Posts from June 2010.
06.29.2010

Can an independent contractor sue a general contractor for injuries he sustains on a construction site as a result of a “peculiar risk” inherent in the nature of the work? No, said the California Supreme Court in the case of Tverberg v. Fillner Construction, Inc., issued June 28, 2010, because the independent contractor assumes responsibility for workplace safety by entering into a contract requiring ...

06.25.2010

Today, in Faulkinbury v. Boyd & Associates, Inc., the California Court of Appeal issued a decision that might prove helpful to employers opposing motions for class certification of wage and hour claims.  The court reiterated that it is the plaintiff(s)' burden to show his or her claims are susceptible to common proof (i.e. proof of alleged liability common to all of the purported class members) and that a ...

06.23.2010

On June 22, 2010, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrative Interpretation clarifying the definition of “son or daughter” as it applies to an employee standing in loco parentis to allow individuals who provide day-to-day care of a child to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

The FMLA entitles an employee to 12 workweeks of leave for the birth or placement of a son or daughter ...

06.22.2010

The California legislative season is in full swing.  Among the proposed bills this year are several involving changes to meal and rest period regulations, some new leave entitlements, and legislation that may affect the hiring and firing process.  We will be monitoring these and other bills throughout the summer as the August 31, 2010 deadline for bill passage approaches. 

AB 482 (Mendoza) Consumer Credit ...

06.22.2010

One issue that often arises in litigation over arbitration agreements is “Who gets to decide if the agreement to arbitrate is valid?” This is usually a “gateway issue” for the courts to decide under both the federal and California arbitration statutes. However, sometimes the parties specifically agree that the arbitrator can decide issues of contract validity and enforceability, in order to ...

06.22.2010

On June 17, 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a city audit of an employee’s text messages on a city-owned device did not violate the Fourth Amendment.  In City of Ontario v. Quon, the Supreme Court determined that the City of Ontario’s search was reasonable under the narrow factual circumstances of this case. Significantly, however, the Supreme Court declined to address the broader issue of ...
06.20.2010

As we previously reported here, by Executive Order 13496, the Obama administration revoked Executive Order 13201 issued by the Bush administration requiring that providers of goods or services to the executive branch to post a Beck notice informing employees of their rights to not join a union and their right to not pay agency fees associated with the political and other non-representation activities of a ...

06.17.2010

On June 17, 2010, in  New Process Steel, L.P. v. National Labor Relations Board, the United States Supreme Court dealt a severe blow to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and hundreds of NLRB decisions.  From the period of late 2008 to early 2010, the NLRB operated with a two member quorum.  Three empty seats at the Board remained during this period as appointment packages did not receive Senate confirmation ...

06.10.2010

As we previously reported here, the Los Angeles Times has reported here that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") agency, the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") is conducting a crackdown on employers that knowingly hire or retain undocumented workers. Alleged violators are being prosecuted in Federal court by the United States Attorney.

Employers ...

06.09.2010

AALRR clients have recently had two published rulings by the National Labor Relations Board in which competing unions have disputed work assignments by construction contractors. Where either or both unions to a dispute picket or threaten to picket because of such a dispute, the NLRB can get involved. If the unions involved have not agreed to a different mechanism to resolve such disputes, the NLRB has the ...

06.09.2010

Awards of backpay in unfair labor practice cases are intended to make whole an employee who suffers a loss of earnings because of an unfair labor practice.  Because awards of backpay are typically limited to an employee's actual loss, an award of backpay is usually offset by any post termination earnings.

In Atlantic Veal & Lamb, Inc., 355 NLRB No. 38 (May 28, 2010), the National Labor Relations Board ruled in ...

06.05.2010

As we previously reported here, on May 20, 2010, by a unanimous decision in Martinez v. Corky N. Combs, the California Supreme Court clarified the standard courts must use to determine who is liable as an "employer" for violations of wage and hour laws embodied in Industrial Welfare Commission ("IWC") Wage Orders, including claims for unpaid or underpaid wages.  In that case, the plaintiffs sought to hold ...

06.04.2010

On June 1, 2010, the California Court of Appeal refused to enforce an arbitration agreement to require the arbitration of claims asserted against third parties who did not agree to arbitration. In Valencia v. Smyth, purchasers of real property sued their agent, the property owners and the owners’ broker and listing agent, and three additional parties (two title companies and the trustee of the deed of ...

06.04.2010

The issue of whether an employer's obligation to "provide" to non-exempt employees unpaid, duty free meal periods of at least 30 minutes means the employer must ensure that non-exempt employees actually take such meal periods or means the employer must merely make the meal periods available has been pending before the California Supreme Court since August 2008 when the court granted review of the Court of ...

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