The Masterpiece Cakeshop Case Is Not an Invitation to Discriminate

Author: Sean B. Gentry Yes, as the media widely reported, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the baker in the case about a Colorado cake maker turning away business from a same-sex couple after he told them that he did not design custom cakes for gay couples.  However, rather than making a significant nation-wide ruling, the Court simply held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s consideration of the baker’s case was “compromised” and it had treated him unfairly.  Thus, the … Continued

Employer Arbitration Clauses Can Waive Class Action Claim

Author: Sean B. Gentry The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that employers can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to limit their employees’ right to file or participate in class actions lawsuits on wage and hour claims. Employers can require their employees to pursue most types of employment claims in arbitration instead of court and can prevent employees from banding together to more efficiently litigate their claims as a group. For employers that have been waiting to see how the … Continued

Changes to the Prop 65 Warnings are Due in August- Does it Apply to You?

Author: Wendy Hillger Proposition 65 requires the State of California to maintain a list of chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.   These warnings apply to landlords, business owners, bars/restaurants, and other retailers.  Businesses with 10 or more employees that expose individuals to listed chemicals through their products or operations generally must provide warnings.  At present, approximately 900 chemicals are required to be disclosed, such as additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, … Continued

Attention (Again) California Restaurant Employers: Congress Changes the Tip Pool Rules

Author: Sean Gentry Earlier in the year, we reported that the Department of Labor was proposing to rescind prior Federal restrictions on tip-pool arrangements, and that we expect a related decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on those rules. In a somewhat unexpected turn, Congress decided to directly intervene on the tip-sharing agreements under the Fair Labor Standards Act as a part of a recently-passed spending bill. Under the new federal law, employers with regularly tipped employees may include a … Continued

Familial Status Discrimination – Part III: Potential Liability for Landlords

Author: Trina M. Clayton There has been a marked increase in familial status suits over the past several years, with many more that settle under confidential agreements for monetary damages, making the potential for these claims quite serious.  A landlord found to be in violation of familial status housing laws could incur any number of penalties including: Civil penalties of up to $16,000 for a first violation and $65,000 for future violations; Actual damages to reimburse a tenant or prospective … Continued

Independent Contractor or Employee?  Better Take a Second Look

Author: Trina Clayton On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, which could change the workplace status of people across the state.  With this new ruling, the Supreme Court has clarified the standard for determining whether workers in California should be classified as employees or as independent contractors for purposes of the wage orders adopted by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”).  Most notably, IWC orders apply to issues such … Continued

Forum Shopping? Even a Monkey Can Do It!

Author: Michael S. Dorsi Attorneys often must choose where to file a lawsuit. They must estimate where the judge will be more favorable on procedure and substance, which court has more favorable procedures, and where the jury pool may be more sympathetic to the client. And readers should not be shocked  to learn that attorneys often consider the political leanings of judges. However, forum shopping to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals can have unintended consequences. While the Ninth Circuit … Continued

Familial Status Discrimination – Part II: Tenancy

Author: Trina M. Clayton It is important to understand that familial status discrimination may occur at any stage of property rental.  Our earlier blog described some of the pitfalls a landlord might run into during the pre-tenancy period.  Here, we will explore potential areas of concern during tenancy. Examples of Familial Status Discrimination Refusing to rent to families with children. Charging a higher security deposit to families with children even if the family has a good rental history. Increasing rent … Continued

Familial Status Discrimination – Part I: Pre-Tenancy

Author: Trina M. Clayton Federal and California fair housing laws, most notably the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.) and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12900, et seq.), prohibit discrimination in housing rental or conditions based on specific protected classes, such as race, sex, religion, disability, and (the subject of this blog post) familial status. Familial status refers to any household with children under the age of 18.  It applies whether the minor … Continued

Do I have to Pay a Job Applicant for “Try Out” Time?

Author: Trina M. Clayton When hiring a new employee, many employers find it valuable to observe a candidate perform essential job skills, to help them select the right applicant.  An employer may ask a candidate to demonstrate how they would actually perform the job – for instance – having a delivery driver lift heavy boxes, having a cook demonstrate food preparation skills, or having an office worker perform a typing test.  Employers should be mindful, however, that depending on what … Continued