Dealing with CA Agencies

While the Stakes At Issue In Actions Before the DLSE Continue to Grow, So Do The Deterrents And Obstacles to Pursuing Appeals of DLSE Orders in Court

By John R. Giovannone

Last week, the DLSE dropped a bomb.  On April 3, 2014 the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) issued a News Release on its website with the tag line “California Labor Commissioner orders Southern California Company to return over $336,000 to janitorial workers for unpaid wages.”  The order, which also imposed over $33,000 in penalty assessments, addressed claims of wage and meal/rest break violations on behalf of roughly 115 hourly workers over a three year period.  Setting aside the merits of the action, a liability finding of that magnitude in court would ordinarily result in the employer running to appeal.  But, the chances of an appeal are considerably lower here because the liability finding was issued by the DLSE.     

Why don’t more employers appeal adverse DLSE Decisions?  Historically, employers facing adverse orders, decisions, or awards of from the DLSE wouldn’t appeal those decisions in court for reasons that have little to do with the merits of their would-be de novo appeal, such as:
Continue Reading Wait — If I Want To Appeal, I Have To Come Up With How Much How Fast?

This week’s post is the first in a four-part blog series entitled Dealing with California Agencies.  Here, we highlight recent developments at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”). 

DFEH 2.0: How to Deal with the Rebooted DFEH

By Kristina Launey and Courtney Bohl

The DFEH recently received an “update” to its authority to enforce the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  As we previously reported, effective January 1, 2013, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission was eliminated, as well as its ability to adjudicate claims.  Instead, the DFEH is now authorized to file cases directly in court, seek damages, and to collect attorneys’ fees and costs.  The DFEH has made very clear it intends to use every “byte” of its  authority to prosecute suspected and “systemic” violators, and seek fees, costs, and damages.  

Employers beware.  The DFEH’s promise to flex its newly-found muscle brings an increased need to tread cautiously with the DFEH.  Below is a brief look into the “new and improved” DFEH as well as few tips to help employers deal with DFEH 2.0.

The Background:

The DFEH’s new authority came on the heels of two game changing decisions — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (which we blogged about here and here) and DFEH v. LSAC (which we blogged about here and here).  

Emboldened by the LSAC decision, the DFEH has expressed an intention to file class actions challenging systemic discrimination under the FEHA.  To help it carry out its mission, it upgraded its systems to include:
Continue Reading Dealing with CA Agencies Blog Series – DFEH 2.0: How to Deal with the Rebooted DFEH