UPDATES FOR CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS – MAY 2015
REI Settles Overtime Class Action Case for $2.5 million
A federal magistrate judge on Tuesday granted preliminary approval of a $2.5 million settlement between Recreational Equipment Inc. and about 5,000 former employees in California who claim the sporting goods store failed to pay minimum wage and overtime.
City of Los Angeles Sues Wells Fargo
The City of Los Angeles filed a complaint against Wells Fargo & Co. on Monday, accusing the bank in California state court of pressuring employees into opening unauthorized and illegal accounts in order to meet unrealistic sales goals. Wells Fargo is facing two counts of violating California’s Unfair Competition Law and stands accused of encouraging identity theft by forcing bank branch employees to meet sales goals the company knew could not be achieved without the use of illegal tactics. Such tactics, known as “gaming,” frequently include opening customer accounts without their knowledge in order to meet quotas for a Wells Fargo initiative known as “Gr-eight,” which seeks to increase the number of Wells Fargo accounts per household to eight, according to the complaint.
To Recover Costs in FEHA Cases Employers Bear High Burden
A prevailing employer must prove a state workplace discrimination suit is “objectively groundless” before it can recoup litigation costs, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled, saying in the closely watched employment case that forcing losing plaintiffs to pay costs threatens to chill workers’ civil-rights lawsuits. The court held that the standard articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Christiansburg Garment Co. v. EEOC, that a prevailing defendant in a discrimination fight can only recover attorneys’ fees if it shows the suit was frivolous, unreasonable or groundless, also applies to awards of litigation costs.