California Labor and Employment

Overview

California is well known for its challenging and constantly evolving legal landscape, which often creates substantially greater burdens on employers here than that exist under laws of other states or at the federal level. For employers, California’s unique and often nuanced laws can greatly impact their business operations, but our California Labor and Employment attorneys can provide experienced guidance to clients seeking to navigate the state’s shifting legal and regulatory landscape. We devise creative solutions and are able to quickly adjust to new developments, advising clients on compliance requirements; helping them avoid litigation; conducting detailed audits of company policies and practices related to wage and hour requirements under state and federal law (before, during or after litigation); conducting investigations of every type; and providing discrimination, harassment and other forms of management training.


Our deep bench of California Labor and Employment lawyers helps employers understand and comply with the state’s many legal requirements. In addition to providing advice and counsel on compliance to help clients avoid becoming embroiled in litigation in the first place, our employment lawyers have the skills and experience to fight vigorously should litigation become necessary. We have a wealth of experience in defending the full gamut of single plaintiff and class action lawsuits brought under California and federal employment law. Our regional attorney team is highly regarded and experienced in developing and implementing cutting-edge strategies to successfully defend California employers in all types of litigation, including wage and hour class and representative actions brought under the California Labor Code and Private Attorney General Act. Our team regularly defends employers against the full range of California wage and hour claims, including for alleged violation of minimum wage and overtime requirements, wage statement claims, meal and rest period claims, timely wage payment, final pay, expense reimbursement, suitable seating, and the myriad issues posed by the California legal landscape.

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In addition to our extensive wage and hour experience, our California team is equipped to advise and defend employers in virtually every area of labor and employment law, including:

  • Cal/OSHA COVID-19 emergency temporary standards.
  • Hiring, background checks and drug testing.
  • Independent contractors and joint employment.
  • Pay equity.
  • Overtime exemptions.
  • Paid time off and leaves of absence.
  • Disability accommodation.
  • Discrimination and harassment.
  • Arbitration and dispute resolution.
  • Immigration.
  • City- and county-specific wage and hour requirements.
  • Union relations.
  • Grievance arbitrations.

Select Experience

  • Our team obtained an order denying class certification in a putative class action, brought on behalf of truck drivers employed in California by a national motor carrier, alleging meal break violations, unlawful wage deductions and violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) on the grounds that the named plaintiff lacked standing under the FCRA and lacked typicality and adequacy with respect to class members bound by the defendant’s arbitration agreements and class action waivers, even after the court found the defendant had waived its right to enforce the named plaintiff’s own arbitration agreement.
  • We obtained an order denying class certification on a motion for reconsideration in two related wage and hour class actions for a leading financial institution, one involving financial center employees and the other involving call center employees, based on findings that there was no evidence of any de facto policies necessitating off-the-clock work or impeding the taking of meal and rest breaks, and that individual issues predominated. The court also denied the plaintiffs’ request for leave to file an amended, consolidated complaint to try to cure their class certification infirmities.
  • BakerHostetler attorneys obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleadings stage California state law claims for inaccurate wage statements, waiting time penalties and shared labor contractor liability in a proposed class action against a national third-party logistics client.
  • We successfully compelled to individual arbitration a proposed Rule 23 Cal-WARN and nationwide WARN class action brought against a transportation industry client pursuant to the Nevada choice of law provision in the arbitration policy because, as a truck driver, the named plaintiff was found to be outside the coverage of the Federal Arbitration Act.
  • Our team successfully moved to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds, based on a Wisconsin forum selection provision, a putative Rule 23 class action brought against a national motor carrier for California state law wage and hour claims based on alleged independent contractor misclassification of truck drivers, and ultimately obtained a ruling in Wisconsin state court enforcing the Wisconsin choice of law provision that effectively mooted all the plaintiff’s claims.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Partner San Francisco
Partner Costa Mesa
Counsel Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles

Experience

  • Our team obtained an order denying class certification in a putative class action, brought on behalf of truck drivers employed in California by a national motor carrier, alleging meal break violations, unlawful wage deductions and violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) on the grounds that the named plaintiff lacked standing under the FCRA and lacked typicality and adequacy with respect to class members bound by the defendant’s arbitration agreements and class action waivers, even after the court found the defendant had waived its right to enforce the named plaintiff’s own arbitration agreement.
  • We obtained an order denying class certification on a motion for reconsideration in two related wage and hour class actions for a leading financial institution, one involving financial center employees and the other involving call center employees, based on findings that there was no evidence of any de facto policies necessitating off-the-clock work or impeding the taking of meal and rest breaks, and that individual issues predominated. The court also denied the plaintiffs’ request for leave to file an amended, consolidated complaint to try to cure their class certification infirmities.
  • BakerHostetler attorneys obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleadings stage California state law claims for inaccurate wage statements, waiting time penalties and shared labor contractor liability in a proposed class action against a national third-party logistics client.
  • We successfully compelled to individual arbitration a proposed Rule 23 Cal-WARN and nationwide WARN class action brought against a transportation industry client pursuant to the Nevada choice of law provision in the arbitration policy because, as a truck driver, the named plaintiff was found to be outside the coverage of the Federal Arbitration Act.
  • Our team successfully moved to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds, based on a Wisconsin forum selection provision, a putative Rule 23 class action brought against a national motor carrier for California state law wage and hour claims based on alleged independent contractor misclassification of truck drivers, and ultimately obtained a ruling in Wisconsin state court enforcing the Wisconsin choice of law provision that effectively mooted all the plaintiff’s claims.
  • Our attorneys obtained a dismissal and affirmance of that dismissal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals of a putative wage and hour class action premised on a novel theory seeking unpaid wages for time spent undergoing airport security procedures.
  • BakerHostetler attorneys obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleading stage California state law claims for unpaid wages, meal and rest break violations, inaccurate wage statements, waiting time penalties, and unfair competition in a proposed class action against a global private security company.
  • We defeated class certification of all California state law wage and hour claims brought on behalf of a putative class of small business bankers allegedly misclassified as overtime-exempt outside salespersons.
  • Our team obtained an order granting a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings in favor of a national temporary staffing services provider on a putative wage and hour class action claim for late payment of wages under California Labor Code Section 201.3, finding that timely payment of wages occurred upon mailing rather than receipt of paycheck and that waiting time penalties are not recoverable other than for late payment of final wages.
  • California attorneys represented a national food service and supply company in wage and hour class action suits filed by truck drivers asserting violations of California meal break laws. Claims were dismissed with prejudice on the grounds that they were preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.
  • We represented a financial institution in a statewide putative class and collective action alleging off-the-clock overtime and related claims. BakerHostetler attorneys successfully opposed the plaintiff’s motion to compel production of putative class members’ contact information and obtained an order limiting production and then only after utilization of a court-approved Belaire-West notice to those putative class members.
  • We obtained a defense award in an arbitration in which the individual asserted claims based on gender and violation of California Labor Code Section 1102.5.
  • BakerHostetler attorneys obtained a defense verdict in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
  • Our team drafted a motion to compel arbitration before the Eastern District of California for a nationally recognized children’s hospital. The motion was subsequently granted.
  • We represented a client in two multiweek arbitrations by former employees asserting age and disability discrimination, ultimately obtaining complete defense verdicts on each.
  • Our team oversaw the preparation of a motion for summary judgment, which was granted and resulted in the dismissal of all the plaintiff’s claims pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
  • We obtained an order awarding attorneys’ fees to the prevailing defendant under the Fair Employment and Housing Act on the ground that claims of discrimination, retaliation and harassment against the educational institution were unreasonable, frivolous and meritless. The award was affirmed on appeal.
PAGA
  • We represented an energy company in three related high-stakes wage and hour class and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) actions, and successfully defeated two successive motions for class certification as to the majority of subclasses alleged by the plaintiff.
  • Our team successfully defended a national trucking and logistics company against a putative class and PAGA action brought on behalf of California dockworkers for alleged rest break, inaccurate wage statement and untimely final wage payment violations.
  • We defended the largest beauty retailer in the U.S. against three consolidated putative class and PAGA actions brought on behalf of distribution center workers in California for alleged failure to pay all regular and overtime wages, provide compliant meal and rest periods, timely pay wages, and provide accurate wage statements.
  • Our team defended a national grocery distribution and logistics company against two putative class and PAGA actions asserting claims on behalf of warehouse employees and mechanics, respectively, for alleged unpaid wages, inaccurate wage statements, break violations, untimely final wage payments and unreimbursed business expenses under California law.

News

Blog Posts

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Class Action Blog
Dead End for Class Certification? Ninth Circuit Provides Roadmap for Defending Independent Contractor Misclassification Class Claims
By Matthew J. Goodman, Todd H. Lebowitz
July 8, 2022
For businesses using independent contractor vendors, misclassification claims are usually well-suited for class certification. A plaintiff’s path toward certifying a class can be relatively smooth when all vendors of a particular kind are...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Smoother Sailing Ahead for PAGA Arbitrability Under Viking River Cruises Decision
By Amy E. Beverlin, Matthew C. Kane, Sylvia J. Kim
June 15, 2022
On June 15, the U.S. Supreme Court finally brought closure to the long-running, unsettled issue of whether California’s prohibition against arbitration agreement waivers of the right to bring representative actions under the California...
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Employment Law Spotlight
California Supreme Court Allows Employees to Seek Derivative Penalties for Meal and Rest Break Violations
By Michael S. Chamberlin, Vivian Y. Shen
May 24, 2022
On May 23, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion that will drastically increase the potential exposure for employers facing meal and rest break class actions. The court, in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., ruled that...
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Employment Law Spotlight
California Supreme Court Significantly Relaxes Employee Burden to Prevail on Section 1102.5 Claims
By Shareef Farag, Matthew J. Goodman
February 10, 2022
The Decision On Jan. 27, 2022, the Supreme Court of California issued Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., No. S266001, ___ Cal. 5th ____, a decision that decisively changed the burden for employers in defending against claims under...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Lessons from 2021 on Avoiding Class Action Claims for Meal and Rest Break Violations in California
By Shareef Farag, Margaret Rosenthal, Ari Spitzer
February 4, 2022
In 2021, the California Supreme Court handed down two important decisions, Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC and Ferra v. Loews Hollywood, LLC, that reinforce and refine tried-and-true lessons about meal and rest breaks. As California employers...
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