CA Adopts New Job Protections for Grocery Workers

On Tuesday, Governor Brown signed into law new protections for workers at large grocery stores.

AB 359, in essence, protects grocery store worker form being fired without cause for 90 days after a grocery store changes ownership. After the 90 day period, the new owner must “consider” offering continued employment the old workers. The law applies to grocery stores larger than 15,000 square feet.

The law makes California the first state in the nation to pass a statewide grocery worker retention law, but several cities, including San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles already have local ordinances that provide similar protections to grocery workers.

California employers must comply with countless laws when implementing their personnel policies, some of which are distinct to California, and it is recommended they work closely with their employment counsel in navigating California’s complex legal landscape.

Also available at Gibbs Giden’s Labor and Employment Blog.

For more information contact:


David M.Prager, Esq.
Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP
1880 Century Park East 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
email: dprager@gibbsgiden.com
The content contained herein is published online by Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP (“Gibbs Giden”) for informational purposes only, may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements, and does not constitute legal advice. Do not act on the information contained herein without seeking the advice of licensed counsel.

Copyright 2015 Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP ©

Attorney Newsletter Advertisement

Greedy Cumis Counsel Who Pad Their Bills Beware

 

HARTFORD CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY v. J.R. MARKETING, L.L.C., et al., (Aug. 10, 2015) 190 Cal.Rptr.3d 599, 2015 WL 4716917

 

The California Supreme Court ruled that Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. can bring a direct action against Squire Patton Boggs LLP to recover some of the $13.5 million it paid the law firm as independent counsel under C.C. Section 2860 (Cumis) to defend its insured against claims that it stole business from a former employer.  In Buss v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal.4th 35 the Court held that an insurer who must defend the entire action even if some claims are not-covered may reserve its right to seek reimbursement back from the insured for fees allocated to the clearly non-covered claims.  The Court has taken the next step and held that the insurer also has the right to directly sue “Cumis” counsel for fee gouging, expressly finding that the financial responsibility for excessive billing should fall first on the law firm and not on the clients who face potential exposure for the acts of their lawyers.  “We see no persuasive ground to hold that any direct liability to Hartford for bill padding by Squire Sanders must fall solely on the insureds.”  The Court noted that the burden of proving the fees were unreasonable and unnecessary falls on the insurer.

hand cashw

The Court indicated its decision was limited to the facts and procedural history presented, which included an Order from the Court that foreclosed the insurer from “invoking the rate provisions of Section 2860” but also admonished that counsel’s bills must be “reasonable and necessary.”  The Order provided that the insurer could challenge the billings in a subsequent reimbursement action, and this Order was affirmed on appeal.  The Court expressed no view as to what rights an insurer that breaches its defense obligations might have to seek reimbursement directly from Cumis counsel under different circumstances, and noted that the enforcement Order eliminated Section 2860’s arbitration remedies.

 

The California Supreme Court’s ruling serves as a warning for private counsel to avoid court orders that allow insurers to pursue reimbursement of defense costs.  However, the analysis of the Court may have broader application.  When recognizing Cumis counsel and agreeing to discounted fee rates,  insurer’s may start expressly reserving their rights to seek reimbursement from the insured and from the insured’s private counsel.  Whether such a reservation of rights will be recognized given the limitations stated in Hartford v. J.R. Marketing is yet to be seen.  The best practice, as always, is for private counsel to be honest and reasonable in their billing practices and not assume their bills are immune from challenge if they treat the insurer as a cash cow.

For more information contact:

MICHAEL_GEIBEL_0309 (2)

Michael B. Geibel, Esq.
Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP
1880 Century Park East, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067
Phone: (310) 552-3400
email: mgeibel@gibbsgiden.com

The content contained herein is published online by Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP (“Gibbs Giden”) for informational purposes only, may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements, and does not constitute legal advice. Do not act on the information contained herein without seeking the advice of licensed counsel.

Copyright 2015 Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP ©

Attorney Newsletter Advertisement

Netflix Offers Unlimited Parental Leave: What’s Your Company Policy?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAM2AAAAJDRhMTQ4ZGVjLTQzNWYtNGFmMi1hNGI0LWM5NGViZjdjN2JjNw

Netflix upped the stakes in the tech industry when it announced it was implementing an unlimited fully-paid parental leave policy during the first year of a child’s birth or adoption.  Microsoft quickly announced that it was expanding its parental leave policy, extending fully paid time off to twelve weeks for both mothers and fathers, with an additional eight weeks of fully paid maternity disability leave for new mothers.

While generous parental leave benefits are fairly common in the highly-competitive tech industry, paid parental leave is uncommon across the United States.  No federal law requires an employer to offer paid time off to new parents, and only a handful of states provide paid time off to them.  For example, California provides new mothers and fathers six weeks of partial paid leave through the Paid Family Leave program, and new mothers with ten weeks (4 weeks pre-birth and 6 weeks after) of partial paid leave through the State Disability Insurance program.  Those programs are administered through the state, however, not the individual employer.

What’s Your Company Policy?

Even though employers are not legally required to provide paid parental leave, an employer’s own policies may require it to provide paid leave to new parents.  Generally, if an employer makes personal or medical leave available to its workers, it must make such leave available to pregnant employees and new parents.  The same is true for personal and vacation leave: employers generally must allow new parents to use this time off as parental leave if the employee meets the other requirements of the policy.  Whatever an employer’s policies are with respect to parental leave, those policies should apply equally to men and women to avoid a potential sex discrimination lawsuit.

Employers have to navigate a myriad of state and federal laws when developing their personnel policies, including their parental leave policies, and are advised to work closely with their employment counsel in doing so.

For more information contact:
David M. Prager, Esq.
Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP
1880 Century Park East, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067
Phone: (310) 552-3400
email: dprager@gibbsgiden.com

The content contained herein is published online by Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP (“Gibbs Giden”) for informational purposes only, may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements, and does not constitute legal advice. Do not act on the information contained herein without seeking the advice of licensed counsel.

Copyright 2015 Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP ©

Attorney Newsletter Advertisement

Court of Appeal: Port of Long Beach Truckers Are Employees, Not Independent Contractors

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAM2AAAAJDRhMTQ4ZGVjLTQzNWYtNGFmMi1hNGI0LWM5NGViZjdjN2JjNw

 

The California Court of Appeal (Second District) has ordered publication of an opinion affirming a judgment in yet another employee-misclassification case.

 

Garcia v. Seacon Logix, Inc., involved allegations of employee misclassification brought by four Port of Long Beach truck drivers for Seacon before the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”).  The DLSE found the drivers should have been classified as employees and not independent contractors.  Seacon appealed the ruling to the Los Angeles Superior Court, where the court agreed with the DLSE.  Seacon then appealed the trial court’s ruling, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal in an opinion certified for publication on July 30, 2015.

 

Important to the Court of Appeal’s opinion, as in any employee misclassification case, was the amount of control Seacon exercised over the drivers.  The trial court found that the drivers credibly testified that Seacon tightly controlled the manner and means in which the work was performed, including controlling the drivers’ work hours, absences from work, delivery assignments, and use of trucks Seacon leased to them.  The Court also gave short shrift to Seacon’s argument that agreements signed by the drivers defined them as independent contractors, observing that “the language in the agreement giving the drivers control over their work and describing them as independent contractors is not dispositive.”

 

Employers and HR professionals utilizing independent contractors on a regular basis are advised to continually and diligently evaluate their independent contractor agreements, practices, and policies with their employment counsel to protect themselves against costly lawsuits.

 

The full opinion in Garcia v. Seacon Logix, Inc. can be found here.

 

For more information contact:
David M. Prager, Esq.
Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP
1880 Century Park East, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067
Phone: (310) 552-3400
email: dprager@gibbsgiden.com

The content contained herein is published online by Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP (“Gibbs Giden”) for informational purposes only, may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements, and does not constitute legal advice. Do not act on the information contained herein without seeking the advice of licensed counsel.

Copyright 2015 Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP ©

Attorney Newsletter Advertisement