News & Analysis

California Supreme Court decides when an order is final

Generally, a party to a lawsuit may appeal an adverse ruling only after the trial court renders a final judgment. The following case involved the application of that general rule after a trial court granted a petition for a writ of administrative mandamus and remanded the matter (i.e., sent it back) for proceedings before an administrative body. The issuance of the writ didn't definitively resolve the dispute between the parties, but it did mark the end of the writ before the trial court. Accordingly, the California Supreme Court held that the order was an appealable final judgment.

Court of appeal permits alleged joint employer to compel arbitration

A temporary employee sued his staffing company and the company where he worked for wage and hour violations and unfair business practices. Both companies asked the court to compel arbitration based on the employee's arbitration agreement with the staffing company. The employee conceded that he would need to arbitrate his claims against the staffing company, but he objected to arbitrating his claims against the alleged joint employer, which wasn't a signatory to the arbitration agreement. The trial court granted the motion to compel for both the staffing company and the alleged joint employer. The court of appeal affirmed the trial court's ruling.

No presumption that 'on-call' duty is 'off duty' for employees entitled to rest periods

Employers' compliance with meal break and rest period requirements continues to be a hot-button issue in California. In a recent case, current and former employees brought all-too-familiar claims that an ambulance company's meal and rest period policies violate California law. The employees alleged class claims as well as nonclass claims under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA).

Are interview questions about salary history off-limits?

The California Legislature is currently considering a bill that would prohibit employers from asking prospective hires about their prior salary. Similar legislation was vetoed by Governor Edmund G. Brown in 2015 and removed from California's Fair Pay Act, which was enacted in 2016. However, Massachusetts, New York City, and Philadelphia have recently enacted legislation banning salary history questions as part of a growing nationwide effort to decrease pay disparities between women and men. Here are some tips on how to tackle this thorny issue and some broader guidelines to help you address pay disparity issues (and avoid the potential litigation that may result).

9th Circuit rescues popular garbage man's claims from the trash

When a waste company fired a long-serving and well-liked garbage truck driver, the community rallied to his support. The employer agreed to bring him back to work, but it then fired him again when he didn't provide a work authorization document within three days of rehire. A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all California employers) recently found the employer's claimed reason for the discharge not to be legitimate and allowed the driver to proceed with claims of age discrimination and retaliation.

9th Circuit nixes claims of airline workers who took early out

Unions owe all their members a duty to represent their interests fairly. But the fact that all members don't share equally in benefits distributed by a union doesn't necessarily mean that the union has acted unfairly. That's the conclusion the 9th Circuit reached in a recent decision.

Use of past pay to set starting pay is 'factor other than sex'

Many women, supported by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), contend that employers perpetuate pay discrimination when they use a new hire's pay history to set starting pay. But when recently asked to consider the issue once again, the 9th Circuit reaffirmed its earlier position that past pay history can be a "factor other than sex" that provides an exception to the requirements of the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA).

Spinning and the political cycle

We have warned employers many times about the risks of bringing politics to work. Last week, Lindsay Buckley, a 29-year-old white cycling instructor at SolarCycle in Manhattan Beach, sued her employer in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming she was fired and subjected to a "campaign of harassment and discriminatory and retaliatory factors" because she was erroneously perceived as a Donald Trump supporter. Buckley and her lawyer said that she filed suit because "reverse discrimination is still discrimination" and is a form of "racial stereotyping that we have fought for more than 50 years to eradicate." In addition to potential claims under the antidiscrimination statutes, employees are protected under Labor Code Section 1102 from any adverse job action based on their political activity or beliefs.

Workplace Trends

Study shows impact of college majors on gender pay gap. An analysis from Glassdoor shows how mens and womens college majors contribute to the average gender pay gap in the early stages of their careers. The study, The Pipeline Problem: How College Majors Contribute to the Gender Pay Gap, shows how the way men and women tend to sort into different majors affects pay within the first five years after graduation. The analysis shows an 11.5% average pay gap among new grads in the early years of their careers. Even with the same degree, men and women often sort into different jobs that pay differently. For example, the analysis found that the major leading to the largest average pay gap is healthcare administration, with a 22% pay gap. The three most common healthcare administration jobs men take after college are implementation consultant, quality specialist, and data consultant. The three most common jobs women take after earning the same degree are the lower-paying administrative assistant, customer care representative, and intern positions.

Be in compliance with I-9 requirements for remote workers

The Trump administration's aggressive stance on immigration enforcement suggests that employers should be prepared for an increase in workplace audits and document inspections from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).