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Posts Tagged ‘Employment’

First District Affirms Waiver of Right to Arbitrate in Wage & Hour Case

In Arbitration, Waiver on February 17, 2012 at 6:34 am
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In an unpublished decision, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration in a wage and hour class action, where defendants conducted voluminous discovery and filed and fully litigating two motions to compel further responses to discovery, a motion for sanctions and a motion for a protective order.    Partridge, et al. v. Hott Wings, Inc., et al., No. A130266, 2012 WL 470458 (Feb. 14, 2012).

Discussion

The Court found that Defendants’ delay in filing their petition to compel arbitration “connotes an intent not to arbitrate”.  Id. Defendants conducted substantial discovery:

Between March 2010 and the October 2010 hearing on defendants’ motion to compel arbitration, defendants engaged in voluminous written discovery to which plaintiffs responded.   In addition, defendants deposed numerous plaintiffs and third party witnesses.   Although plaintiffs had begun deposing witnesses, they had not yet obtained basic documents from defendants through discovery.   The discovery focused on the liability of individual defendants and the franchise defendants that employ plaintiffs.   As a result of defendants’ discovery requests, plaintiffs provided information regarding plaintiffs’ estimated damages, which defendants were responsible for which violations, and the liability of the individual as well as the franchise defendants.   A reasonable inference is that the information gained from defendants’ discovery goes to significant issues in plaintiffs’ case.

Id.

In addition, the Court found that Defendants “substantially invoked the litigation machinery” by: Read the rest of this entry »

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Jury Denies Disability Discrimination Claims, But Awards $212 for Violation of Labor Code sections 201 and 203

In Jury, Waiting Time Penalties on February 8, 2011 at 8:17 am
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In a wage and hour, failure to accommodate, and disability discrimination case, a welder alleged that his employer terminated him because of his intestinal ailment.  Cubias v. Murray’s Iron Works Inc., 7 Trials Digest 14th 14, 2010 WL 5690615, Case No. BC406749 (Cal. Superior, Verdict: July 29, 2010).

Plaintiff alleged that he was employed as an aluminum welder until defendant Murray’s Iron Works terminated his employment.  Plaintiff alleged he was harassed and terminated, when he disclosed his medical condition/disability called diverticulosis or diverticular disease., which occurred when pressure in plaintiff’s colon formed bulging pouches that can cause severe stomach cramps, aches, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Id.

Plaintiff alleged disability discrimination, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, failure to engage in the interactive process, unlawful retaliation, unlawful retaliation in violation of public policy, harassment, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, failure to prevent retaliation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and failure to pay overtime wages against defendant Murray’s Iron Works.  Id. Against defendant Irene Leisner, the Human Resources Manager and co-owner of Murray’s Iron Works, plaintiff alleged harassment, invasion of right to privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress for allegedly entering the men’s restroom at work and yelling at him to get back to work and to hurry up while he was using the restroom. Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Denies Certification of Joe’s Crab Shack Meal and Rest Break Class Action

In 23(b)(2) Class, Certification, Class Actions, Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime, Uniform on January 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm
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The Northern District of California denied class certification of a meal and rest break class action in Washington v. Joe’s Crab Shack, No. C 08-5551 PJH, 2010 WL 5396041 (N.D. Cal Dec. 23, 2010.) (slip op.).  Plaintiff Drew Garrett Washington asserted that defendant Crab Addison, Inc. (“Crab Addison”), a company that operates a number of Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants, failed to provide employees with meal and rest breaks, allowed its restaurant managers to manipulate employee time records to deprive employees of pay for all hours worked (including overtime and missed meal break pay), required employees to perform work “off the clock”; and required employees to pay for their own employer-mandated uniforms.  Id. *1.

Class Definition

Plaintiff moved pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, to certify a plaintiff class consisting of “all non-exempt restaurant employees employed by Crab Addison at Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants in California from January 1, 2007, through the present.”

Discussion

The court denied the certification motion.  Id. *11.  “Plaintiff’s position is that common questions predominate because the main issue is whether—notwithstanding Crab Addison’s written policies—Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants in California followed a common unwritten policy of denying meal and rest breaks, failing to pay employees who did not take breaks, failing to pay for overtime, requiring employees to purchase their own uniforms, and so forth.” Id. Plaintiff contended that the existence of a policy or practice that in effect contradicts Crab Addison’s written policies can be ascertained by an analysis of the data in Crab Addison’s computer systems.  Id. “But since plaintiff has failed to adequately explain how that analysis works and exactly what the data shows, he has failed to adequately establish the existence of such a policy or practice.” Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Second District Reverses Summary Judgment on All Wage and Hour Claims

In Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime, Summary Judgment on September 28, 2010 at 5:54 am
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The Court of Appeal for the Second District reversed summary judgment on wage and hour claims in Porter v. Ralphs Grocery Company, No. B218220, 2010 WL 3704055 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Sept. 23, 2010).  Plaintiff alleged that defendant required him to work overtime off the clock, and by doing this defendant both denied plaintiff proper wages and made it difficult for plaintiff to calculate the overtime pay due him.  Id. *8.  Plaintiff also alleged that defendant failed to afford meal periods of at least one-half hour in which he was relieved of all duties, and that he regularly worked without taking the 10 minute rest breaks due him.  Id. Plaintiff alleged violation of Labor Code sections 1174, 226.7, and 512. Id. He also alleged violation of Labor Code sections 201 and 203 for failure to pay all sums due plaintiff immediately upon termination of his employment.  Id. Additionally, he alleged defendant retaliated against him for his having requested that he not have to work off the books. Id.

The Court of Appeal held that “when an employee continues to work at the end of his shift even when not requested or required to do so, and the employer knows or has reason to know about such continuing work, then the time is considered working time and it is the duty of management to see that the post-shift work is not performed if it does not want the employee to work past his shift.” Id. *9 (citing Morillion v. Royal Packing Co., 22 Cal. 4th 575 (2000)). Read the rest of this entry »

Class Certification Granted in Vacation, Uniform, Paycheck, Wage and Contract Class Action

In 23(b)(3) Class, Class Actions, Contract, Paystub, Uniform, Vacation, Wages on September 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm
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The Southern District of California granted class certification in a vacation, uniform, paycheck, wage and contract class action.  Lopez v. G.A.T. Airline Ground Support, Inc., No. 09cv2268-IEG(BGS), 2010 WL 3633177 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 13, 2010) (slip op.).

Background

Former employees of Defendant G.A.T. Airline Ground Support, Inc. (“GAT”) sued for systematic wage and hour violations in violation of federal and state law. Id. *1.  GAT provides services to airlines, including ground transportation, aircraft maintenance, and cargo operations management.  Id. The four named Plaintiffs are former ramp agents employed by GAT in California.  Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Southern District Holds That Compensation Received But Later Forfeited Under Cliff Vesting Schedule in Mandatory Investment Plan, Are Not Unpaid Wages

In Securities, Wages on September 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm
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In Callan v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., No. 09 CV 0566 BEN (BGS), 2010 WL 3452371 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2010) (slip op.), the Southern District held that compensation plans that contained cliff vesting schedules in which awards are forfeited if employment terminates before the awards are vested did not constitute unpaid wages under the Labor Code.

Facts

Former employees of the Defendants Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. participated in three of Merrill Lynch’s employee compensation packages.  Id. *1. Plaintiffs alleged they were required to accept part of their wages in the form of “awards” under the plans. Id. Plaintiffs alleged the plans contain forfeiture provisions that constitute unlawful conversion and violate California’s Labor Code and Unfair Competition Law. Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 List of Things to Know About California’s Wage & Hour Laws

In Articles and Commentary on September 3, 2010 at 8:57 am
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Jim Brown and Marc Koonin of the California Employment Law Letter offer a useful Top 10 list of “Need to Knows” about California wage & hour laws:

  1. Know California’s daily and weekly overtime rates for various hours worked;
  2. Overtime requirements apply to almost all types of wages, not just hourly wages or salaries;
  3. You must compensate employees for all hours you “suffer or permit” them to work;
  4. Be familiar with the specific “wage order” that applies to your workforce;
  5. Just because an employee is exempt as an executive, administrative, or professional employee under federal law, it doesn’t make him exempt under California law; Read the rest of this entry »

South Los Angeles Garment Factory Settles Overtime Case With City Attorney’s Office

In Breaking News on September 3, 2010 at 5:00 am
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Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times reports that a South Los Angeles garment factory has agreed to pay backpay and overtime to settle a suit filed by the City Attorney’s office in 2009.

The settlement will bring long overdue compensation for unpaid overtime to employees and will require an independent monitor at the factory to oversee compliance with workplace laws, city attorneys said.

The owners agreed to pay for an independent monitor, the first time a domestic garment manufacturer has consented to do so, said Asst. City Atty Jim Colbert.

The lawsuit filed in July 2009 alleged that Seventeen Inc. and its predecessor, Q&I Inc., along with their owners and operators, required employees to work 12-hour shifts, sometimes two or three shifts back-to-back, six days a week without overtime pay or rest breaks. Read the rest of this entry »

Defense Verdict in Bartender Overtime and Meal Break Case

In Trial, Verdicts on September 2, 2010 at 8:29 am
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After a bench trial, a San Francisco Superior Court rendered a defense verdict in an overtime and meal break case.  Tun Cun vs. Cafe Tiramisu, No. CGC08482090, 36 Trials Digest 13th 19 (Verdict Date March 26, 2009).  According to court records: Plaintiff Evangelina Tun Cun was a bartender under an oral employment agreement who worked form 4 pm to midnight. Ms. Tun Cun alleged she was owed wages from defendant Cafe Tiramisu LLC.  Plaintiff alleged she was also employed by MMP Restaurants LLC dba Campannina from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. She claimed the two employers jointly employed her, and she was not paid overtime, though she worked for 11 to 15 hours of work per day. Plaintiff claimed she was not given meal breaks, was not paid overtime, and was owed waiting-time penalties. Read the rest of this entry »

Collective Bargaining Agreement That Mentions “Breaks” Does Not Clearly and Unmistakably Waive Right to Sue

In Collective Bargaining Agreements, Waiver on August 30, 2010 at 8:58 am
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In Martinez v. J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc., 2010 WL 3359372 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 13, 2010), the court held that a collective bargaining agreement that mentions “breaks” did not clearly and unmistakably waive plaintiff’s right to sue.

Plaintiff Antonio Martinez  (“Plaintiff”) worked for Defendant J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. (“Defendant”) as a construction worker. Id. *1. Plaintiff’s terms of employment were governed by a CBA, which provides for a grievance procedure for “enforcing all the terms and provisions contained in this Agreement .” Id. If an employee has “a grievance or dispute,” he must first raise the issue with Defendant. The CBA outlined the terms of employment relating to holidays, payment of wages, meal periods, and breaks, and in a section entitled “Breaks,” the CBA stated: Read the rest of this entry »