June 2019 employment law decisions
Employees must be paid for all hours worked.
June 28, 2019, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Isaac Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services, Inc.: The federal “de minimus” doctrine, which precludes recovery for amounts of time that are small, irregular, or administratively difficult to record, does not apply to wage claims brought under California law.
Dismissal of whistleblower claim reversed.
June 20, 2019, Fourth District Court of Appeal, Christopher Ross v. County of Riverside: Mr. Ross, a deputy district attorney, had sufficient evidence to show that he engaged in protected activity under California’s whistleblower law (Labor Code section 1102.5) because he disclosed information to his superiors indicating the district attorney’s office would not be able to prove a particular murder case beyond a reasonable doubt and lacked probable cause to continue prosecuting the case based on a belief continued prosecution would violate the defendant’s due process rights and a prosecutor’s ethical obligations under state law.
Case sent back to trial court on issue of employee versus independent contractor status.
June 13, 2019, Fourth District Court of Appeal, Shawn Bennett v. Rancho California Water District: Administrative law judge’s finding that Mr. Bennett was an employee for purposes of retirement benefits through the California Public Employees’ Retirement System did not preclude determination of employee versus independent contractor status in Mr. Bennett’s civil action for whistleblower retaliation (Labor Code section 1102.5) because the prior determination was based on a lesser burden of proof. The common law rule for employee versus independent contractor, rather than the Labor Code section 1106 definition, applied to Mr. Bennett’s claim.