2010 Watch List: Employment Cases in the California Supreme Court

January 2010Newsletters California UPDATE Employment Law

Pearson Dental Supplies, Inc. v. Superior Court (Turcios) (Case No. S167169). Issues presented: (1)What standard of review applies to an arbitrator’s decision on an employee’s FEHA claim that was arbitrated under a mandatory arbitration agreement? (2) Can a mandatory arbitration agreement restrict employees from seeking administrative remedies for FEHA violations?

Reid v. Google (Case No. S158965). Issues presented: (1) Should California law recognize the “stray remarks” doctrine that allows a court to disregard isolated discriminatory remarks not related to a decision making process when considering summary judgment of discrimination claims? (2) Are evidentiary objections not expressly ruled on at the time of decision on a summary judgment motion preserved for appeal?

McCarther v. PacificTelesis Group (Case No. S164692). Issues presented: (1) Does Labor Code § 233, which mandates that employees be allowed to use a portion of "accrued and available sick leave" to care for sick family members, apply to employer plans in which employees do not periodically accrue a certain number of paid sick days but are paid for qualifying absences due to illness? (2) Does Labor Code § 234, which prohibits employers from disciplining employees for using sick leave to care for sick family members, prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee who takes “kin care” leave if the employer would have the right to discipline the employee for taking time off for the employee's own illness or injury?

Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court (Case No. S166350) and Brinkley v. Public Storage, Inc. (Case No. S168806). Issue presented:What is the proper interpretation of California's statutes and regulations governing an employer's duty to provide meal and rest breaks to hourly workers?

Lu v. Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Inc. (Case No. S171442). Issue presented: Does Labor Code § 351, which prohibits employers from taking gratuities paid, given to, or left for an employee, create a private right of action for employees?

Pineda v. Bank of America, N.A. (Case No. S170758). Issues presented: (1)When a worker files an action to recover penalties for late payment of final wages under Labor Code § 203 but does not concurrently seek to recover any other unpaid wages, is the statute of limitations the one-year statute for penalties under CCP § 340 (a) or the three-year statute for unpaid wages under Labor Code § 202? (2) Can penalties under Labor Code § 203 be recovered as restitution in an unfair competition law action (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17203)?