Fenwick Employment Brief - January 10, 2012


In this issue: For the First Time, California Supreme Court Clarifies Administrative Exemption Test - Rejects Mechanical Application of Administrative/Production Dichotomy; NLRB Holds That Mandatory Arbitration Agreements With Class Action Waivers Violate The NLRA; NLRB General Counsel Issues Pro-Employer Social Media Decisions; Ninth Circuit Holds That Obscene, Degrading, And Insubordinate Comments – Absent Threat Of Physical Harm – May Result In Loss Of Protection Under The NLRA; Ninth Circuit Confirms In Sullivan v. Oracle Corp. That California Law Can Apply To Work Performed In California By Nonresident Employees; Federal Court Finds Insufficient Evidence To Establish WARN Act Liability Against Parent Company; At-Home Call Center Misclassification Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Apple; Although The California Wage Theft Prevention Act Is Now In Effect, DLSE Guidance Remains Sparse; NLRB Further Delays Deadline For Posting Notice Of Employee Rights; and Brinker Decision On Meal Periods Likely In April 2012.

Excerpt from 'For the First Time...':

In a major wage/hour ruling, the California Supreme Court clarified the test used to analyze whether the administrative exemption to overtime applies to employees. Historically, courts have applied the administrative/production worker dichotomy test. This dichotomy distinguishes between administrative employees who are primarily engaged in administering the business affairs of the enterprise (exempt employees) and production-level employees whose primary duty is producing the commodities that the business exists to produce and market (non-exempt employees). However, in Harris v. Superior Court, the Supreme Court held that the administrative/production worker dichotomy is not a dispositive test and should only be applied in limited circumstances. Instead, courts should first analyze whether the work performed by the employee is (1) directly related to management policies or general business operations of the employer or its customers and (2) both qualitatively and quantitatively administrative.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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