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In Jessica Ferra et al. v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC (July 15, 2021) the Supreme Court of California held that employers must pay employees one-hour meal and rest period premiums based on the FLSA regular rate employers use to calculate overtime premiums rather than the employee’s base hourly rates.  Ferra was a bartender at Loews Hollywood Hotel. The hotel paid Ferra hourly wages in addition to quarterly nondiscretionary incentive payments. If Loews did not provide an employee with a compliant meal or rest period, it would pay the employee an additional hour of pay according to the employee’s hourly wage…
In Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., 594 U.S. ___ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a disgruntled high school cheerleader (B.L.) who didn’t make the varsity squad.  During one weekend at a convenience store, B.L., a public high school student, made Snapchat posts criticizing the school and the cheerleading team. One post showed her with middle fingers raised with the caption: “F— school, f— softball, f— cheer, f— everything.” To no surprise, the other cheerleaders and their moms caught wind of the post and became upset and went to the principal. In response, the school handed B.L.…
In Van Buren v. United States, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the Court clarified an outdated and vague law that was not in conformity with today’s digital age. Van Buren, a former police sergeant, ran a license-plate search in a police computer database in exchange for money with a shady local citizen. The FBI was already investigating Van Buren in connection with other dealings he had with the citizen. Van Buren’s database search violated department policy, which authorized him to obtain database information only for law enforcement purposes. Van Buren was also convicted of a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and…
Assembly Bill (AB) 1506, effective July 1, 2021, amended Government Code section 12525.3(b)(1) to require that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate all officer-involved-shootings that result in the death of an “unarmed civilian”. On June 24, 2021, the California Department of Justice released an information bulletin interpreting some of the ambiguous language in AB 1506.  On July 7th, the DOJ released a more comprehensive package of protocols and guidelines for the investigation of “qualifying events” (officer-involved shootings that result in the death of an unarmed civilian). Prior to the release of these guidelines, the DOJ met with various stakeholders—including…
During the period of 2018 to 2020, the Sacramento County Employees Retirement System (“SCERS”) adopted three policies eliminating certain benefits that sheriff deputies had been receiving for many years without providing a similar new advantage in return.  Specifically, the calculation of service credit was changed from 2080 hours equals one year of service credit to one calendar year equals one year of service credit.  This deprived deputies that work a regular schedule that exceeds 2080 hours a year from earning extra service credit.   SCERS also implemented a policy that all deputies hired after 1/1/2013 only have a base pay calculated…
Starting July 1, 2021, The Attorney General’s Office will investigate police shootings involving the death of an unarmed civilian. On June 24, 2021, the California Department of Justice released an information bulletin interpreting Assembly Bill (AB) 1506. AB 1506 amended Government Code section 12525.3(b)(1) and requires that effective July 1, 2021, the DOJ must investigate all officer-involved-shootings that result in the death of an “unarmed civilian”. The June 24th bulletin is meant interpret of some of the ambiguous language used in the statute and to provide guidance to local law enforcement in determining if a case needs to be turned…
On June 23, 2021, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) found the County of Sonoma violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) by unilaterally placing Measure P on the November 2020 ballot. Measure P significantly increased the authority of the County’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO). In part, Measure P authorized IOLERO to independently investigate Sheriff Office employees, recommend discipline, directly access and review evidence from confidential internal affair files, and post body worn camera videos online.   Timeline of the case: August 6, 2020 – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors unilaterally voted to place Measure P on…
Employees are not required to divulge their vaccination status. However, if they do not, they must wear a mask. Employers can ask employees to attest that they have been fully vaccinated. Employees who attest to being fully vaccinated may go mask-less.  An attestation is different than providing your vaccination card or medical records. Employers limit their inquiry by only asking for attestations to avoid HIPPA or other legal issues because you have a right to keep your medical records private.  Policies and government orders are rapidly changing, so keep in mind that rules this week may not be rules next week.…
On June 23, 2021, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) found the County of Sonoma violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) by unilaterally placing Measure P on the November 2020 ballot. Measure P significantly increased the authority of the County’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO). In part, Measure P authorized IOLERO to independently investigate Sheriff Office employees, recommend discipline, directly access and review evidence from confidential internal affair files, and post body worn camera videos online.   On August 20, 2020, Kathleen Mastagni-Storm and Tashayla Billington filed a PERB Charge on behalf of the Sonoma County Law…
 In Cunningham v. Shelby County, Tennessee (6th Cir. 2021) 994 F.3d 761, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals highlighted the important benefits officers enjoy from body worn and dashboard cameras in granting two deputies qualified immunity. The appellate court reversed the district court’s denial of summary judgment noting that courts do not have to view the disputed facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff when the plaintiff’s allegations are “blatantly contradicted” by the video footage.  Instead, the court must view the facts in the light depicted by the videotape.  The court also held the consideration of still frame…