Skip to main content

Doe v. Google, Inc. (CA1/4 A157097 9/21/20) PAGA/NLRA/Garmon Exception

By September 22, 2020Uncategorized
Woman with a closed zipper photoshopped in her mouth

Women with shocked look has zipped her lips shut.

Google, Inc. and Alphabet, Inc. (collectively, Google), and Adecco USA, Inc. (Adecco) require their employees to comply with various confidentiality policies.  John Doe, David Gudeman, and Paola Correa, who are current and former Google and Adecco employees, sued Google and Adecco under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.), alleging the employers’ confidentiality policies restricted their employees’ speech in violation of California law.  The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrers without leave to amend, concluding plaintiffs’ claims were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or Act) (29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.) under San Diego Bldg. Trades Council v. Garmon (1959) 359 U.S. 236, 244–245 (Garmon).  Plaintiffs contend the trial court erred in finding the NLRA preempted their PAGA claims.  They further challenge the trial court’s denial of a petition to coordinate this case with another case pending in a different trial court.   

We conclude that, although many of plaintiffs’ claims relate to conduct that is arguably within the scope of the NLRA, the claims fall within the local interest exception to Garmon preemption and may therefore go forward.  We also conclude that plaintiffs’ challenge to the trial court’s coordination petition is not properly before us.  We will therefore reverse the trial court’s orders sustaining defendants’ demurrers without leave to amend and remand for further proceedings.