District Court Certifies Costco Class Again

District Court Judge Edward Chen ruled that the case against Costco for sex discrimination would go forward as a class action.  The case was first certified in 2007, but Costco appealed that certification to the Ninth Circuit, which then sent the case back to the District Court to consider changes in the law after the Wal-Mart Supreme Court decision.  Judge Chen certified two classes: 1) an injunctive relieve class of all women who are currently employed or who will be employed at any Costco warehouse in the U.S. since January 3, 2002 who have been subject to Costco’s system for promotion to Assistant General Manager and/or General Manager positions; and 2) a monetary relief class of all women who have been employed at any Costco warehouse in the U.S. since January 3, 2002 who have been subject to Costco’s system for promotion to Assistant General Manager and/or General Manager positions.  The decision can be found here.  For more information, visit www.genderdiscriminationagainstCostco.com

Asian Law Caucus Honors DCB as Pro Bono Firm of the Year

The Asian Law Caucus honored DCB as its Pro Bono Firm of the Year at its 40th Anniversary celebration. DCB is co-counsel with the Asian Law Caucus on a class action lawsuit representing Vietnamese women workers in the nail salon industry in San Mateo County.

Plaintiffs File Amended Complaint in Wal-Mart Class Action

Plaintiffs in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores have filed an amended complaint in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging gender discrimination in Wal-Mart’s retail store pay and management promotion policies and practices in Wal-Mart’s regions located in whole or in part in California.

A copy of the amended complaint is available here.

To learn more about the Wal-Mart class action, go to www.walmartclass.com.

DCB Recently Defeated Two Attempts to Enjoin its Clients From Picketing and Demonstrating.

UNITE HERE Local 1 in Chicago has a long-running contract dispute with the Park Hyatt Chicago.  During a strike in July 2011, Local 1 picketed the entrance to the Park Hyatt hotel and the entrance to condominiums in the same building.  A Regional Director of the NLRB issued a complaint alleging that Local 1’s picketing of the condominiums violated the NLRA’s prohibition on secondary boycotts, and also filed a petition in federal district court seeking a preliminary injunction.  On October 18, 2011, after DCB conducted discovery into the condominiums residents’ use of the Park Hyatt hotel’s facilities and services, the Regional Director moved to withdraw the petition for injunctive relief.

UNITE HERE Local 11 has a labor dispute with the recently remodeled Bel Air hotel in the tony Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.  Local 11 planned to demonstrate on the day that the hotel reopened to guests, but did not apply for a parade permit from the City of Los Angeles.  Two days before the planned demonstration, the Bel Air applied for a temporary restraining order.  After a hearing, the Los Angeles Superior Court denied the Bel Air’s request for a TRO because, among the reasons, the Bel Air did not prove that a demonstration on the public street would affect its property.

DCB Welcomes New Associate Kyrsten Skogstad to its San Francisco Office

DCB welcomes new associate Kyrsten Skogstad to its San Francisco office.  Kyrsten recently graduated from Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law with honors.  During law school she was an AFL-CIO Law Student Union Summer Fellow and through the program clerked for the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  As a law student, she also interned at the Department of Labor in Washington, DC and at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation in East Saint Louis, Illinois.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University where she majored in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy and minored in Arabic.  During her time at Duke she was a core organizer for her university’s chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops and participated in many UNITE HERE and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) campaigns.  Prior to Law School she worked in the Refugee and Immigrant Program at The Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

UK Court Throws Out Billionaire’s Defamation Lawsuit

In Adelson v. Anderson, [2011] EWHC 2497 (QB), the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, in London granted UNITE HERE’s application to strike out in their entirety Sheldon Adelson’s and Las Vegas Sands Inc’s defamation claims against UNITE HERE and its Director of International Affairs, Debbie Anderson.  The Court also ordered Adelson and Las Vegas Sands to pay the defendants’ attorney’s  costs of defending the claims.  The action arose out of a presentation made by Anderson at a “fringe” (breakout) meeting of about 100 people held in conjunction with a Labour Party congress in 2004.  Anderson described various aspects of Sheldon Adelson’s and Las Vegas Sands’ history, including unsuccessful litigation against UNITE HERE’s Las Vegas affiliates, Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165.  The presentation also raised matters relating to the business practices of Adelson’s flagship Las Vegas hotel, the Venetian, including a Nevada Gaming Commission fine against the Venetian for rigging games in 2004.  Some fifteen months after Ms. Anderson gave her presentation, Adelson and Las Vegas Sands sued UNITE HERE and Anderson in the UK for defamation.  In dismissing the case, the Court agreed that Adelson lacked of real interest in pursuing it in light of the long delays in bringing and prosecuting it, concluding that “what is now at stake in this action does not justify the deployment of [the Court’s] resources.”

Ninth Circuit Orders NLRB to Find Violation

In Local Joint Executive Bd. of Las Vegas v. NLRB, __ F.3d __, 2011 WL 4031208 (9th Cir. 2011), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the NLRB’s policy that employers may unilaterally terminate dues checkoff after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement without first bargaining with the union is irrational when applied in states where union security is prohibited.  The court ordered the NLRB to find that the former owner of the Hacienda and Sahara hotels in Las Vegas committed an unfair labor practice in 1995 when it stopped dues checkoff for Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 during a contentious bargaining dispute.  The ruling is very unusual and is the product of 16 years of litigation, three NLRB decisions and three Court of Appeals decisions.  Ordinarily, the federal courts of appeals do not tell the NLRB how to interpret the NLRA or declare any conduct to be illegal where the NLRB has not found a violation.  The court took this step only because the NLRB failed three times to provide a rational explanation for its rule, instead relying solely on the length of time it has been in effect.

District Court Sets Deadline for Wal-Mart Class Members

The district court issued an order on August 19, 2011 setting deadlines for former class members in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores to file a lawsuit or a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.   Former class members who have received a right to sue letter from the EEOC for claims of pay and management promotion discrimination must file suit by October 28, 2011.

To learn more about the Wal-Mart class action, go to www.walmartclass.com.

The Battle Against Wal-Mart: What’s Next?

On June 20, 2011, the Supreme Court reversed the class certification decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. While the plaintiffs and class counsel are disappointed at the decision, our battle for equal opportunity for women at Wal-Mart will continue.

The Supreme Court’s decision addressed only whether a nationwide class action could go forward. It did not rule on whether Wal-Mart discriminated against women, nor whether you may pursue an individual claim of sex discrimination.

If you worked at Wal-Mart Store at any time since December 26, 1998 and were denied equal pay or promotion to store management positions, it is important that you act promptly to protect your rights to pursue your claim.

To learn more about the Wal-Mart class action, go to www.walmartclass.com.

DCB Welcomes its Summer Interns

We are pleased to welcome our summer interns to our San Francisco office. Carmen Comsti is in her third year of law school at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law. At UC Berkeley, she co-founded the Campus Rights Project, a student run civil rights defense clinic, where she supports students and workers on campus in political activity. Prior to law school, she also worked with the Virginia Organizing Project on living wage campaigns in Virginia. Daniel Rojas is a rising third-year student at Stanford Law School. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara for his undergraduate education where he majored in Political Science and minored in English, Spanish, and History. During his law school career, he has been able to help working families as a volunteer in the Immigration Pro Bono program and as an Equal Justice Access Fellow at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto. He is lead editor on the Stanford Technology Law Review and former Co-Chair of the Stanford Latino Law Students Association.