Archive of Recent Employment Law Cases

On-Line Power v. Mazur; Second District, Court of Appeals., Div. Eight; April 17, 2007

The trial court erred in ruling that the Labor Code provisions ensuring an employee's right to payment of wages did not apply to salaried corporate executives, and the order denying defendant's motion for attorney's fees is reversed.

Carter v. Escondido Union High School Dist. Fourth District, Court of Appeals, Div. One; March 21, 2007

For an employer to be liable for the tort of wrongful termination in violation of public policy, the employer's conduct must violate a public policy that is " 'fundamental,' " " 'well established' " and "carefully tethered" to a constitutional or statutory provision.

Reyes v. Van Elk, Ltd. Second District Court of Appeals., Div. Seven; March 14, 2007

The undocumented status of the workers did not prohibit plaintiffs from having standing to raise their prevailing wage claim, and the prevailing wage law and the post-Hoffman statutes are not preempted by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Flippin v. Los Angeles City Bd. of Civil Service Commissioners (Los Angeles City Dept. of Water and Power) Second District Court of Appeals., Div. Two; March 1, 2007

Although substantial evidence supported the trial court's determination that employee waived his right to a Skelly hearing, and defendant was not denied his due process right to an impartial Skelly hearing officer, the trial court erred in setting aside the penalty of discharge imposed by the Board. The Court of Appeals found that substantial evidence supported the trial court's determination that the employee waived his right to a Skelly hearing, and and affirmed that ruling. The the appeals court further held that, under the circumstances presented, the employee was not denied his due process right to an impartial Skelly hearing officer, but that the trial court erred in setting aside the penalty of discharge imposed by the Board. Judgment was therefore reversed.

Small v. Superior Court (Brinderson Constructors, Inc.) Fourth Dist., Div. Three, February 28, 2007

Employees sought extraordinary relief from the trial court's order declaring invalid a wage order promulgated by the California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC). The wage order regulates the hours, wages, and working conditions of California employees engaged in on-site construction, drilling, logging, and certain mining occupations. The trial court declared the wage order invalid because it was not accompanied by a sufficient statement of the basis, was not properly published, and contained an unworkable definition of "given craft," which made the order unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, and unfair. The appeals court disagreed and granted the petition.

Amalgamated Transit Union v. Superior Court (First Transit, Inc.) Second Dist., Div. Eight., February 28, 2007

The appeals court held 1) that an individual's statutory right to sue in a representative capacity, conferred under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Labor Code section 2699) and under the unfair competition law (Business and Professions Code section 17203), may not be assigned to a third party; and 2) Section 17203 of the unfair competition law, as amended by Proposition 64, providing that representative claims may be brought only if the injured claimant "complies with Section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure," means that private representative claims must meet the procedural requirements applicable to class action lawsuits.

Womack v. San Francisco Community College Dist. First Dist., Div. Two., January 24, 2007

Employee appealed from the trial court's denial of his petition for a writ of mandate brought pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1085. By that petition, he sought to compel his employer to reinstate him as a regular employee in its English as a Second Language (ESL) Department on the basis that the prior level of his work in that department had altered his status from that of a "temporary employee" to one of a "contract employee" who could not be terminated in the manner or time frame he was in 2001. The trial court denied the motion on two grounds: (1) under the applicable statutes, appellant's status had not, in fact, changed and he was thus still a temporary employee as of the date of his termination; and (2) laches. The appeals court agreed with thee trial court on both grounds and affirmed.

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