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Expert Hub, authored by Tom Walker

Notable Employment Law Cases & Quotes of the Last Decade
HARRIS v. SUPERIOR CT No. B195121 (Cal. App. July 23, 2012) - [ADMINISTRATIVE EXEMPTION] ….an employee‘s work duties meet the test of the exemption only if they relat[e] to the administrative operations of a business as distinguished from production‘ or, in a retail or service establishment, sales‘ work. {…omitted…] We take it to mean that only duties performed at the level of policy or general operations can satisfy the qualitative component of the ―directly related requirement. In contrast, work duties that merely carry out the particular, day-to-day operations of the business are production, not administrative, work.[…omitted…] An employee who is primarily (namely, more than half of his or her work time (Regs. § 11040, subd. (2)(N))) engaged in work that does not satisfy the qualitative component therefore is not primarily engaged in work that is ―directly related to management policies or general business operations. Such an employee thus cannot be an exempt administrative employee. 

REID v. GOOGLE SC S158965 (2010) – [STRAY REMARKS] the Court of Appeal properly considered evidence of alleged discriminatory comments made by decision makers and coworkers along with all other evidence in the record.

MARTINEZ v. COMBS, 49 CAL. 4TH 35, 109 CAL. RPTR. 3D 514-W&H-CSC (2010) - …an employer is one who, directly or indirectly, or through an agent or any other person, engages, suffers, or permits any person to work, or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of any person. .

HERNANDEZ v. HILLSIDES, INC., 47 CAL. 4TH 272 (2009) - …while plaintiffs' privacy interests in a shared office at work were far from absolute,"they had a reasonable expectation under widely held social norms that their employer would not install video equipment capable of monitoring and recording their activities -- personal and work-related -- behind closed doors without their knowledge or consent."

JOHNSON v. UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY, 173 CA 4TH 740 (2009) - …here we can say as a matter of law that the “me too” evidence presented by the plaintiff in the instant case is per se admissible under both relevance and Evidence Code section 352 standards. The evidence sets out factual scenarios related by former employees of the defendant that are sufficiently similar to the one presented by the plaintiff concerning her own discharge by defendant, and the probative value of the evidence clearly outweighs any prejudice that would be suffered by defendant by its admission. 

NAZI v.UNITED AIRLINES, 178 CAL..APP.. 4th 243 (2009) - …but [we] do observe that many employment cases present issues of intent, and motive, and hostile working environment, issues not determinable on paper. Such cases, we caution, are rarely appropriate for disposition on summary judgment, however liberalized it be.

ROBY v. MCKESSON, NO. S149752 (2009) - .. therefore, discrimination and harassment claims can overlap as an evidentiary The critical inquiry when a court is deciding whether the evidence ismatter. sufficient to uphold a verdict finding both discrimination and harassment is whether the evidence indicates violations of both FEHA prohibitions, but nothing prevents a plaintiff from proving these two violations with the same (or overlapping) evidentiary presentations.

AVILA v. CONTINENTAL AIRLINES, 165 CA 4TH 1237-CFRA(2008) - …plaintiff was not required to invoke CFRA to request leave. If Continental required further information as to whether the information was a request that the absence be treated as a CFRA-qualifying leave, the burden was on Continental to inquire of plaintiff as to his condition and situation, whether the information constitutes a request, and to determine whether plaintiff's leave was CFRA-qualifying leave.

FAUST v. CALIF.PORTLAND CEMENT CO., 150 CA 4TH 864 - CFRA (2007) - …the undisputed evidence shows Faust provided sufficient information to the employer to notify it of his need for leave pursuant to the CFRA, and thatthe employer did not advise Faust of his right to leave under the CFRA.

YANOWITZ v. L'OREAL USA,INC., 36 CAL. 4TH 1028 (2005) – [continuing violations doctrine] …we believe the better rule is to allow application of the continuing violations doctrine in retaliation cases if the requisite showing of a continuing course of conduct has been made. Thus, we reiterate that in a retaliation case, as in a disability accommodation or harassment case, the FEHA statute of limitations begins to run when an alleged adverse employment action acquires some degree of permanence or finality.

HUMPHREY v. MEMORIAL HOSPITAL ASSN., 239 F.3D 1128 (9TH CIR. 2001) - …once an employer becomes aware of the need for accommodation, that employer has a mandatory [and continuing] obligation under the ADA to engage in an interactive process with the employee to identify and implement appropriate reasonable accommodations.

BARNETT v. U.S. AIR, INC., 228 F. 3D 1105 (9TH CIR. 2000) - …an appropriate reasonable accommodation must be effective, in enabling the employee to perform the duties of the position.

JENSEN v. WELLS FARGO BANK NO. B134875(2000) …holding a job open for a disabled employee who needs time to recuperate or heal is in itself a form of reasonable accommodation and may be all that is required where it appears likely that the employee will be able to return to an existing position at some time in the foreseeable future.

GUZ v. BECHTEL, 24 CAL. 4TH 317 (2000) – {FN 18] We do not suggest the covenant of good faith and fair dealing has no function whatever in the interpretation and enforcement of employment contracts. As indicated above, the covenant prevents a party from acting in bad faith to frustrate the contract's actual benefits. Thus, for example, the covenant might be violated if termination of an at-will employee was a mere pretext to cheat the worker out of another contract benefit to which the employee was clearly entitled, such as compensation already earned.

COTRAN v. ROLLINGS HUDIG HALL, 17 C4th 93, (1998) – [concurring & dissenting opinion]:…In my view, when it has been ascertained that an implied good cause condition does not require actual employee misconduct but instead allows the employer to discharge the employee based on the employer's determination of misconduct, the interpretation of that condition that best comports with community standards of fairness and sound policy is as follows: the employer may discharge the employee based on its own determination of employee misconduct only if (1) the employer conducts a reasonable investigation, notifies the employee of the charges, and gives the employee a reasonable opportunity to respond to those charges; (2) the employer's investigation discloses substantial evidence that the employee 115*115 committed the misconduct; and (3) as a result of its investigation, the employer reasonably believes that the misconduct took place.

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