and twelfth hour in a workday. Thus, Plaintiffs argued that they were not paid premium compensation for all “overtime hours worked” as required under Labor Code section 510. That section provides that any work in excess of eight hours in one workday is compensated at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for an employee and any work in excess of 12 hours in one day is compensated at 2 times the regular rate of pay for an employee.


Continue Reading A Collective Bargaining Agreement That Provides For Premium Rates For Overtime Hours Worked Is Not Subject To The Same Overtime Pay Obligations Defined By California Labor Code Section 510

By: Lizbeth V. West, Esq.

On September 25, 2013 Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 10 into law. Under the new law the statutory minimum wage for California employees will increase from $8 per hour to $9 per hour as of July 1, 2014. Then, on January 1, 2016, the statutory minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour.


Continue Reading Notice To Employers – Audit Your Compensation Plans Based On The Increase To California’s Statutory Minimum Wage

By: Lizbeth V. West, Esq.

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 462 which places restrictions on an employer’s ability to recoup attorney’s fees when it prevails in an unpaid wage or benefit claim.

Labor Code section 218.5 previously provided that except in certain circumstances, in an action brought for the nonpayment of wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions, a court was to award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party if any party to the action requests attorney’s fees and costs upon the initiation of the action. SB 462 amends section 218.5 to provide that where the prevailing party is the employer, attorney’s fees and costs can only be awarded if the court finds the employee brought the wage and hour action in bad faith.


Continue Reading Amendment to the Labor Code Makes it Harder for Employers to Get Attorney’s Fees if They Prevail in an Unpaid Wage or Benefit Claim

The FSMA is the most extensive change to the U.S. food safety system in more than 70 years. Signed into law in 2011, the FSMA directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue numerous regulations directed toward enhancing food safety and minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses. As with almost every law nowadays, the FSMA contains a whistleblower provision to ostensibly “advance the broad goals” of the new law.

Continue Reading Food and Beverage Companies Beware: New Risks Associated with Whistleblower Protections Under the Food Safety Modernization Act