The Role of the “Same Decision” Defense in California Whistleblower Cases

Whistleblower cases in California differ from discrimination cases in several important ways. Among other things, Section 1102.6 of the Whistleblower Protection Act (found in the California Labor Code) provides that where an employee proves by a preponderance of the evidence that discriminatory activity was a “contributing factor” with respect to a discriminatory act, the burden […]


The Transportation Worker Exemption: What it is, why it matters, and what we can learn from two 2024 cases addressing it.

In recent years, many employers have sought to shield themselves from class actions, as well as individual claims of all sorts, by requiring their workers to sign arbitration agreements. These agreements usually bar any kind of collective action. They also require workers to proceed in arbitration forums rather than in court. The reason for this […]


When are Temporary Workers owed Their Final Wages?

Payment of final wages upon termination (or resignation) can be a big deal in California. Labor Code sections 201-203 set forth important rules that employers must follow, and can result in stiff penalties when they are violated: up to 30 days of pay at the employee’s regular daily wages.icon-unions

A recent California Court of Appeal decision explores the question of when temporary workers are owed their final wages. In Young v. REMX Specialty Staffing (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 427, the plaintiff was hired by a temporary staffing agency in July 2013. She was then assigned to a Bank of the West location and, soon thereafter, terminated. The plaintiff then sued, claiming that she had not been properly paid her final wages upon the termination of her employment.

The case thus turned on California Labor Code section 201.3(b)(4), which provides that if an employee of a temporary services employer is assigned to work for a client and is discharged by the temporary services employer or leasing employer, wages are due and payable immediately. Continue reading “When are Temporary Workers owed Their Final Wages?”


California Whistleblower Protections Cover Complaints that Employers Already Know About

On May 22, 2023, the California Supreme Court issued an important decision clarifying that employers violate the law if they terminate or retaliate against employees who complain about violations that wereicon-whistleblower already known to the employer. In People ex rel. Garcia-Brower v. Kolla’s (S269456), the employee worked for a nightclub in Orange County. She complained that she had not been paid for her three previous work shifts. The employer then threatened to report her to immigration authorities and fired her.

The plaintiff then filed a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) of the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations. The DLSE investigated and prosecuted her complaint. Unfortunately, the trial court held that Labor Code section 1102.5, California’s whistleblower protection law, did not apply because the employee had complained to her employer rather than to a government agency. The court of appeal affirmed on different grounds, holding that in order to be protected under section 1102.5, an employee’s complaint must report something that the employer was not already aware of. Continue reading “California Whistleblower Protections Cover Complaints that Employers Already Know About”


California Supreme Court Rules that Whistleblower Protections Apply to Employees Who Disclose Illegal Conduct Already Known to an Employer

icon-whistleblowerIn 1984, the Legislature enacted California Labor Code section 1102.5 in order to protect whistleblowers from retaliation against their employers.  The law was amended in 2003 and again in 2013, to add protections afforded to employees.  In 2013, specifically, the Legislature amended section 1102.5(b), so that an employee’s disclosure “to a person with authority over the employee or another employee who has the authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or non-compliance” was deemed protected activity.  On May 22, 2023, the California Supreme Court addressed whether reporting a violation that is already known to an employer or agency constitutes a protected disclosure under Labor Code section 1102.5(b) in People ex. Rel. Lilia Garcia-Brower v. Kolla’s, Inc., S269456. Continue reading “California Supreme Court Rules that Whistleblower Protections Apply to Employees Who Disclose Illegal Conduct Already Known to an Employer”


Liability of Companies for Outsourced Workers under California Law

icon-courthouse Some businesses in California use other companies to provide their workers. The company that provides the workers is sometimes referred to as a “Labor Contractor.” Unfortunately, Labor Contractors may, for a number of reasons, stop paying their workers. The question then is whether the workers can sue the business that used the Labor Contractor for their unpaid wages.

In 2014, California enacted a statute to address this situation: Labor Code section 2810.3.  Continue reading “Liability of Companies for Outsourced Workers under California Law”


Paid Sick Leave under California Law and PAGA

California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (Healthy Workplaces Act), which is found at Labor Code § 245, requires certainicon-gavel employers to provide their employees with at least three paid sick days per year. Employers that violate this law may be subject to a host of damages, including liquidated damages and civil penalties.

A recent case from the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that employees could bring a claim under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) for violations of the Healthy Workplaces Act. Continue reading “Paid Sick Leave under California Law and PAGA”