Mayers v. Volt Management Corp.: California Court Finds Employee Arbitration Agreement Unenforceable


by Sayema Hameed

The California Court of Appeal has issued a decision holding that an employee arbitration agreement is unenforceable.  In Mayers v. Volt Management Corp. (filed February 2, 2012, publication ordered February 27, 2012, Fourth District, Div. Three, Case No. G045036), the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against his former employer alleging various claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, § 12940 et seq.) (“FEHA”).  The defendant employer filed a motion to compel arbitration based on the plaintiff’s agreement to submit employment-related claims to final and binding arbitration, as evidenced by his signed employment application, employment agreement, and acknowledgment of receipt of employee handbook.  The trial court denied the motion to compel arbitration. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision.

The arbitration provisions in the employment application, employment agreement, and employee handbook each required that the plaintiff submit employment-related claims to arbitration pursuant to the “applicable rules of the American Arbitration Association in the state” where plaintiff was employed.  However, Plaintiff was not provided with a copy of the controlling American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) rules or advised as to how he could find them.

The arbitration provisions also failed to identify which set of AAA rules would apply.  They further stated that the “arbitrator shall be entitled to award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party.”  That language exposed the plaintiff to a greater risk of liability for attorney fees than he would have been if he pursued his FEHA claims in court.  The Court of Appeal, therefore, concluded that the above provisions were unconscionable and unenforceable, and plaintiff could not be compelled to arbitrate his claims against the defendant.

California Adds New Protections To Pregnancy Disability Leave Law


by Sayema Hameed

Existing California law requires employers with five or more employees to provide employees pregnancy disability leave of up to four (4) months before returning to work.  Effective January 1, 2012, California law now also requires an employer to maintain and pay for group health plan coverage for an employee who takes such leave.

California Prohibits “Willful Misclassification” Of Employees As Independent Contractors


by Sayema Hameed

Employers should be careful when treating workers as individual contractors.  Effective January 1, 2012, California now prohibits “willful misclassification” of individuals as independent contractors.  The “willful misclassification” of an individual is defined as “avoiding employee status for an individual by voluntarily and knowingly misclassifying that individual as an independent contractor.”

California Restricts Employers’ Use of Consumer Credit Reports Effective January 1, 2012


by Sayema Hameed

Assembly Bill 22, signed into law by Governor Brown, restricts the use of consumer credit reports by employers.  Effective January 1, 2012, employers and prospective employers (excluding certain financial institutions) will be prohibited from obtaining or using consumer credit reports about employees or job applicants, with limited exceptions. 

California’s Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011 Effective January 1, 2012


by Sayema Hameed

A wide array of new employment laws go into effect in California in 2012.  Among the new laws that will impact the day-to-day operations of employers is the new “Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011,” which adds Section 2810.5 to the California Labor Code.  Effective January 1, 2012, employers will be required to provide to non-exempt employees, at the time of hiring, a notice including the following information:

  • √ The employer’s rate(s) of pay and how the employee will be paid (salary, hourly, commission);
  • √ The rates for overtime;
  • √ Any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage, including meal or lodging allowances;
  • √ The employer’s regular payday;
  • √ The employer’s name, including any fictitious business names under which it operates;
  • √ The employer’s physical and mailing addresses; and
  • √ Contact information for the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Employee Rights Notice Posting Requirement Effective April 30, 2012


by Sayema Hameed

Effective April 30, 2012, most private sector employers will be required to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”). This notice requirement will apply to most private sector employers (excluding agricultural, railroad, airline, and the US Postal Service) and is meant to inform both unionized and non-unionized employers of their rights under the Act. Employers can get more information and download the notice from the National Labor Relations Board website: https://www.nlrb.gov/poster

Sayema Hameed Is Named A 2011 Southern California Rising Star


Pasadena, CA – Cabada & Hameed LLP is pleased to announce that partner Sayema Hameed has been recognized as a Rising Star in the 2011 Southern California Rising Stars edition of Super Lawyers magazine for her work in business litigation.  Super Lawyers honors outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The Super Lawyers Rising Stars list includes top attorneys who are age 40 or younger or have been in practice less than ten years.  Ms. Hameed was previously recognized as a Rising Star in 2009 and 2010.  The full list of Southern California Rising Stars will appear in the July 2011 issue of Los Angeles magazine, which can be found online at: http://digital.superlawyers.com/superlawyers/socal2011

Cabada & Hameed LLP Moves To Pasadena


Pasadena, CA – Cabada & Hameed LLP is pleased to announce that its office has moved from Irvine to Pasadena effective June 1, 2011.  Famous for being the home of the Rose Bowl, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, and its historic Old Town, the city of Pasadena is centrally located in Los Angeles County and is only a short drive from downtown Los Angeles.  Cabada & Hameed’s new office is located in the heart of Pasadena’s thriving business district on South Lake Avenue.  With this move, Cabada & Hameed will be better situated to serve its client base in the greater Los Angeles region.

Cabada & Hameed’s new address is:

[mapsmarker marker=”3″]

CABADA & HAMEED LLP
70 South Lake Avenue, Suite 1000
Pasadena, CA 91101
Tel:  626-463-7090
Fax: 626-463-7010

Click Here For Google Map of 70 South Lake Avenue

Cabada & Hameed LLP Resolves Entertainment Industry Dispute


Los Angeles, CA – Cabada & Hameed LLP recently achieved a successful resolution to an ongoing dispute between companies involved in the production of a Discovery Channel television series.

In this matter handled by partner Sayema Hameed, Cabada & Hameed represented a Los Angeles-based post-production company engaged in the business of providing editing, audio mixing, graphics and other post-production services for films, television programs and commercials.  The company entered into agreements to provide its post-production services and electronic production equipment to the producers of a Discovery Channel program, The Off-Road Championship.

Cabada & Hameed LLP Helps Client Recover Product Worth $200,000


Los Angeles, CA – Cabada & Hameed LLP, the law firm founded by big firm veteran attorneys Francisco Cabada and Sayema Hameed, recently obtained a substantial victory for one of its business clients, enabling its client to regain possession of product worth approximately $200,000.

This matter, handled by partner Sayema Hameed, presented numerous procedural hurdles as well as an extremely obstinate opponent.  Nevertheless, Ms. Hameed successfully navigated these challenges and achieved the end result desired by her client, without the heavy costs associated with big firms.