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JD, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

BS, University of California, Berkeley

In the Matter of the Appeal for CalPERS Membership of L by City (2016) – Administrative Law Judge ruled in favor of City and overturned CalPERS decision classifying an independent contractor as a City employee.

M v. County (2016) – Hearing officer upheld the termination of a public safety officer who was arrested for and pled no contest to DUI and was in possession of a firearm at the time.

H v. City (2014) – Hearing officer upheld the termination of an administrative clerk who deleted mass amounts of files from the City’s server in an attempt to sabotage her supervisor.

T v. City (2014) – Negotiated a resignation in lieu of termination for an employee who stole gas from the City’s gas pumps.

R v. City (2013) – Hearing officer upheld the suspension of public works employee for violating safety protocol.

Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre (2016) – John Ellins was a police officer with the City of Sierra Madre. He was investigated for conducting improper searches on CLETS (a highly confidential law enforcement database) for his ex-girlfriend and her family. Out of concern for his ex-girlfriend’s safety, the City delayed disclosure of the specific nature of the investigation until immediately prior to the interrogation. Following written and verbal interrogation admonitions, the City provided Ellins and his attorney time to discuss the specific charges. His attorney had requested this time prior to the interrogation. After meeting with his attorney, Ellins refused to cooperate in the investigation. The City terminated Ellins for the improper CLETS searches and for insubordination. At the Court of Appeal, Ellins argued that he should not have been terminated for insubordination because the City violated his rights under the Public Safety Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBR) because it did not provide him a meaningful opportunity to consult with his attorney. The Court of Appeal disagreed and held that the City did give him reasonable notice prior to the interrogation under the POBR and that it did provide him a meaningful opportunity to discuss the specific charges with his attorney.

Berndt et al v. City of Los Angeles et al. (2015) – Approximately 20 Police officers employed by the City of Los Angeles’ Police Department (“LAPD”) filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging various wage and hour violations under the FLSA and provisions of the Labor Code. After the trial court granted the City’s motion to dismiss, the only remaining claims were allegations that (1) the City’s policy of paying police officers with compensatory time off (CTO) for non-FLSA hours worked violated the FLSA, and (2) the City should have paid overtime to the plaintiffs using a 40-hour overtime threshold for a seven-day period rather than the 171-hour overtime threshold for a 28-day period that the City adopted pursuant to the FLSA’s section 207(k) (also known as the 7(k) exemption). Regarding the 7(k) exemption, the plaintiffs argued they did not qualify for the exemption because they were purportedly no longer performing “law enforcement activities” when they were assigned to do administrative work pending internal investigations. The City successfully moved for summary judgment on both FLSA claims, and the plaintiffs appealed. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s decision and held that the FLSA regulations expressly permit employers to compensate employees with CTO for “non-FLSA” overtime, and the Ninth Circuit also agreed that the City properly established the 7(k) exemption and that the police officers did not present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it did not apply to any of them individually.

Harris v. City of Baldwin Park (2015) – Court of Appeal affirmed trial court’s decision to uphold the termination of a long-time public works supervisor. Employee claimed that the trial court erred by not reviewing the entire administrative record, but the Court of Appeal held that the trial court was not required to do so.

Former Employee v. Housing Authority (2022) – After being separated from his employment at a housing authority, the former employee sued for disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, and wrongful termination.  First, Danny Yoo and Aleena Hashmi convinced the former employee’s attorney to dismiss some discrimination claims and the wrongful termination claim.  Second, Danny and Aleena filed a demurrer on the remaining claims on the grounds that the former employee had failed to timely challenge the housing authority’s administrative decision to separate the employee.  The court granted the demurrer and dismissed the case.

Scarpino v. City of Perris and County of Riverside (2017) – Plaintiffs alleged the County’s CalPERS retirement benefit formula should apply to their years of service at a prior CalPERS agency. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the client, the county, on the grounds the Plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies before CalPERS.

Alaniz v. City of Los Angeles; Mata v. City of Los Angeles (2014) – Decertified collective action of approximately 2,500 current and former police officers claiming uncompensated overtime by showing that their claims were inherently individualized.

Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre (2014) – Successfully defended the City of Sierra Madre against a former police officer who was terminated for insubordination and improper use of the CLETS system.

Nolan v. City of Los Angeles (2014) – Trial court granted the City’s request to dismiss a multi-plaintiff case because of Plaintiffs’ failure to prosecute the case.

Harris v. City of Baldwin Park (2013) – Successfully defended the City of Baldwin Park against a former public works supervisor who sought reinstatement after the City terminated her for dishonesty, insubordination, threatening behavior and interference with an ongoing investigation.

Are Your Probationary Employees First-Round Picks Or Will They Be Cut From The Team?
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

The National Football League just completed its annual draft, in which the 32 NFL teams select collegiate players from around the country to compete for a spot on their rosters.  Prior to the draft, the teams spend time scouting, evaluating, and assessing these players.  Soon, the newly drafted...

Working From Home in a Post-Pandemic World
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers allowed some of their employees to work from home (i.e., “telecommute” or “telework”) in the interest of public health.  We are now entering our tenth month of the pandemic, and working from home has become “the new normal” for many...

Back to School – Educating Employers on Leave Under the FFCRA as Their Employees’ Children Return to Classes
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

As students return to school this fall, parents find themselves learning new vocabulary terms, such as “remote learning,” “distance learning,” “synchronous or asynchronous instruction,” and “learning pods.”  Parents are also learning how to juggle their own work, either from home or onsite, and...

New Year, New Minimum Wage
Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC)'s Municipal Magazine

This year has kept many agencies on their toes when it comes to complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act. This summer, the Ninth Circuit issued its Flores v. City of San Gabriel decision and changed the way many agencies calculate their regular rate of pay.  You can read...

April 24, 2024
What Police Leaders Need to Know about Labor and Personnel Law
Carlsbad | California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) Foundations of Executive Leadership in Policing

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