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Latest legal news and recent law changes.

A Tale of Two Words

The California Supreme Court granted a broad interpretation to the term, “disclose” as it is used in Labor Code § 1102.5, California’s general whistleblower statute. In Garcia-Brower v. Kolla’s, Inc., the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, finding that § 1102.5’s protections are not limited to previously unknown information, contrary to prior caselaw. The Court was influenced by the federal whistleblower jurisprudence, finding that § 1102.5’s legislative intent is to protect employees, the general directive to “liberally construe the Labor Code” for employees’ protection, and (perhaps) the injustice suffered by the plaintiff. The employee, a bartender, was fired after complaining to her employer that her wages were late. In retaliation, the employer fired her, banned her from the bar, and threatened to report her to immigration authorities. For her safety, she was identified only as “A.C.R.”  Curiously, the defendant did not appear or participate in any stage of the litigation—meaning this case resulted in a default judgment. The Court appointed Mr. Christopher Hu of Horvitz & Levy, LLP to argue on behalf of the defendant pro bono.

In a different case, Young v RemX Specialty Staffing, the adjudicating court gave a narrower interpretation to a different term, “discharged.” The pertinent statute the court dealt with in this other case was Labor Code § 201.3(b), “‘[i]f an employee of a temporary services employer is assigned to work for a client and is discharged by the temporary services employer or leasing employer, wages are due and payable’ immediately.”[1] In Young v. RemX Specialty Staffing, Ms. Young was an employee of a temporary staffing company. Shortly after being assigned to a temporary position at a bank, Ms. Young’s assignment was terminated by her employer when she allegedly became “verbally abusive” with a representative of the bank.

Ms. Young then did not receive another work assignment from her employer. The Court of Appeals found that an “employment relationship” was a prerequisite to being “discharged” and an employee of a temporary services employer does not have an employment relationship with a client of the employer. In plain English, the Court of Appeals found that Ms. Young was not “discharged” by the bank on these facts. Ms. Young raised the “general directive” of liberally construing the relevant statutes in favor of the employee. Young demurred that “we may not impermissibly rewrite the statute in the guise of liberally construing it.”[2]

If you have questions or concerns about how these news reports may affect you or your business, please contact The Burton Law Firm at: 916-822-8700 or email for a consultation.



[1] Young v. RemX Specialty Staffing, No. A165081, 2023 WL 3331378, at *4 (Cal. Ct. App. May 10, 2023)(quoting § 201.3(b)(4)).

[2] Young v. RemX Specialty Staffing, No. A165081, 2023 WL 3331378, at *5 (Cal. Ct. App. May 10, 2023)(cleaned up).