News & Analysis

Independent contractors can't circumvent Government Code § 1090

The California Court of Appeal recently ruled on the powers of an independent contractor as they relate to government contracts. Specifically, in Strategic Concepts, LLC v. Beverly Hills Unified School District, the court ruled that independent contractors cannot attempt to circumvent the stringent requirements of Government Code § 1090, which prohibits conflicts of interest and requires competitive bidding for contracts.

Court of appeal finds county violated employee's POBR rights

The County of Fresno terminated a correctional officer for misconduct. During the disciplinary proceedings, the county relied on an Internal Affairs (IA) report that included interview transcripts and other documents. The officer challenged his dismissal, arguing that by refusing him access to the report's attachments, the county violated his statutory rights. The trial court affirmed his dismissal, and the officer appealed. In a partially published opinion, the California Court of Appeal reversed and sent the matter back to the trial court.

Correctional employees did not have right to representation in OIG interviews

When former staff members of a state correctional facility were interviewed by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), they asked for representation. After their requests for representation were denied, the staff members filed a complaint alleging that their procedural due-process rights were violated. Did they state a claim for legal relief?

Latest wage and hour class action has lessons for all employers

A class action is a process whereby one person is permitted to sue on behalf of herself and on behalf of other similarly situated persons. In federal court, the process is regulated by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which imposes several requirements that must be satisfied before a claim may be "certified" to proceed as a class action. One of the requirements is referred to as the "predominance" requirement. It comes from Rule 23(b)(3), which says a plaintiff seeking certification as a class action must demonstrate that "questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual [class] members."

9th Circuit says Uber, Lyft drivers might not have right to organize

In 2015, the city of Seattle adopted a first-in-the-nation ordinance that permits independent contractor drivers for ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft to band together like a union and bargain collectively over their compensation. Uber, Lyft, and a more traditional taxi company—supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—challenged the ordinance.

Lawmakers seek changes to resolution of harassment claims

Prompted by the #MeToo movement, lawmakers in Sacramento have introduced several bills that could change the landscape in California for resolving claims of employment discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. Senate Bill (SB) 820, introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) and Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), would prevent employers from requiring nondisclosure of sexual harassment claims as a condition of employment. AB 3080 and SB 820 would similarly prohibit employers from mandating that employees arbitrate the many claims covered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The proposals would not only void such arbitration and nondisclosure agreements but would also make it a misdemeanor to require them.

Planning for a post-Janus world

Public-sector unions are anxiously awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. AFSCME, in which the Court is expected to hold that "agency shop" arrangements nationwide are unconstitutional. ("Agency shop" is an arrangement under which employees can be required to either accept the union as their exclusive workplace representative or pay an agency fee that is roughly equivalent to the amount of dues, initiation fees, and assessments they would owe as union members.)

CA's new standard for determining independent contractor classifications

On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking decision implementing a new legal standard that makes it significantly more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors.

$723,746 awarded to employee fired while on medical leave

A trial court awarded a probationary employee $723,746 following a school district's termination of her employment during an approved temporary disability leave. The trial court found the district failed to provide reasonable accommodations or engage in the interactive process as required by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

No double-dipping: Court denies temp workers' attempt to sue

Last month, we noted that temporary staffing agencies are increasingly targeted by plaintiffs' attorneys, who push the envelope in arguing that such agencies are "joint employers." (See "Court finds staffing agency not liable for meal period violations" on pg. 4 of our April 9 issue.)