Read the latest news from The Scali Law Firm, including legal alerts and event listings.
Last week, the California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal in Augustus v. ABM Sec. Srvs., Inc., holding that “on duty” and “on call” rest periods are against California law under Labor Code section 226.7 and ICW Wage Order 4. While this Wage Order is not applicable to dealership employees, they fall under Wage Order 7, which contains the same rest break provision. Therefore, this case highlights how the Supreme Court may rule on rest breaks for dealership employees. The rule is: (1) For a rest break to be proper employees must be relieved of all duties and the employer must relinquish any control over the employee (but, requiring them to remain onsite does not establish control), and (2) requiring employees to be on call (even if you are not usually called) does not relieve them of all duties.
The City of Los Angeles recently passed the Fair Chance Initiative, a new ordinance banning the use of any questions regarding an applicant’s criminal history in the pre-offer stage of the hiring process. Effective January 22, 2017, employers cannot ask about a job applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment (conditioned only on an assessment of the employee’s criminal history and the job duties) has been made. This rule applies to any employer located or doing business in the City of Los Angeles who employs ten or more employees. The ordinance also provides a private right of action, and imposes penalties of up to $2,000 for repeat violations.
On December 15th, the California Supreme Court delivered its much-anticipated decision in the Raceway Ford Cases, holding that the practice of backdating second or subsequent contracts did not violate the Automobile Sales Finance Act (Cal. Civil Code §§ 2981, et seq. known as “ASFA”) and that the disclosure of inaccurate smog fees did not entitle buyers to the remedy of rescission under ASFA where the error was an accidental or bona fide error in computation. In so doing, the Supreme Court specifically overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision in the 2010 case of Nelson v. Pearson Ford, which held that the backdating of contracts violated ASFA because it resulted in an illegal finance charge, and also violated ASFA’s “single document rule.” Importantly, the Court also affirmed the large award of attorney’s fees to Raceway Ford on the backdating claims.
A couple of laws did not make it on the New Laws Alert last week, but we think they are important for our dealer clients to know.
In August of this year, the California Court of Appeal in Nichols v. Century West, LLC. et al. held that a dealer’s informal agreement with a customer to delay depositing her down payment checks did not constitute an undisclosed deferred down payment on the sales contract, nor did it violate the single document rule. The challenges to this decision were resolved earlier this month and the remittitur issued last Monday. So, this is the law of the land. Nonetheless, Nichols leaves some unanswered questions and we strongly recommend consulting with an automotive attorney before changing your polices concerning deferred down payments.
As we come to the end of 2016 and get ready for 2017, this alert will provide you with a run-down of the new laws affecting your business. This is not a substitute for the in-depth presentation of these new laws provided by the CNCDA. We encourage all of our clients and friends to attend the CNCDA’s various New Laws seminars hosted at locations around the state. Check out www.cncda.org for news on where you can attend one of these valuable seminars.
It is very common to see policies in employee handbooks that provide for a 60 or 90-day “Introductory Period” for new employees. But what really is the legal effect of these?