New Code of Civil Procedure section 1001 prohibits confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements for claims of sexual harassment and certain other claims (except re the claimant’s identity or amount of the settlement), with certain exceptions; new law effective January 1, 2019.

Troester v. Starbucks Corp., Cal. no. S234969 (July 26, 2018). De minimis doctrine did not apply to state-law wage-and-hour claims by Starbucks employee who worked four to ten minutes each workday off the clock (e.g., transmitting daily sales data and locking up the store).

Raines v. Coastal Pacific Food Distributors, Inc., Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist. (May 22, 2018): PAGA actions to enforce Labor Code section 226(a) do not require a showing of actual injury; actual injury is only required to secure actual or statutory damages under section 226(e), but is not required to prosecute an enforcement action to secure an employer’s compliance with the Labor Code

Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 584 U.S. ___, U.S. Supreme Ct. no. 16-285 (May 21, 2018)): employment arbitration agreements can prohibit employees from being able to bring class actions, collective actions, and any other type of action other than an individual action in arbitration. Employees who sign such agreements may be bound to have their disputes adjudicated in private arbitration and solely on an individual basis.

Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, LLC, 2018 WL 2112307 (Cal. Ct. App. 2nd Dist. no. B277893 (May 8, 2018)) : injured plaintiffs do not have a duty to treat under insurance, and the full amounts charged are admissible to prove the reasonable value of medical services, although the charges alone are insufficient and must be supported by expert testimony.

Weiler v. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, Inc., 2018 WL 2011048 (Cal. Ct. App. 4th Dist. no. G053953 (Apr. 30, 2018)): Court of Appeal holds that a party may not be forced to stay in arbitration when the party cannot afford the arbitration fees. At that point, so long as the inability to pay for the arbitration is in good faith (e.g., not a result of bad-faith intent to avoid arbitration), the other party must either pay for the arbitration or allow the matter to proceed in Superior Court.

Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court, no. S222732 (Cal. Apr. 30, 2018): Cal Supremes rule on when a worker may be classified as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee under the Wage Orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission. The Cal Supremes held that California workers are presumptively employees and adopted a three-part test that must be satisfied in full by the hirer to establish independent-contractor status.