In a landmark unanimous ruling late last week, Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, et al. 601 U. S. ____ (2024), the U.S. Supreme Court held that whistleblowers do not need to prove their employer acted with “retaliatory intent” to be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Instead, all whistleblower plaintiffs need to prove is that their protected activity was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s unfavorable personnel action. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Endorses Low Burden of Proof for Whistleblowers
In the past few months, California Governor Newsom has signed numerous new employment laws affecting California employers of all sizes. Below is a summary of some of the laws going into effect in 2024.Continue Reading Looking Ahead: New California Employment Laws for 2024
On October 8, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill No. 497, the “Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act.” The new law amends California Labor Code sections 98.6, 1102.5, and 1197.5 to create a “rebuttable presumption of retaliation” if an employee experiences an adverse employment action within 90 days of engaging in any protected activity covered by the specified sections. This new law, which will become effective on January 1, 2024, also entitles a prevailing plaintiff civil penalties for each violation.Continue Reading New California Law Makes It Easier for Employees to Establish Retaliation Claims for Alleged Labor Code Violations
In People ex rel. Garcia-Brower v. Kolla’s, Inc., the California Supreme Court resolved a split between the Courts of Appeal for the First and Second Districts over whether a protected “disclosure” under Labor Code section 1102.5(b) includes a report of unlawful activity made to an employer or agency that already knew about the reported unlawful activity. The Supreme Court held that it does.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Adopts Broader Definition of “Disclosure” Under State Whistleblower Law
In a last minute whirlwind of activity by California’s Legislature, a significant number of employment-related bills have now made their way to Governor Newsom’s desk and await their fate. Below are highlights of some of the bills that may affect California employers, should Governor Newsom sign them into law.Continue Reading What’s on Deck With Governor Newsom? Employment-Related Bills That May Soon Impact California Employers
On March 16, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law two amendments to the State’s workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws.
Continue Reading New York State Amends Its Workplace Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Laws
In Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., __ P.3d __, 2022 WL 244731 (Cal., Jan. 27, 2022), the California Supreme Court clarified that whistleblower retaliation claims brought under Labor Code section 1102.5 should not be evaluated under the McDonnell Douglas test, but instead the standard enumerated in Labor Code section 1102.6. Under the section 1102.6 standard, a plaintiff must show that a protected activity was a contributing factor in a prohibited action against the employee by a preponderance of the evidence. The employer must then demonstrate with clear and convincing evidence that the action would have occurred for legitimate, independent reasons, even if the employee had not engaged in protected action.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Holds That McDonnell Douglas Standard Should Not Be Used When Evaluating Whistleblower Retaliation Claims
On September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1947 into law. Effective January 1, 2021, AB 1947 will, among other things, authorize courts to award attorneys’ fees to whistleblowers who prevail against employers under Labor Code section 1102.5. This amendment will likely incentivize employees (and their lawyers) to bring retaliation claims against California employers. For our previous analysis of this bill, click here.
Continue Reading Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuits Are About to Become More Expensive in California
The end of the year is often a time of self-reflection to determine if one has ended up on the “Nice” or “Naughty” List. In appellate practice, ending up on the “Naughty List” can result in serious consequences, including the dismissal of a pending appeal and a forfeiture of substantive legal rights, regardless of the merits of the underlying appeal.
Continue Reading Ending Up On The Naughty List: Dismissal Of A Pending Appeal Under The Disentitlement Doctrine
A 21st Century Social Movement
In this age of interconnectivity, compelling societal movements have a never-before-seen speed and reach. Traditional means of spreading information and generating social change have been supplemented—if not outright replaced—by the near-instantaneous ability of an idea or cause to go viral on social media, regardless of its source. In 2018, the gatekeepers—and indeed, the gates—to disseminating content and generating popular support are being dismantled before our eyes. Nowhere over the past year was this more evident than in the #MeToo movement.
Continue Reading EEOC Data Confirms #MeToo’s Impact: Six Keys for Employers in the Wake of This Powerful Cultural Moment
The California Court of Appeal recently held that employees’ workers’ compensation decisions barred them from pursuing similar claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) based on the doctrine of res judicata.
Continue Reading Correctional Officers FEHA Claims are Barred by Res Judicata for Already Adjudicated Workers’ Compensation Cases