The California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker v. Superior Court unleashed a flood of single-plaintiff and class-action lawsuits involving alleged violations of California’s meal and rest period laws. Under California law, employees are entitled to take at least one 30-minute uninterrupted, off-duty meal break no later than the end of their 5th hour of work. If employees work over 10 hours, they must be provided a second 30-minute meal period. Similarly, employees must also receive 10-minute rest periods for each 4 hour-period worked or major fraction thereof.

Continue Reading Take A Break To Remember Your Meal And Rest Period Obligations Under California Law

On April 9, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in Rizo v. Yovino and affirmed that prior salary, alone or in combination with other factors, cannot justify a wage differential between male and female employees. Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who died unexpectedly in late March, authored the  ruling. Known as the “Liberal Lion” of the federal judiciary in California, Judge Reinhardt also overturned bans on same-sex marriage and physician-assisted suicide and declared prison overcrowding unconstitutional.

Continue Reading The “Liberal Lion’s” Last Opinion Says Salary History Can’t Justify Wage Differentials

Robin Samuel has joined Baker McKenzie as a Partner in its North America Employment & Compensation Practice, bringing more than 20 years of experience in a range of employment litigation and counseling matters.

Based in the Firm’s new Los Angeles office, Robin handles all aspects of California and federal employment law, helping clients with complex wage and hour, discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, M&A, employee raiding, and trade secret theft litigation, investigations and transactions. Robin has significant experience handling employment class actions. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Robin served as Office Administrative Partner for Hogan Lovell’s Los Angeles office and chaired the firm’s California Diversity Committee.

Baker McKenzie’s Global Employment & Compensation group is one of the world’s largest and most recognized employment practices, with more than 700 lawyers globally and more than 130 attorneys in North America focused on employment law. A recent BTI Consulting survey of corporate counsel named Baker McKenzie a “standout” law firm for complex employment litigation. In addition, Chambers Global has recognized the Firm’s employment practice with a Band 1 ranking for eight consecutive years.

In recent months, Baker McKenzie has also added experienced employment litigators Mike Brewer, Todd Boyer, Bill Dugan and Meredith Kaufman to its North America Employment & Compensation Practice.

Robin received his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

In the wake of the #metoo movement, several lawmakers proposed legislation to ban confidentiality provisions in workplace sexual harassment settlements.

Critics of confidentiality agreements say that they enable serial abusers and silence victims. But, some advocates question whether a ban could actually harm individuals. For instance, some victims may actually prefer confidentiality and the prospect of publicity may discourage them from coming forward. Further, the promise of confidentiality may lead to larger (and earlier) monetary settlements for victims.

Continue Reading #MeToo Breaks Silence, Legislators Follow: Confidentiality Provisions

On February 8, 2018, in what is believed to be the first time a gig economy case has been fully decided on the merits, a California federal judge ruled in favored in favor of the company and held that the delivery driver was properly classified as an independent contractor.

The opinion of US Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley states that “[a]fter considering all of the Borello factors as a whole in light of the trial record, the Court finds that Grubhub has satisfied its burden of showing that Mr. Lawson was properly classified as an independent contractor.”

In rejecting the driver’s claim that he was actually an employee entitled to minimum wage, overtime and other benefits associated with employee status, the Court awarded the gig economy a significant victory.

Continue Reading Score One For The Gig Economy: California Federal Judge Upholds Independent Contractor Status Of Grubhub Delivery Driver

We are pleased to report that a California federal judge put to rest claims by a proposed class of Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. workers that they weren’t given adequate meal breaks and rest periods, saying the company was exempted from liability by a valid collective bargaining agreement.

In reconsidering a portion of his November ruling that granted the construction and engineering services provider partial summary judgment over various wage and hour claims brought by lead plaintiff Peter Zayerz under the California Labor Code, Judge Gutierrez acknowledged he had mistakenly failed to consider in his earlier decision whether the company was exempt from liability for the meal and rest period claims by a collective bargaining agreement that was in place between 2012 and 2015, the time period in which Zayerz’s claims arose.

“The court concedes that it failed to consider a material issue of law in its prior order, namely that the governing CBA exempts defendant from liability under the labor code for the meal and rest period claims,” Judge Gutierrez said.

With that, Judge Gutierrez awarded Kiewit summary judgment on all remaining claims and closed the case. Kiewit is represented by our own Arthur J. Rooney, Todd K. Boyer, Benjamin R. Buchwalter, Alexis Hawley and Melissa Logan.

The case is Peter Zayerz v. Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. et al., case number 2:16-cv-06405, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Find the write-up in Law360 HERE.

In mid-December, we hosted our Annual California Update in Millbrae, CA. We were so pleased to see many of you in attendance.

Our End-of-Year Newsletter will hit inboxes shortly, but until then – here’s our top 10 New Year’s resolutions for multinationals in 2018:

Continue Reading Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions For California-Based Multinational Employers

You’re invited to our live Annual California Employer Update on December 14 in Millbrae, California to discuss the adventures ahead for California employers.

Join us as we sit around the proverbial campfire to discuss the most significant legal developments in 2017 and how to prepare for 2018.

Covered topics will include:

  • New wage and hour updates
  • California’s new salary history ban and what it means for recruiting
  • New transgender protections and guidelines for preventing workplace harassment
  • California’s new statewide ban-the-box law
  • Immigration changes affecting California employers
  • And much more!

We will also share a few international trends, such as:

  • The spread of global gender pay gap reporting regulations
  • New data privacy regulations in the EU effective in 2018
  • Pitfalls to avoid in outsourcing projects
  • What to know about protecting company trade secrets globally

See the invite and RSVP HERE!

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark new law barring California employers — and their agents — from inquiring about applicants’ previous salaries and benefits.

The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Here are 3 steps to take now to prepare:

  1. Remove all salary questions from hiring forms (including job applications, candidate questionnaires and background check forms)
  2. Update interviewing and negotiating policies and procedures
  3. Train recruiting, hiring managers and interviewers on the new law to include instructions regarding the importance of ensuring that candidates are not pressured (even indirectly) to disclose salary history and how to respond to requests for pay scale information

Read more here and reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more details.