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California Countdown: Which Labor & Employment Bills Will the Governor Sign?

September 15 was the last day in 2017 for bills to pass both houses of the California Legislature and be forwarded to the governor. Governor Jerry Brown (D) has until October 15, 2017 to sign, veto, or otherwise not act upon these bills. Those bills that become law will take effect on January 1, 2018 unless a bill specifies an earlier or a later effective date. Included on the list of bills on the governor’s desk are numerous labor and employment items that could impact private employer operations. Below we briefly identify and summarize the more notable measures, and flag other bills employers were watching that did not progress – this round – but which could again be taken up when the legislature reconvenes on January 3, 2018.

California Legislative Wrap Up: Employment Bills Headed to the Governor

September 15, 2017 was the last day for the California Legislature to pass bills and send them to the Governor for approval. This post contains the list of key labor and employment bills that passed and will either be vetoed or signed into law by the Governor.

California Legislative Wrap-Up – Next Stop: Governor’s Desk!

The Legislature worked into the wee hours of the morning Saturday as it hit its deadline to pass legislation and send bills to Governor Brown for signature or veto.

Oral Contract Upheld in California Despite Offer Letter Purporting to Supersede It

Does an employment offer letter that expressly supersedes any oral statements on the part of supervisors concerning conditions of employment preclude verbal wage promises made after the employee is hired? Chen v. M&C Hotel Interest, Inc., No. B266461 (August 11, 2017).

California Employment Law Bills Sent to Governor’s Desk

Several California labor and employment law bills passed in both the state assembly and senate on or before the September 15, 2017, legislative deadline. Governor Brown will have until October 15, 2017, to sign or veto these bills.

San Diego Enacts Pay Equity Ordinance for City Contractors

The City of San Diego joined a growing list of state and local jurisdictions by enacting a pay equity ordinance on July 31, 2017.

Statutory Wage and Hour Claims May Be Compelled to Arbitration Under CBA

Last week, a California Court of Appeal held that a unionized employee’s statutory wage and hour claims (meal and rest breaks, overtime) had to be arbitrated pursuant to the grievance-arbitration provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The employee had filed claims in court on behalf of a class of similarly situated employees alleging meal and rest break violations, overtime violations, and failure to timely pay wages on termination of employment. The employer moved to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration provision in its collective bargaining agreement with the employee’s union. The employee argued that the CBA’s arbitration provision did not apply to his statutory wage and hour claims.

California Court Orders Arbitration of Administrative Wage Claim

This week, a California Court of Appeal confirmed that employment arbitration agreements require arbitration not only of employment claims filed in court but also of administrative wage claims filed before the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”). Employers may recall that in 2013, the California Supreme Court held (after effectively being directed to do so by the U.S. Supreme Court) in Sonic-Calabasas v. Moreno that there is no blanket exemption for wage claims from an otherwise enforceable arbitration agreement, and that employees are not necessarily entitled to have their wage claims adjudicated in an administrative hearing (known as a “Berman hearing”) before the DLSE. However, the California Supreme Court left some wiggle room in its opinion by qualifying it to say that if an arbitration agreement provides an “affordable and accessible” alternative forum for resolution of the wage claim, then the agreement is enforceable and applies to require the wage claim to be arbitrated. Because of this wiggle room, lawyers continue to litigate the issue of whether administrative wage claims are subject to arbitration. In Oto, LLC v. Kho, the court held that the answer is yes.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 8/28-9/11

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

Think Twice Before Firing an Employee for Political Reasons

There has been a lot of media attention recently over companies firing employees based on their political views and activities, or otherwise making known to employees that company leadership is of a particular political mindset and that contrary beliefs are not welcome. Based on these publicized stories, there may be a growing tendency for other companies to want to “jump on the bandwagon” and take similar action to distance themselves from employees with unpopular or extreme political views. If you are a California employer, that is not a great idea.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 8/21-8/25

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

California Remains Bellwether State for Expanded Employee Protections

It’s no secret that California is often at or near the forefront when it comes to new developments to expand employee protections.

California Employers May Sue For Online Defamation

The situation is a familiar one. Disgruntled current or former employees leave negative and harmful comments about their employer on online workplace review websites such as glassdoor.com or vault.com, or on customer review sites such as yelp.com. Until recently, employers had little recourse. Website operators are generally immune from liability under the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, and they historically have objected strenuously, on First Amendment and privacy grounds, to identifying persons who post defamatory comments anonymously on their websites.

San Francisco Enacts Local Lactation Accommodation Ordinance

Over the last several years, San Francisco has enacted a number of local ordinances imposing new mandates on employers who have employees working in the City. City lawmakers are at it again, this time concerning the issue of lactation accommodation in the workplace. Even though there are already state and federal laws requiring employers to provide lactation accommodations to nursing moms, San Francisco has (unnecessarily) adopted its own local ordinance on the topic. Under the local ordinance, which takes effect January 1, 2018, private employers who employ workers in the City of San Francisco (including part-time workers) are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time to any such worker for the purpose of expressing breast milk for the employee's child. The break time will run concurrently with any paid rest break time already required to be provided to the employee. However, if more break time is required for purposes of expressing milk, such break time may be unpaid.

Emeryville, California Adopts Rules Implementing Its Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave, and Hospitality Service Charge Ordinance

A little over two years after Emeryville, California’s Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave, and Other Employment Standards Ordinance took effect on July 2, 2015, the City Manager adopted implementing regulations. In many respects, the regulations codify positions the City historically took in its frequently asked questions (FAQ). For example, all hospitality service charge-related regulations were previously included in the FAQ. However, some regulations clarify or expand the ordinance’s requirements.

All Bets Are On in California? The Golden State’s Bid to Legalize Sports Gambling

If you’re gearing up for your fantasy football draft, you might be interested to know that the California Legislature is considering a proposal to legalize sports gambling. Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 18 is a resolution to amend the California Constitution (particularly, Section 19 of Article IV) to authorize the legislature to allow gambling on sports “only if a change in federal law occurs to authorize sports wagering in this state.”

Employers Lawfully May Prohibit Employees From Earning Vacation During Their First Year of Employment

California has a unique law regarding vacation benefits. Unlike the laws of many other states, California law requires an employee to be paid for all earned but unused vacation benefits at the time of termination of employment. California law thus prohibits “use it or lose it” policies and policies that otherwise provide for forfeiture of earned vacation benefits. That said, California law does not require employers to provide paid vacation benefits to employees, and employers generally are permitted to decide whether to provide paid vacation, how much to provide, and which employee classifications will be eligible for the benefit. Employers may impose reasonable “caps” on the maximum carryover and accrual of vacation benefits and may control the scheduling of vacations. Employers may also choose to pay out accrued, unused vacation benefits at the end of each year in lieu of allowing carryover of unused benefits. As long as an employer provides clear written notice of its vacation policy terms and conditions to employees, those terms generally will be enforced – as long as they do not provide for a forfeiture of earned vacation. This sounds simple enough, but sloppy drafting of a policy can lead to a claim that a policy operates to cause an illegal forfeiture of vacation benefits.

Top Ten List – Track These 10 Important Employment Bills as the California Legislative Year Comes to a Close

When the Legislature reconvenes from its summer recess on August 21, it will have only a few short weeks to finish work on legislation for this year. All bills must be passed and sent to Governor Brown by September 15, who will have until October 15 to sign or veto bills.

California Employers Face New Notice Requirement for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Time Off

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has published a new form that must be added to the growing list of documents that employers are required to provide to employees at the time of hire.

California’s Equal Restroom Access Act: 5 Facts You Need to Know

California’s Equal Restroom Access Act, which requires some establishments with single-occupancy restrooms to display signs indicating that the restroom is gender-neutral, has been in effect since March 1, 2017. Assembly Bill No. 1732 (AB 1732), which Governor Jerry Brown signed on September 29, 2016, requires these restrooms “to be identified as all-gender toilet facilities” and that the signs used to designate these restrooms comply with Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.

Hot List – Summer Recess Edition

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

California Employer Challenges Restrictive Covenant Use by Out-of-State Employers

Veeva Systems, a California-based, cloud-based software provider for the life sciences industries, has filed a claim in the superior court of California against three companies that use post-termination non-compete, confidentiality and nondisparagement clauses in employment agreements. Veeva alleges that those practices restrict fair competition and violate California law. The claims were filed against New York-based Medidata, Connecticut-based QuintilesIMS and New Jersey-based Sparta Systems. All three of these companies are rivals that have sought court orders against former employees seeking to work for Veeva, as well as filing claims against Veeva itself.

California Supreme Court Clarifies Discovery under PAGA

Emphasizing the broad right of discovery and the remedial nature of the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, the California Supreme Court has ruled that, in pretrial discovery, plaintiffs under PAGA has a right to employer records containing other employees’ names and contact information. Williams v. Marshalls of California, LLC, No. S227228 (July 13, 2017).

California Court Certifies FCRA Class of Over Forty Thousand Applicants

As Littler has reported, the number of class action lawsuits against employers alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has continued to spike. Most lawsuits proceed in federal court, but the FCRA allows plaintiffs to file in either federal or state court. On July 13, 2017, a class action was certified in state court in Los Angeles. The suit alleges violations of the FCRA’s disclosure and notice provisions. The state court judge did not decide any issues of liability, but rather that those questions can be decided in one proceeding on behalf of the class members. The court’s opinion serves as another reminder of the importance of vigilance with regard to FCRA compliance.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 7/17-7/21

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

Employers Litigating PAGA Actions Take Hit From California Supreme Court

In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled late last week that plaintiffs in lawsuits brought pursuant to the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) can seek the contact information for their fellow “aggrieved employees” at the outset of their lawsuit, without a showing of good cause for the potentially private information. As any employer who has faced a PAGA action knows, a list of contact information for all employees can be a treasure trove of information that should be protected from disclosure at all costs, so this decision could have serious repercussions.

California Supreme Court Gives PAGA Plaintiffs Broad Right to Contact Information; Recognizes Employee Burden to Show “Manageability”

On July 13, 2017, the Supreme Court of California issued a unanimous opinion in Williams v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Marshalls of CA, LLC), holding that a representative plaintiff in a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) case does not need to show good cause at the outset of litigation before the employer is required to produce the names and contact information of other allegedly aggrieved employees.

Endless Summer: California Municipalities Continue to Enact A Variety of Employment Laws

Beyond the labor and employment developments taking place at the state level in California, employers must keep an eye on breaking news at the local level as well.1 In recent years, municipalities up and down the coast have passed ordinances affecting employers, such as wage increases and scheduling ordinances. This article highlights some of the gnarliest laws that have been enacted, or are currently in the pipeline, in several major California cities.

Hot List - What's Happening in the California Legislature 7/10-7/14

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

California Wage/Hour Update (No. 3, July 2017)

There are a variety of situations that may require your employees to handle on-call shifts after finishing their regular shift, most commonly if you need to provide certain services at irregular frequencies and intervals.

Employment Law Goes Local – California Municipalities Regulate the Hiring and Scheduling of Workers

As workplace regulations spread among California cities, employers confront a tangled web of local rules – particularly those companies with operations in multiple locations. Addressing this compliance challenge with practical suggestions, Corinn Jackson with Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute (WPI) and Sacramento Shareholder Bruce Sarchet, also a member of the WPI team explore new regulations in Emeryville, San Jose, and San Francisco that mandate advance notice of work schedules and require offering additional work hours to part-time employees before hiring from the outside. Corinn and Bruce encourage employers to carefully evaluate whether the laws apply to their operations and, if so, provide training and guidance to supervisors and managers who will need to implement the requirements. Additionally, Bruce and Corinn note that ongoing monitoring of compliance will be critical, along with legal consultation.

California’s New Regulations Offer More Protection for Transgender Individuals

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has approved new regulations to protect transgender individuals, effective July 1, 2017.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 7/3-7/7

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

Are You Ready for Important California and City of Los Angeles Regulations Effective July 1, 2017?

Both California and the City of Los Angeles have enacted regulations effective July 1, 2017 governing employer use of applicant and employee criminal history in making employment decisions. Below we summarize these upcoming changes as well as the City of San Francisco’s ordinance already in effect.

An Insider’s Look at California’s New Gender Identity Regulations: Restroom Access, Pronoun Preference, and More

Regulations drafted by California's Fair Employment and Housing Council addressing issues related to gender identity will become effective July 1, 2017. These first-of-their-kind California regulations will seek to do what other council regulatory projects have also attempted to do: provide information beyond the legislative language and case law rulings that emphasizes California’s strong commitment to protecting employee rights while also providing guidelines for employers to comply with the law and provide a safe and fair workplace for all Californians.

FEHC Proposes New Regulations on National Origin Discrimination

There has been a lot of animated discussion in the news recently about immigration status, national security policy, and country of origin as these issues relate to federal policy. Think “travel ban” and “extreme vetting” – both new terms in our national lexicon. In addition to making for awkward dinner conversation, these topics also raise issues for employers as both state and federal law prohibit discrimination based on national origin.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 6/26-6/30

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

Do Read the Fine Print – California’s Recent Budget Makes a Number of Labor and Employment Policy Changes

Last week, (by their constitutional June 15 deadline) the California Legislature passed and sent to the Governor a $184.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2017-18. Most of the media attention focused on tobacco tax expenditures, efforts to reform the Board of Equalization, and an attempt to revise the election procedures to protect a sitting State Senator who is facing a recall effort.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 6/19-6/23

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

California Legislative Update: Several Labor and Employment Bills Passed in the Assembly

Several California labor and employment law bills passed in the state assembly or senate before the June 2, 2017, legislative deadline. The legislature now has until September 15, 2017, to pass these bills in the second house. Thereafter, the governor will have until October 15, 2017, to sign or veto any bills that pass in both houses.

California’s Fair Pay Laws Continue To Evolve

Ilyse Schuman, Co-Chair of Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute, talks with Sacramento Shareholder Bruce Sarchet about two new bills pending in the California legislature dealing with the concept of equal pay for equal work. One would prohibit employers from asking about salary history during the job application process, and another would require large employers to file reports regarding pay for men vs. pay for women. Bruce provides background on California’s current equal pay law, discusses national - as well as California state and local - legislative trends surrounding equal pay, and outlines potential future legal challenges.

Golden State Worriers: California Labor & Employment Bills to Watch

When it comes to legislation, for California employers it's the final countdown. June 2 was the last day for bills to pass out of their house of origin. September 15 is the deadline for these bills to pass both legislative houses, and the governor will have until October 15 to sign or veto bills. Generally, California laws take effect January 1 the following year. Below we briefly highlight notable pending Golden State labor and employment measures.

California Employers Will Soon See New Workplace Regulations Take Effect

In recent months, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) has finalized two new sets of regulations that will both go into effect on July 1, 2017. California employers should pay close attention to these new rules touching on criminal history use and transgender discrimination; you may need to adjust your policies and practices for compliance in the very near future.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 6/12-6/16

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

California Legislative Update

At the California Legislature, last Friday was the last day for bills to be passed out of their house of origin. As is usually the case in the Golden State, the bills that California’s legislators approved are largely bad for employers, with the helpful bills having been killed early on in committee. The bills that passed their house of origin are still far from becoming law (they still have to be passed by the second house and signed into law by the Governor), but they are on that path at this time. This post includes the list of bills moving on for consideration by the second house of the Legislature.

Sixth Circuit Joins Ninth and Seventh Circuits on Class Action Waivers

Last week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in NLRB v. Alternative Entertainment, Inc. holding that a mandatory employment arbitration agreement prohibiting class or collective claims violates the NLRA. With this holding, the Sixth Circuit is now aligned with the Ninth and Seventh Circuits, both of which issued similar decisions last year. The Second, Fifth, and Eighth Circuits, by contrast, have held that class and collective waivers in mandatory arbitration agreements do not violate the NLRA and are enforceable. In January of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review this issue and to resolve the Circuit split. Briefing is underway in the three consolidated cases before the Supreme Court. Briefing is currently scheduled to be completed in August, making oral argument likely in the fall, with a decision shortly thereafter. Given that the Supreme Court will be issuing the definitive answer on this issue in the near future, the timing of the Sixth Circuit's decision to enter the fray now (rather than staying its pending case) is odd to say the least. In any event, employers litigating in federal courts in states that are part of the Sixth Circuit (as well as the Ninth and Seventh Circuits) will not succeed in enforcing class or collective action waivers in mandatory employment arbitration agreements unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision confirming, once and for all, that such waivers do not violate the NLRA.

Assembly Bill 1008 is the Icing on the Cake for Proponents Seeking to Prevent Employers from Considering Criminal Convictions in the Hiring Process

Assembly Bill 1008 is making its way through the California legislature, after being passed in its amended form by the Committee on Appropriations on May 26, 2017. The Bill would repeal Labor Code section 432.9 and make it unlawful for an employer to include on an application for employment any question regarding the applicant’s criminal history or to inquire into an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant receives a conditional offer. The justification offered for the bill is that employment of formerly incarcerated individuals is essential to reintegrating them into society and reduces recidivism.

What California Bills Survived the Suspense File?

So which big labor and employment bills made the cut?

Emeryville Strikes Again: Another Employee-Friendly Ordinance to Take Effect

San Francisco’s notoriously employee-friendly ordinances continue to set the standard for its neighboring cities. Emeryville, which is across the bay from San Francisco and neighbors Oakland, recently passed a fair workweek ordinance that patterns itself off of San Francisco’s Retail Workers Bill of Rights. The Emeryville ordinance applies to larger retail and fast food employers, and has strict scheduling requirements as set forth below.

The Suspense is Killing Me! What Big Labor Bills Will Make it Off the Suspense File?

In the California Legislature, bills first are referred to the appropriate policy committee for hearing. Labor bills are referred to the Labor Committee, crime bills are referred to the Public Safety Committee, health bills are referred to the Health Committee. You get the picture.

Judge Flattens Tires on Uber Self-Driving Car Project Through Injunction And Other Orders

On February 23, 2017, Waymo (Google’s self-driving car subsidiary) sued Uber, under the DTSA in the Northern District of California, alleging that Waymo’s former star engineer, Anthony Levandowski, conspired with Uber to steal its trade secrets to allow Uber to make a technological leap forward on its self-driving car project. Early litigation has been complicated by a separate arbitration against Levandowski and Levandowski invoking his Fifth Amendment rights that stymied document production and discovery. This heavily litigated matter has over 447 separate docket entries since it was filed a couple of months ago.

Equal Pay Laws and Use of Prior Salary as a Justification for a Pay Disparity

The Ninth Circuit recently issued is decision in Rizo v. Yovino, reversing a district court ruling holding that an employer violated the federal Equal Pay Act through its bright-line policy of paying new employees 5% more than their prior salary. According to the district court (and the stated position of the EEOC), basing compensation on an applicant's prior compensation only serves to further historical wage disparity between men and women, and therefore violates the Equal Pay Act. The Ninth Circuit surprisingly (given its notoriously liberal bent) disagreed.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 5/15-5/19

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

California Supreme Court Clarifies “Day of Rest” Provisions

California employers can now schedule employees with more confidence when the press of business requires employees to work beyond their normal work schedule. The California Supreme Court has clarified California’s “day of rest” statute. The ruling affords employers flexibility in scheduling employees and clarifies some of the law’s ambiguities while leaving a few unanswered issues.

California Supreme Court’s “Day Of Rest” Ruling Puts Employers At Ease

In an unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court held today that California’s law requiring one day of rest in seven looks only at the employer’s defined workweek when determining the applicable period of time to be analyzed for compliance and liability purposes, and does not specifically require employers to provide one day of rest after six preceding calendar days of work. This decision is a big relief for those employers who schedule employees week-by-week without necessarily considering when the employees worked the previous week, outlining a clear and direct way that employers can comply with the state’s Labor Code.

California Employees May Work More Than Six Days in a Row, Court Rules

A California law guarantees employees a "day of rest" for each workweek. But that doesn't mean that employees are prohibited from working for more than six consecutive days, as long as those periods of work stretch across more than one workweek, a court has ruled.

California Supreme Court Clarifies Day of Rest Rules

Today, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, clarifying California's day of rest requirements. These requirements are set forth in Labor Code sections 551 and 552. Section 551 provides that “every person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven,” and Section 552 prohibits employers from "causing their employees to work more than six days in seven." However, Section 556 exempts employers from the duty to provide a day of rest “when the total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or six hours in any one day thereof.” While these provisions do not appear too complicated or hard to follow at first blush, compliance has been challenged in wage and hour litigation, raising several questions of what these provisions technically mean.

Temporary Relief? “Opportunity to Work” Bill Reportedly Shelved For Year

California employers may be able to breathe a sigh of relief – for now. One of the most controversial legislative proposals of the year – AB 5 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) – appears have been shelved for the year.

California Paid Sick Leave Update: Employer Attendance Policies May Interfere With Labor Code Rights

Many employers enforce attendance policies which assign an “occurrence” for unscheduled, unapproved absences. Although employers generally have discretion to implement attendance policies, such policies should be carefully crafted to avoid running afoul of antidiscrimination and antiretaliation provisions found in certain state and local paid sick leave laws

Refusing Employee’s Attempt to Rescind Resignation Was Not Actionable

In what appears to be an issue previously undecided under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), the Second District Court of Appeals in California held that an employer’s refusal to allow an at-will employee to rescind her resignation is not a proper basis for a disability discrimination lawsuit.

California's New Criminal Background Check Regulations to Go Into Effect July 1, 2017

Executive Summary: California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently enacted regulations that impose additional burdens on employers’ use of criminal background checks in employment decisions. The new regulations are expected to go into effect on July 1, 2017. The new regulations apply state-wide and, ultimately, will make it difficult for any employer in California to maintain no-hire policies for persons with criminal convictions.

Both the City of San Diego and the State of California “Clarify” Their Sick Leave FAQs

As we recently reported regarding the City of Los Angeles, both the City of San Diego and the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) have updated their “Frequently Asked Questions” (“FAQs”) related to the respective local and state sick leave requirements. Below are some of the more salient points from each.

New Regulations Further Limit Use of Criminal History for Employment Decisions

Effective July 1, 2017, new regulations will further limit employers’ ability to consider criminal history when making employment decisions.

What Factors Determine Whether California Law Applies to Nonresidents?

In deciding whether California's overtime laws apply to nonresident employees who spend full days or weeks working in the state, the California Supreme Court has previously held that the state's labor code applies to overtime work "performed in California." By focusing on the location of the work performed, the Supreme Court signaled the state's strong interest in enforcing its overtime laws for work performed within its borders without regard to either party's residence as controlling factors.

Employers Being Pulled Into Battle Between California and Federal Government Over Immigration Policy?

It is no secret that California lawmakers and the Trump administration do not agree on immigration policy. With the Trump administration stepping up enforcement efforts against illegal immigration, California is trying to thwart those efforts, including through a new bill that seeks to throw California employers into the crossfire. AB 450 (Chiu) would prohibit California employers from providing federal government enforcement agents access to worksites or to employment records (including I-9 forms) without a judicial warrant or subpoena. The bill would authorize the Labor Commissioner to recover civil penalties of between $10,000-$25,000 for employer violations of these requirements.

It’s April, and New Bills “Spring” Forth in the California Legislature

Ah, spring. Birds are chirping. Flowers are blooming. Backyard gardens are awaking from their long winter slumber.

The Heavy Burden of Light Duty in California: Court Assesses Multi-Million Dollar Disability Award

Many employers offer light duty programs to employees who are temporarily disabled. Reasonable accommodation obligations imposed by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) may come into play when administering such programs. A recent California appellate court case, Atkins v. City of Los Angeles, No. B257890 (February 14, 2017), provides important lessons regarding light duty accommodations for employers.

New Developments: Criminal History Regulations, Arbitration Ruling, and More

In the past several days, there have been a few different employment-related developments in California. In this blog, we highlight the Criminal History Regulations, California Supreme Court's Arbitration Ruling and Safeway Prevailing in Proving Assistant Managers Are Exempt from Overtime.

New Developments: Criminal History Regulations, Arbitration Ruling, and More

In the past several days, there have been a few different employment-related developments in California. Here are the highlights:

California Bill Puts Employers Smack in the Middle of National Immigration Debate

Since the election of President Trump, the California Legislature has been vocal and active in efforts to resist announced or anticipated actions of the Trump administration. This includes efforts to make California a “sanctuary state,” measures to protect California’s environmental standards, legislative resolutions and statements against the travel ban and other Trump proposals, and actions to provide services and support to immigrants in California.

City of Los Angeles Updates Paid Sick Leave Rules and FAQs

On March 14, 2017, with little to no fanfare, the City of Los Angeles Office of Wage Standards (OWS) revised its rules implementing the Minimum Wage Ordinance (MWO), which includes mandatory paid sick leave requirements. OWS also revised its frequently asked questions (FAQs). The revised FAQs provide that an employer’s business size is based on covered employees, i.e., individuals who perform at least two hours of work in a particular week within the City of Los Angeles and are entitled to the state minimum wage. Also, the revised FAQs specify that employers can use different sick leave methods for different employee classes, e.g., accrual-based system for part-time employees and frontloading for full-time employees. Per the revised FAQs, at the end of each year, employers—at their discretion—can pay out accrued but unused sick leave that exceeds the 72-hour overall cap.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 3/27-3/31

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

Is This The Year for Real PAGA Reform? – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Over the last several years, the level of employer complaints about PAGA has reached a deafening crescendo. For some time now, employers have expressed deep concern about abusive litigation tactics and “extortionate” PAGA claims over very minor violations. Unfortunately, these concerns have largely fallen on deaf ears in Sacramento, with only incremental changes to the law.

California Legislative Watch: New Employment Bills

Each legislative session, there are a number of employment-related bills introduced -- some of which are helpful for California employers (and almost always get killed in committee early on) and others which are bad for California employers. This blog includes a list of notable bills that have been introduced this session.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 3/20-3/24

Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 3/13-3/17

As the 2017-18 legislative session gets underway in California, policy committees are beginning to hear and vote on bills – including numerous proposals that impact California employers.

Don’t Assume PAGA Claims Are Not Arbitrable: Ninth Circuit Reverses District Court Order Denying Motion To Compel Arbitration of PAGA Claim

On March 3, 2013, in an unpublished decision in Valdez v. Terminix International Company Limited Partnership, Case No.15-56236, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a District Court order denying defendant Terminix International Company Limited Partnership’s (Terminix) motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff Palcido Valdez’s (Valdez) claim for penalties for violation of the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, Labor Code section 2698 et seq. (PAGA).

California’s Legislative Approach To Regulating The Sharing Economy: Regroup

The month of February and its immediate aftermath is always an exciting time for California legislation. That’s the month when legislators submit all of the new bills that will be sought for passage in the state legislature, and gives a clear window into what could be coming down the turnpike in new laws in the years to come. Some bills are proposed time and time again, only to be lost in committee or vetoed, but still showing up again the following year. Others disappear entirely. Some pass or fail, and cause shockwaves in the legislative landscape.

Privacy and Information Security a Top Priority in California under Xavier Becerra

Governor Jerry Brown’s selection of Congressman Xavier Becerra to succeed (now Senator) Kamala Harris as the new Attorney General of California was a surprising move that brings into power in California a seasoned advocate of the economic prosperity of California, but one without a clear track record of privacy law enforcement. Mr. Becerra comes back to California after serving on the powerful House Ways and Means committee, and comes from a background of protecting social security, first and foremost, but also brings with him a strong track record of paying close attention to issues affecting California’s largest economic sectors, including technology, healthcare, and the entertainment industry.

Three Labor and Employment Issues to Watch Under the Trump Administration

Three of the top labor and employment law issues to watch in the beginning of the Trump administration include: (1) the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) minimum salary requirements for overtime compensation; (2) mandatory, federal paid maternity leave; and (3) more rigorous state and local laws in the labor and employment arena.

Trio of Bills Would Impose Human Trafficking Obligations on Lodging Industry

A trio of bills introduced recently in the California Legislature seek to involve the lodging industry in efforts to combat human trafficking.

Los Angeles Issues Rules and Regulations Implementing ‘Ban the Box’ Legislation

The Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance (“FCIHO”) went into effect on January 22, 2017. The Bureau of Contract Administration (BCA), the Designated Administrative Agency responsible for enforcing the Ordinance, has issued “Rules and Regulations” (“Regulations”) for the FCIHO. These are published on the BCA’s Office of Contract Compliance/Equal Employment Opportunity website. (For detailed analysis of the Ordinance’s requirements, see our article, Los Angeles Enacts ‘Ban the Box’ Legislation.)

California Adopts Broad Gender-Neutral Bathroom Rules–Signage Rules Expand Beyond ADA Concerns

Effective March 1, California’s Equal Restroom Access Act (ERAA) will require some single-occupancy restrooms to have signs indicating they are gender-neutral.

California Legislative Update: 2017–18 Session Sees Several Employment-Related Bills

The California legislature is off to a quick start with a large number of labor and employment law proposals. Currently, 71 bills propose to amend the California Labor Code, and several additional bills seek to modify antidiscrimination laws. Democrats not only control both the California State Senate and Assembly, but gained a supermajority with the power to override a gubernatorial veto in the last election. Party leaders have pledged to fight and counteract any changes in policy on the federal level. It seems that the time is ripe for a progressive labor agenda.

Airline Industry Alert: California Court Upholds RLA Exemption to State Wage and Hour Law

Executive Summary: In a complete reversal of its earlier decision, a California federal judge held that employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) entered into in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Labor Act (RLA) are exempt from California’s statutory overtime requirements. The district court’s holding affirms the validity of a longstanding exemption applicable to the air and rail transportation industry.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: A Quick Primer On Proposed California Employment Legislation In 2017

With the February 17 deadline to introduce bills in the California Legislature having come and gone, now is a good opportunity to take stock of what the coming year portends for labor and employment legislation in California. In short, the message for California employers is: “hang on – it’s going to be an interesting ride.”

California Employers Are Subject to New Requirements When Using Criminal History Information

In April 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its long-awaited “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” (2012 Guidance). The 2012 Guidance does not prohibit employers from using criminal records, but outlines best practices that the EEOC advises employers to follow, including a recommendation that employers, among other things: (1) remove from employment applications the question that asks job applicants to self-disclose their criminal record; (2) not make an employment decision based solely on the fact of an arrest record; and (3) conduct an “individualized assessment” before rejecting an applicant or terminating an employee because of a conviction.

Governor Brown’s Proposed 2017-18 Budget – What Do Employers Need to Know?

Last month, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed state budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. This move represents only the opening salvo in a months-long budget negotiation that will occur over the next six months between the Governor and the Legislature. The Governor will release a revised budget proposal in May, and the final budget will be negotiated and voted upon by June 15, 2017.

CBA Arbitration Provision Does Not Cover Wage and Hour Claims, Court Holds

This week, a California Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Vasserman v. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, rejecting the hospital’s appeal of a trial court order denying its motion to compel the plaintiff to arbitrate wage and hour claims she brought against the hospital. The court acknowledged that the applicable collective bargaining agreement included a provision requiring arbitration of claims arising under the agreement, but held that it was not “clear and unmistakeable” from this provision that the parties intended to waive a judicial forum for claims based on statute (i.e. meal and rest breaks, overtime). As such, the plaintiff could not be required to arbitrate her wage and hour claims.

Final FEHC Criminal History Regulations Approved, Move One Step Closer to Implementation

On January 10th, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) approved proposed regulations related to employer use of criminal history information. The regulations will be filed with the Office of Administrative Law and will likely go into effect July 1, 2017.

California Employers Beware: Your Employee May Be A “Private Attorney General”

In just the last two years, there has been an explosion in the number of claims being brought against California employers under the state’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).

California Court Rules Sarbanes-Oxley Preempts California Law Regarding Privileged Communications in Suit by Former In-House Counsel

By determining that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX” or the “Act”) preempts California’s ethical rules, the Northern District of California ruled that an in-house attorney can rely on privileged communications and confidential information to the extent they are reasonably necessary to assert a claim or defense. Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 3:15-cv-02356 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2016).

2017 Is Still Young, But California Legislative Proposals Are Already Here

Although we have barely scratched the surface on 2017, the California Legislature is already active on the labor and employment front, with a number of new (or not so new) proposals being introduced in the first weeks of the legislative session.

Labor Code Section 925: Answers to 10 Key Questions About California’s New Limits on Out-of-State Choice of Law and Forum Selection Clauses

On January 1, 2017, California Labor Code Section 925 went into effect. This new provision limits an employer’s ability to require employees to enter agreements that include out-of-state choice of law and/or forum selection clauses. Below are 10 questions about the new law and the answers every employer should know.

Santa Monica Employers Ring in the New Year With Paid Sick Leave

In January of 2016, the Santa Monica City Council adopted an ordinance that would both raise the city’s minimum wage and impose paid sick leave requirements—in addition to those imposed by the state’s paid sick leave statute—on employers. The ordinance was initially scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016. However, a subsequent amendment to the ordinance changed the effective date of the paid sick leave provisions to January 1, 2017.

The “Opposite of Work”: California Supreme Court Issues On-Call Rest Break Ruling

On December 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of California ruled that California law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest periods. According to the court, “[d]uring required rest periods, employers must relieve their employees of all duties and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.” Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., No. S224853, Supreme Court of California (December 22, 2016).

Los Angeles Passes Rigid “Ban the Box” Law

On December 9, 2016, the City of Los Angeles enacted the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring (LAFCIH), a “ban the box” law that is expected to go into effect on January 22, 2017, with monetary fines effective July 1, 2017. The ordinance (1) greatly restricts criminal history inquiries by employers on Los Angeles applicants, (2) creates a new “fair chance” pre-adverse action process, and (3) catapults Los Angeles to the vanguard of local jurisdictions, like New York City and Philadelphia, with the nation’s toughest ban the box restrictions.

Are You Ready? City of Santa Monica’s Sick Leave Provisions Become Effective January 1, 2017

Are you sick of sick leave yet?

Los Angeles’ “Ban the Box” Ordinance Signed Into Law

On December 9, 2016, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the “Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring,” the “Ban the Box” ordinance that bars certain City of Los Angeles employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history. Ban the Box goes into effect January 1, 2017, and Los Angeles becomes the fifteenth locality in the nation to adopt it. The ordinance will be codified as Article 9 to Chapter 18 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code and can be found here.

Are You Ready for California’s Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Rule?

By April 1, 2017, all employers in California operating in the following areas will be required to comply with Section 3342, the Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care rule: health care facilities; home health care programs; drug treatment programs; emergency medical services; and outpatient medical services to correctional and detention settings. This rule is far more expansive than Federal OSHA’s guidelines for the Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care settings.

“Opportunity to Work” Ordinance Imposes New Burdens on San Jose Employers

On November 8, 2016, San Jose residents passed Measure E, known as the “Opportunity to Work” Ordinance. The Ordinance, which becomes effective on March 13, 2017, requires employers with 36 or more employees to offer additional work hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new employees (whether part-time, temporary, and/or through a staffing agency) or contractors, even when the hiring need is occasioned by the departure of an existing employee. One of the expressed intentions of the Ordinance is to prevent employers from hiring part-time workers in an effort to avoid providing health care and other employment-related benefits. However, the practical effects of this Ordinance will be to reduce employment opportunities for companies and industries that may be seasonal, and reduce flexibility of employers to meet customer demands.

Los Angeles Enacts ‘Ban the Box’ Legislation

Los Angeles is the latest in a growing list of jurisdictions to adopt an ordinance restricting employers from asking a job applicant about his or her criminal history during the application process. Under the Ordinance, private employers with at least 10 employees will be barred from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.

What Can We Expect From California's Upcoming 2017-2018 Legislative Session?

With the dust still settling from last month's unprecedented presidential election, California’s politicians have not stood still. In partisan terms, the election results in California could not be more different from that of the rest of the United States. Hillary Clinton received the votes of 62% of California’s voters; President-elect Donald Trump received 32%, with a 4.3 million-vote margin for Clinton in the Golden State. The most recently reported national percentages were 48% for Clinton, 46% for Trump, with a 2.6 million vote margin for Clinton.

LA Doesn’t Just Ban The Box, It Gives It The Boot

Los Angeles just joined the ranks of other cities like San Francisco and New York City by enacting its own ban-the-box ordinance, prohibiting private employers from inquiring about criminal convictions during the application process.

2017 California Legislative Roundup for Employers

Each year we prepare a summary of key legislative changes in the California labor and employment arena, along with some guidance on how to prepare for their implementation in 2017.

An Early Holiday Boost to Low-Wage Silicon Valley Workers?: San José Passes “Opportunity to Work” Ordinance and Accelerates The City’s Minimum Wage Increase

The New Year will bring significant changes to the local employment laws affecting Silicon Valley-area employers, with measures aimed at reducing the expansion of the part-time workforce and increasing the minimum wage.

Los Angeles Poised to Ban the Box For Most Private Employers

The Los Angeles City Council has overwhelmingly approved a "ban the box" ordinance prohibiting any employer in the city with 10 or more employees from asking about a prospective employee's criminal history until a conditional employment offer has been made. The ordinance also would apply to city contractors and employment agencies.

California Corner: New Laws Prompt Crucial Review

The California legislature has been busy of late, passing a series of new laws that will likely prompt employers to review and revise their employment agreements, reassess their strategies with respect to sexual harassment claim litigation and reevaluate certain pay practices.

Impact of President Trump Likely Limited for California Employers

The new president will likely bring substantial shifts in federal government policy, but California employers will be less affected by the changes because California has so many of its own employment laws. Here are some predictions regarding how California employers might be affected by potential changes in the law under President Trump.

Senate Bill 1241: New Legislation Requiring Employment Disputes to be Adjudicated in California Under California Law

It is common practice for employers to utilize forum selection and choice of law provisions in employment agreements in order to require employees to have employment-related disputes adjudicated outside of California and/or under the law of a state other than California.

Impacts of Proposition 64 on California Employers

California voters have decided on a number of important Propositions yesterday. Of the Propositions receiving majority support, California employers may particularly wonder about the potential impacts of Proposition 64, which will legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

California Passes Law Expanding I-9 Controls

An amendment to California law expands state prohibitions against “unfair immigration-related practices” related to the hiring of foreign nationals. SB-1001 goes into effective on January 1, 2017.

SB 1241: Forum Selection and Choice of Law Clauses The Long Arm of California Law Just Got Longer

For employers with California employees, there seems to be no way to avoid California’s complicated and protective employment laws, and things just got a bit more complicated.

New Background Check Requirements for California Transportation Network Companies

Effective January 1, 2017, drivers participating with a Transportation Network Company (TNC) in California will be subject to mandatory criminal background checks, regardless of whether a driver is considered an employee or an independent contractor. California Governor Jerry Brown approved Assembly Bill 1289 on September 28, 2016. The new law adds Section 5445.2 to the Public Utilities Code, which regulates TNCs.

California’s Fall Legislation Report: A Rundown of the Most Significant New Employment Laws

The California legislature and governor showed no signs of slowing down this year and enacted a long list of new employment laws. Below is a list of the most significant laws affecting private sector employers.

The Workplace Policy Institute’s California Legislative Update

On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, the WPI gave a one-hour review of the year’s major California employment laws affecting private-sector employers.

California Legislative Update: Employment-Related Bills Signed and Vetoed by Governor

As previously reported, September 30 was the last day for Governor Brown to sign or veto bills passed by the California legislature this session. This blog covers the final report on bills that were signed into law and vetoed.

California Expands Data Breach Notification Law

California’s data breach notification law is already considered the most stringent in the United States. Based on a new amendment recently signed into law, the law will soon get even tougher.

California Legislative Update: Which Bills Made the Final Cut?

Although the California Legislature sent Governor Jerry Brown bills on bed bugs, powdered alcohol, and making denim the official state fabric, the laws enacted in 2016 affecting the state’s private-sector employers were decidedly less exotic.

California Wage/Hour Update (No. 4, October 2016)

Perhaps no field of class action litigation in California is more fraught with complex certification issues than determining whether the administrative exemption applies to network, internet, and database administrators or related positions in IT departments.

Avoid These Common Mistakes in Classifying Workers

The Department of Labor (DOL) has made it clear. Regardless of the reason, classification errors can be costly for employers, as the error often affects a number of employees having similar job titles and therefore lends itself to class treatment of the claim. Furthermore, if you are on the unlucky end of a DOL audit, you will likely be stuck paying payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, overtime, as well as a host of fines, fees and other costs.

Farmworkers’ “Phase-In” Overtime Bill Officially Sprouts

Much like the agricultural harvest cycles it may affect, September 12, 2016, marks the planting season for the Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016.

San Diego Issues Required Postings, Acknowledgement Form under Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance

The City of San Diego’s Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect on July 11, 2016. Beginning October 1, 2016, employers must post two new notices in the workplace and give employees and new hires a notice containing certain employer information. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in significant civil penalties.

California Court Finds That Discretionary Clauses in Health Insurance Policies Are Enforceable

In 2011, the California legislature passed Insurance Code Section 10110.6 which bans the use of discretionary clauses in any policy, contract, certificate, or agreement offered, issued, delivered, or renewed, whether or not in California, that provides or funds life insurance or disability insurance coverage. The district courts in California have enthusiastically enforced this ban, holding that discretionary clauses are unenforceable in group insurance policies and self-funded employee welfare benefit plans that provide disability benefits.

California Legislative Update: It's Now Up To The Governor

The California Legislature completed its substantive legislative work for the year in the very early morning hours of Thursday, September 1, 2016, with the usual frenetic, last-minute flurry of bill-passing, including some bills that had been amended at the end of August.

Berkeley Enacts California’s Newest Local Paid Sick Leave Law

On August 31, 2016, the City of Berkeley, California joined the long list of local jurisdictions to create a local sick leave law when it enacted the “Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.” Berkeley also amended its minimum wage law1 and codified a new law concerning hospitality service charges. The Ordinance appears to be an effort by the Berkeley City Council to control the paid sick leave debate because two competing ballot measures – one proposed by advocates and another by the city – will appear on the upcoming November ballot.2 Whether this move is a coup de grace or merely the first strike in a prolonged legal battle over which law controls remains to be seen. Until voters weigh in, the Ordinance will be the applicable law employers are required to comply with when it becomes operative on October 1, 2017.3

California Launches Online System for Reporting Labor Law Violations

California's Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and its Division of Labor Standards Enforcement have launched an online system for reporting labor law violations. The agency anticipates the system will provide "real time leads on businesses that are breaking labor laws."

California Legislative Update: Bills on Governor’s Desk for Signature or Veto

Throughout the year, we’ve reported on various employment-related bills being considered by the California legislature. The 2016 legislative session came to a close yesterday, so we are now reporting on the final status of bills that were passed by both houses and have now been sent to the Governor for either approval or veto. The Governor has until September 30, 2016 to approve or veto these bills.

Patchwork of Laws Makes Employee Classification Harder Than Ever for California Employers

Employee classification has always been difficult for employers in California due to differences between California law and federal law.

San Diego Sick Leave Amendments: Cure for or Cause of Employer Ills?

San Diego’s Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance has been amended less than two months after its July 11, 2016 effective date.1 The amendments, instituted via the oddly-titled “Implementing Ordinance,” plug gaps the original law created, create an administrative enforcement system for receiving and resolving complaints, and impose additional obligations that require employers to review and potentially revise their notices, policies, and procedures. Below we briefly summarize the amendments, which will take effect September 2, 2016.2

California's Recreational Marijuana Initiative Is Not Expected To Impact Employer Workplace Drug Policies

California may be the next state to join Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Oregon and Washington in legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana. On November 8, 2016, California voters will decide whether to approve Proposition 64, the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (the Act), which would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. If voters approve the Act, however, it is not expected to interfere with the right or ability of California employers to implement and enforce their workplace drug policies, including drug-testing policies.

California Fair Employment & Housing Council Considers Proposed (and Recently Amended) Rules to Restrict Employer Use of Criminal History

In April 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its long-awaited “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” (2012 Guidance). The updated guidance does not prohibit employers from using criminal records, but outlines what the EEOC considers recommended best practices, including a recommendation that employers, among other things: (1) remove from employment applications the question that asks job applicants to self-disclose their criminal record; (2) not make an employment decision based solely on the fact of an arrest record; and (3) conduct an “individualized assessment” before rejecting an applicant or terminating an employee because of a conviction.

Recreational Marijuana Placed on California November Ballot

Voters will have the opportunity this coming November to determine whether California joins a growing number of states that have legalized recreational marijuana. If so, what would this mean for employers?

California Supreme Court: Arbitrator Decides Whether Class Claims Are Permissible

There has been much litigation over the issue of whether an employment arbitration agreement validly may include a provision requiring the employee to waive class claims. It is well-established now that these waivers are, in fact, valid. However, not all agreements contain language explicitly stating that the employee is permitted to bring claims on a class basis. Where the agreement is silent on the issue, it becomes an issue of contract interpretation but this scenario generally supports a finding that class arbitration is impermissible because the parties did not clearly agree to it. Nonetheless, this does not stop plaintiffs’ lawyers from bringing class claims, typically in court.

California Legislative Update: Heading Into The 2016 Session's Final Month

The California Legislature will return from its July recess on August 1, and will devote that month to final consideration of legislation for 2016.

A Bump in the Road for California’s Piece Rate Employers

On Monday, July 25, 2016, the Fresno County Superior Court denied a request to postpone the deadline for qualified employers to notify the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) of their election to participate in the affirmative defense, also known as the “safe harbor” provision, set forth in Labor Code §226.2. The request would have also extended the December 15, 2016 deadline to make back payments to current and former employees for rest and recovery periods and nonproductive time.

San Diego City Council Amends Local Sick Pay Law

On July 26, the San Diego City Council ratified a minimum wage and sick pay ordinance approved by voters on June 7. Effective as of July 11, the ordinance imposes a citywide minimum wage rate and also obligates businesses to provide sick pay benefits to employees. As amended, the ordinance will allow employers to front load an annual sick pay allotment and also place a cap on accrual. Employers with workforces in San Diego will want to immediately update their pay practices and sick pay policies.

Department of Justice, California Employer Reach Non-Prosecution Agreement over Potential Criminal Violations of Immigration Laws

Gridley, California-based natural food company Mary’s Gone Crackers Inc. agreed and consented to payment of $1.5 million and establishment of a corporate compliance program under a non-prosecution agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California on July 19, 2016. The agreement requires the company to establish a corporate compliance program covering its I-9 procedures and its E-verify system, in addition to requiring complete disclosure of immigration violations within 24 hours of discovery.

DFEH Now Authorized To File Civil Suits On Behalf Of Victims Of Human Trafficking

On July 7, 2016, Assembly Bill No. 1684 (“AB1684”)[1], introduced in support California’s anti- human trafficking laws, passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives and was ordered enrolled.

San Diego’s New Sick Leave Ordinance Is In Effect, And Fixes Are Imminent

On Monday, July 11, the San Diego City Council certified the Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance passed by voters last month and also passed amendments to the Ordinance. We published a summary of the law when it was passed by the voters last month. Fortunately, the amendments address many of the questions left unanswered by the original bill. Unfortunately, some of the amendments also include increased penalties.

Implementing Los Angeles’ Minimum Wage And Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The City of Los Angeles Office of Wage Standards (OWS) recently issued regulations providing clarification to the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance that went into effect on July 1, 2016. Last month, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the Ordinance into law leaving employers with only a few weeks to coordinate their compliance efforts. The OWS’ regulations appear to bridge the gap and provide employers with necessary guidance and clarity in light of the increasing uncertainty regarding three key areas in the Ordinance.

Procrastinators Rejoice! Employers Handed Extra Time To File Safe Harbor Election Imposed By New Piece Rate Law

Right before the holiday weekend, a Fresno County Superior Court judge handed California employers some good news by issuing a temporary restraining order in the case of Nisei Farmers League v. California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, et al. The court’s June 30 decision eliminates the July 1, 2016 deadline which had been in place for qualified employers to notify the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) of their election to participate in the affirmative defense (also known as the “safe harbor” provision) set forth in Labor Code §226.2.

PAGA Amendments Enacted as Part of California Budget Bill

On June 27, 2016, SB 836, a 96-page budget trailer bill, was signed into law. Sections 189-191 of this bill amend California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) (Labor Code sections 2699 et seq.) effective immediately. The changes are as follows:

California Court of Appeal Finds Fact Investigation by Outside Counsel is Privileged

Executive Summary: In City of Petaluma v. Superior Court (Andrea Waters), the California Court of Appeal recently held that outside counsel's fact investigation of an employee's harassment and discrimination claims conducted prior to litigation was protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine. Further, the employer's assertion of the avoidable consequences defense (i.e., that the employer took reasonable steps to prevent and correct harassment, but the employee failed to use those measures) in a subsequent lawsuit did not waive the privilege as to a post-employment investigation.

REMINDER: City of San Francisco Minimum Wage Increases to $13 Per Hour on July 1, 2016

Effective this Friday, July 1, 2016, employees working at least two hours in a workweek in the City of San Francisco must be paid at least $13.00 for each hour worked. The new $13 hourly rate is an increase from $12.25 per hour.

California’s Recreational Marijuana Initiative

In California, signatures are being gathered in support of the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Initiative.” The initiative is likely to qualify for the November 2016 ballot and, if passed by the voters, could legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California. In this podcast, Bruce Sarchet, Littler Mendelson Shareholder, explains the current status of California law in this area, the impact of Federal law, and the steps which employers can take now to prepare for this potential change in California.

California PAGA Amendments Will Expand Labor Officials’ Involvement in PAGA Claims

On June 15, 2016, the California Legislature approved Governor Jerry Brown’s budget. As part of the budget, the Legislature passed SB 836. Included as part of this 96-page budget “trailer bill” are a number of amendments to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

Los Angeles Approves Minimum Wage Increases and Mandates Employers to Provide 48 Hours of Paid Sick Leave

Los Angeles Approves Minimum Wage Increases and Mandates Employers to Provide 48 Hours of Paid Sick Leave

Los Angeles One-Two Punch: Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Changes Go Into Effect in July

Los Angeles is once again in the spotlight as it implements changes in its laws that will impact many of its employers and their employees beginning July 1, 2016. On June 1, 2016, the City Council passed the Los Angeles Minimum Wage Ordinance (No. 184320), adopting both new minimum wage rules and paid sick leave benefits applicable to all employees who perform at least two hours of work in a particular week within the geographic boundaries of the City of Los Angeles. Many employers will have recently implemented new paid sick leave policies in compliance with the state law. But employers of 26 or more employers may need to pull out their handbooks once again and revise their policies—while also providing wage increases to their minimum wage earners effective July 1, 2016.

City of Los Angeles Doubles Employees' Sick Leave Entitlement Effective July 1, 2016

Like its neighbor Santa Monica and other major California cities including San Francisco and Oakland, the City of Los Angeles approved its own sick leave entitlement ordinance on June 2, 2016. The Los Angeles Ordinance (“Ordinance”) will provide employees working in the City of Los Angeles with the ability to accrue and use up to 48 hours of sick leave, twice the amount provided by state law. Enacted as an urgency matter, the new sick leave obligations become effective for employers on July 1, 2016, less than 30 days after being signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Voters Approve Paid Sick Leave Changes in San Diego and San Francisco

After enduring years of drought, California employers find themselves in a phenomenon of equal concern: a cruel summer. In the span of one month, two new local paid sick leave laws were signed and amendments to two existing local measures were approved. On May 10, 2016, Santa Monica amended its law, about two months shy of its scheduled operative date.

Los Angeles Implements Paid Sick Leave Policy That Doubles State Mandate

On June 1, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council finalized the City’s paid sick leave ordinance. Effective July 1, 2016, Los Angeles employers with 26 or more employees must provide employees with paid sick leave benefits, while employers with fewer than 26 employees must do so as of July 1, 2017.

San Diego Voters Approve Minimum Wage and Sick Pay Measure

Voters in the city of San Diego overwhelmingly supported a June 7 ballot measure that imposes a citywide minimum wage and also obligates businesses to provide sick pay benefits to employees. Employers with workforces in San Diego will want to immediately update their pay practices and sick pay policies.

California Legislative Update—Employment Bills That Failed Passage and Those That Are Still Alive

In the California legislative process, June 3, 2016 was the last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house. On March 22, 2016, we reported on notable employment-related bills that had been introduced. Here is an update on the bills that failed passage in their house of origination, and an update on the bills passed their house of origination and have moved forward to the other house for consideration:

City of Los Angeles Approves Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The Los Angeles City Council has passed a paid sick leave ordinance, which is slated to go into effect July 1, 2016 in conjunction with the previously passed minimum wage ordinance. The sick leave ordinance will require employers in the City of Los Angeles to provide paid sick leave benefits that exceed the benefits already mandated by California state law

California Legislative Update

The California legislature has reached the midpoint of its 2016 legislative session. The Governor has signed four bills of significance to California private sector employers. In addition, a few dozen workplace-related bills have moved beyond their initial policy committees, and many have passed their house of origin and proceeded to consideration in the other legislative chamber. Major bills still in process would change private arbitration of employment disputes, and would create predictive scheduling requirements for some employees working on a shift basis.

California Legislative Update: What State Law Changes Should Employers Anticipate?

California lawmakers have proposed a number of employment and labor law bills during the current legislative session. Most significantly, Senate Bill 3, the bill to increase California’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022, passed and was signed into law on April 4, 2016. Below is a list of other significant California bills.

Starting July 1, 2016, Employees in Los Angeles Get Three Additional Days of Paid Sick Leave and $10.50 Per Hour

Executive Summary: On April 19, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposed ordinance that would permit Los Angeles workers to earn at least six paid sick leave days annually. That is double the mandatory minimum under California's state-wide paid sick leave law.

Combining 10-Minute Rest Breaks May—or May Not—Be Lawful in California

When must rest breaks occur, and may a company allow employees to combine their rest breaks with other breaks? California’s nuanced meal and rest break rules have spawned an endless cycle of litigation, and as a recent appellate court case illustrates, the rules remain imprecise.

California Ruling on Website Accessibility Highlights the Need for Proactive Measures

Any business operating a website for use by customers or other members of the public should take heed of a recent California decision that found a retailer liable for violations of federal and state disability access laws based on a disabled individual’s inability to navigate a website using a screen reader program.

WHAT’S ON YOUR WAGE STATEMENTS?

California has many requirements for the content of an employee wage statement, including this year’s new requirements for employees paid by a piece rate. Employees paid by piece rates must be separately compensated for rest and recovery periods and, where the employee does not earn at least minimum wage in addition to the piece rate, must be separately paid for non-productive time. The amount of time for these periods, the applicable rates of pay, and gross wages for these periods is required to be on the wage statement.

Paid Sick Leave Expanding into Los Angeles and Chicago

mployers in Los Angeles and Chicago may need to comply with new sets of paid sick leave rules based on proposed amendments to local minimum wage ordinances. Paid leave expansion in these municipalities is part of a larger, national trend, with California employers experiencing a particularly eventful year. The increase in paid sick leave protections has been checked by a rise in state preemption legislation and by the vocal opposition of prominent business groups, often representing small employers or certain affected industries.

California Appeals Court Provides Guidance on the Use of Electronic Signatures by Employees

In many companies, new employees sign key documents and policies—including arbitration agreements—with the use of electronic signatures. There has been a growing trend in litigation brought by former employees to challenge these signatures as inauthentic in response to employers’ motions to compel arbitration of the employees’ lawsuits. These challenges are based on employees’ claims that they either did not sign the agreement or that they can’t remember ever having seen the agreement and, if they had, that they would never have signed it. Many judges have been taking these challenges seriously and requiring employers to respond through extensive briefing and evidentiary hearings to authenticate the employee signatures.

The New California Regulations Part IV: Support Animals in the Workplace

The California Office of Administrative Law recently approved regulations drafted by the California Fair Employment and Housing Council. These new regulations, covering the entire gamut of employment law topics within the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), went into effect on April 1, 2016.

California FEHA Forecast: Evidence of Pretext Required in Anti-SLAPP Case Against TV Stations

On January 19, 2016, a California Court of Appeal issued an unpublished decision in Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc. The case was brought by Kyle Hunter, who filed an employment discrimination complaint, claiming that two local CBS television stations, KCAL and KCBS, had “repeatedly shunned [him] for numerous on-air broadcasting positions . . . due to . . . his gender and his age.” He asserted that CBS’s failure to hire him was part of “[a] plan to turn prime time weather broadcasting over to younger attractive females” in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

All in the Family: California Court Holds Employers Have to Accommodate Disability of Employee's Family Member

A California Court of Appeal for the first time has decided that an employer has a duty to reasonably accommodate an applicant or employee who is associated with a disabled person who needs the employee’s assistance.1 This holding in Luis Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express is unprecedented and likely to be appealed to the California Supreme Court. Until there is a definite ruling on this issue from the California’s highest court, employers should consider engaging in an interactive process analysis even when confronted with a situation where somebody is asking for a reasonable accommodation arising out of an “associated party’s” disability.

California Supreme Court Interprets Suitable Seating Requirements

Today, the California Supreme Court provided guidance that had been requested by the Ninth Circuit regarding California’s suitable seating requirements in two different cases -- Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy and Henderson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank (both pending before the Ninth Circuit). The Ninth Circuit certified the following questions to the California Supreme Court relating to the California Wage Order provision (Section 14(A) of various Wage Orders) stating that “all working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats:"

California Supreme Court Takes a Stand on Employers' Obligations to Provide Seating

On April 4, 2016, the Supreme Court of California ruled on employers’ obligations, under certain circumstances, to provide seating for employees under Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7-2001, which states that “[a]ll working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” The court addressed three primary questions in the case: how expansively “nature of the work” should be interpreted, how courts should decide whether the nature of the work “reasonably permits” sitting, and whether a worker must prove that a suitable seat was available and was not provided in order to show that the employer violated the seating provision.

California Employers: New Requirements Go Into Effect Today. Is Your Harassment/Discrimination Policy Ready?

On April 1, 2016, recent changes by the California Fair Employment and Housing Council to the regulations implementing the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) take effect. Among the changes are an expanded training requirement, whereby employers are required to train employees on “abusive” conduct and sexual harassment, and new requirements for the components of a policy to prevent such behavior.

California Lawmakers Approve $15 Minimum Wage

Early this week we reported on a "deal" reached between labor unions, certain democratic lawmakers, and the California Governor to increase California's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. Yesterday, California's Assembly and Senate both voted to approve the bill, largely along partisan lines. All but two democrats (Assembly members Tom Daly and Adam Gray) voted in favor of the bill. No Republicans in either house voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed by a vote of 48-26 in the Assembly and by a vote of 26-12 in the Senate. The bill is now on Governor Brown's desk for consideration. Governor Brown has already announced that he will sign the bill into law on Monday. [Unfortunately, this is not an April Fools joke.]

March Madness: Pending California Employment Bills

Curious what the California Legislature is up to this legislative session? As is the case every year, there are several employment-related bills that have been proposed and are pending. As is also the case virtually every year, most of the proposed bills are bad for employers.

The New California Regulations, Part I: Preventing and Correcting Wrongful Behavior

California’s Office of Administrative Law approved regulations drafted by the California Fair Employment and Housing Council. These new regulations, covering the entire gamut of employment law topics within the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), touch on almost every aspect of employment law and will go into effect on April 1, 2016.

California Corner: Things You Need to Know in 2016

With the new year underway, California employers are no doubt busy reviewing their policies to keep up with the state's new labor and employment laws. As many laws have expanded the scope of risk, we recommend that all California employers consult with experienced employment counsel to ensure compliance. Below are several important new laws employers should be aware of in 2016.

Assembly Bill Proposes An Eight Hour Workday and Forty Hour Workweek Standard For California Farmworkers

Agricultural workers have long been exempted from California’s traditional overtime laws. Instead farm workers have been subject to industry-specific overtime rules that allow companies to employ them for longer periods of time before overtime rates kick in. Under current law, farmworkers in California operate on a ten hour day and sixty hour standard workweek. Currently employers need only pay overtime to agricultural workers for all hours over ten in any work day and for the first eight hours on the seventh day of the work week, and double time for hours worked over eight on the seventh day of the workweek, with the exception that the worker may be employed on seven workdays in one workweek with no overtime pay when the total hours worked during the week do not exceed 30 and the total hours in any one workday do not exceed six.

Governor Brown’s Budget Proposal Targets Misguided and Inefficient PAGA Litigation

In January, Governor Edmund G. Brown submitted his 2016-17 budget to the California Legislature. The governor’s budget includes a proposal that, if approved, would have a resounding impact on civil actions filed by California employees under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA). Since the PAGA was enacted, it has been criticized as wasteful and excessively costly for employers. This post is intended to illuminate the scope of those issues and explain why the proposal is an appropriate and measured plan to resolve them.

California Corner: Things You Need to Know in 2016

With the new year underway, California employers are no doubt busy reviewing their policies to keep up with the state's new labor and employment laws. As many laws have expanded the scope of risk, we recommend that all California employers consult with experienced employment counsel to ensure compliance. Below are several important new laws employers should be aware of in 2016.

California Legislative Update: Proposals Include PAGA Reform, Salary History Limitations, and Equal Pay Expansion

The pace of employment legislative activity in Sacramento picked up as February drew to a close. The following highlights some of the more notable issues under consideration in the Golden State.

State Budget Proposal Seeks to Reduce PAGA Litigation Through Increased State Oversight

On January 7, 2016, Governor Brown’s office submitted a 22-page Budget Change Proposal for 2016-2017 (http://web1a.esd.dof.ca.gov/Documents/bcp/1617/FY1617_ORG7350_BCP474.pdf) in an effort to “stabilize and improve the handling of Private Attorneys General Act cases.”

Reasonable Data Security Defined by California AG

Last week, California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris – who has been mentioned as a potential nominee to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s recently vacated seat on the U.S. Supreme Court – issued the California Data Breach Report (Report). The Report provides an analysis of the data breaches reported to the California AG from 2012-2015.

Governor Brown’s Proposed PAGA Unit May Have Power to Challenge PAGA Settlement in Court

The budget change proposal for the 2016/17 Fiscal Year [document: ] submitted by Governor Brown last month contains significant proposed changes to the operation of the Labor & Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”), the agency responsible for overseeing the Private Attorney Generals Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) including the creation of a “PAGA Unit” with the authority to intervene and object to the adequacy of the settlement funds designated to PAGA claims. The budget requests a $1.6 million increase to the operation budget to cover additional staffing needs for the agency and an additional $1.5 million going forward to “stabilize and improve the handling of PAGA cases.” The budget proposal justifies the request for additional resources to increase the LWDA’s effectiveness.

San Diego Minimum Wage and Sick Pay Ordinance Placed On June Ballot

San Diego City Council members voted on February 8 to place a sick pay and minimum wage ordinance on the June 7 ballot.

AB 816: Cooperatives come to California

Jason Brown’s article “AB 816: Cooperatives come to California” was featured in the Daily Journal on January 20, 2016.

California Employers Will Be Facing New "Break Wars" In The New Year

Although meal periods have occupied central stage in class action litigation over the past decade in California, rest-period litigation will soon join the “break wars.” A new law that just took effect on January 1, 2016 specifically addresses the way workers paid by a piece rate, or on a “piece-rate basis,” should be paid for their rest or recovery periods.

Preparing for the 2016 California Legislative Session – and Elections

Even before California's 2016 session gets underway in January, legislative committees have been scheduling bills for hearing next month. So far, hearings on bills of interest to California private-sector employers include the following:

A California Employer’s Guide to a Happy New Year

California employers will need to hit the ground running as soon as the New Year’s ball drops to ensure their compliance with a broad range of laws taking effect January 1, 2016. Rather than making the same old trite resolutions that will likely be forgotten before Super Bowl Sunday, Golden State employers will be much better off making a high-priority checklist of to-do’s requiring immediate action, including:

California Employment Law Updates – Notable Changes in 2016

The new year promises to be a busy one for California employers with the passage of numerous labor and employment laws and amendments. With most changes taking effect on January 1, 2016, employers are encouraged to review their policies and practices with knowledgeable counsel to ensure compliance. Below is an overview of many of the most notable changes coming in 2016.1

California Legislative Update for 2016 – Notable Changes

The new year promises to be a busy one for California employers with the passage of numerous labor and employment laws and amendments. With most changes taking effect on January 1, 2016, employers are encouraged to review their policies and practices with knowledgeable counsel to ensure compliance. Below is an overview of many of the most notable changes coming in 2016.1

For California Employers, New Year Brings New Restrictions—Along With a Few Silver Linings

In 2015, the California legislature undoubtedly took aim at employers with piecemeal legislation covering everything from cheerleaders (who are now employees by statute) to gender-based pay differentials—the latter with what is now the nation’s most aggressive “equal pay” law. Nonetheless, some of the legislation provided clarity in the law, and other pieces of legislation are explicitly intended to give employers the chance to fix potential areas of noncompliance without facing civil liability for violations (i.e., the Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program and Assembly Bill (AB) 1506’s amendment to California’s Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA)). Most of these new laws take effect on January 1, 2016. Additionally, changes in federal laws and regulations are in the offing for 2016, with an anticipated increase in the salary base required to exempt an employee from the minimum wage.

California Labor Commissioner’s Enforcement Powers Set to Expand Dramatically

Effective January 1, 2016, California employers face a Labor Commissioner with significantly enhanced authority to enforce judgments for unpaid wages under California’s Fair Day’s Pay Act.

Worker Misclassification Risk? Top 10 Questions to Ask about Your Independent Contractors

Employers’ risk of liability for the misclassification of workers continues to grow, as employee misclassification remains a top enforcement priority for the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), and class actions asserting misclassification claims are filed almost daily in federal and California state courts. Employers regularly using independent contractors should examine those relationships periodically to ensure that the classification remains defensible.

California Supreme Court to Decide Whether Finding That UTSA Claim Was Filed in Bad Faith Can Revive a Previously Dismissed Malicious Prosecution Claim

The California Supreme Court’s recent decision to review the Second District Court of Appeals’ ruling in Parrish v. Latham & Watkins, 238 Cal. App. 4th 81 (2015) sets the stage for a potential sea change in the litigation of Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) claims, and could lead to an unsuccessful UTSA claimant being subject to a malicious prosecution action.

Why You Should Take a Closer Look at California’s New Piece-Rate Legislation

Employers doing business in California have seen a barrage of class actions and representative claims for various alleged wage and hour Labor Code violations. Some cases are premised solely on “technical” wage statement violations, where the employer may not have even realized the practice was occurring or was unlawful.

Filing of Police Report Accusing Coworker of Stealing Deemed Protected Activity by California Court

It is generally understood that an employer may not retaliate against an employee for “whistleblowing” and alerting authorities that a business has engaged in unlawful activity. Is an employee also protected against retaliation when he or she reports a coworker to the police for suspected theft of personal property? A recent California Court of Appeal published decision, Cardenas v. M. Fanaian, D.D.S., Inc., concluded that the California Labor Code does protect such activity.

California Court Rules That Employee’s Occasional Performance of Nonexempt Duties Does Not Negate Exempt Status.

In an unpublished opinion, Abarca v. JK Residential Services, Inc.., No. B256488 (June 26, 2015), the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, recently affirmed a trial court order rejecting a residential property manager’s misclassification and overtime claims.

California Employers Win Latest Round In Bag Check Battle

A federal judge in California handed employers a recent victory earlier this week, dismissing a class action lawsuit brought by Apple retail store employees who wanted to be paid for the time they spend waiting for their personal bags to be checked at the end of their work shifts (Frlekin v. Apple, Inc.). Although employers won a similar victory at the U.S. Supreme Court this past summer (see our Alert here), this decision was based on California law and was not a foregone conclusion.

Sacramento Enacts Local Minimum Wage - Goes Into Effect in 2017

On October 27, the Sacramento City Council, by a 6-3 vote, passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage to $12.50 in gradual increments. The new city minimum wage will provide for citywide minimum wages for most businesses as follows:

HR Intel – California and New York Flex Their Legislative Muscle and More…

The HR world held its collective breath as legislative juggernauts California and New York released a wave of new employment laws in the past two weeks. California struck first with new wage and hour regulations, discrimination and retaliation protections and background check requirements, among others.

The Pitfalls of Holiday Hiring: What Not to Ask on an Employment Application

With holiday hiring in full swing, it is a good time to review some basic rules about employment applications in California. In general, employers should not request the following information on employment applications:

Changes to California’s Data Breach Notification Requirements

On October 6, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed three new laws which substantially alter and expand the state’s security breach notification requirements. The new changes to California Civil Code sections 1798.29 and 1798.82, the Golden State’s laws that require notifications by state agencies and private sector entities of certain breaches of security (i) provide a definition for encryption, (ii) establish new requirements for the content and form of breach notifications, and (iii) add license plate information gathered through automated license plate recognition (ALPR) systems to the definition of personal information subject to the state’s notification requirements. These changes become effective January 1, 2016.

California Laws Are Being Used to Advance Human Rights Claims Based on Global Supply Chain Activities

Recent class actions have claimed that companies have violated California consumer fraud and unfair competition laws resulting from alleged forced labor in their global supply chains. These state law claims argue that companies are liable for allegedly misrepresenting in various corporate declarations their efforts to eradicate forced labor from their global supply chains. Plaintiffs have argued that corporate statements referring to international standards, such as the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the "UN Guiding Principles") and International Labour Organization (the "ILO") Conventions, contribute to the companies' duties to disclose the use of any forced labor in their supply chains.

California Legislative Recap

We previously reported on several employment-related bills passed by California's Legislature and signed by the Governor. These include AB 304 (which clarifies certain aspects of the state paid sick leave law), AB 1506 (which provides a limited right to cure certain wage statement violations), SB 327 (which clarifies the law surrounding meal period waivers in the health care industry), SB 358 (which strengthens laws against wage differentials on gender lines), and AB 622 (which provides a private right of action for misuse of E-Verify). Yesterday was the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills so we are now reporting on the outcome of other employment bills that were passed by the Legislature this term.

Misuse of USCIS' E-Verify System Is Now Enforceable in California Superior Court

On October 9, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 622 into law. AB 622 expands the definition of an unlawful employment practice to include the misuse of the E-Verify system. The new law prohibits employers from using the E-Verify system to inquire on the employment authorization status of an employee outside of the time and manner permitted under federal law. Additionally, employers that use E-Verify are now required to give employees copies of the derogatory notices issued to the employer from E-Verify. This new law provides for a civil money penalty of up to $10,000 per occurrence.

A Legislative El Niño for California?: New 2016 Employment Laws for the State’s Private Sector Employers

Experts are predicting a 95% chance of heavier-than-usual seasonal rainfall this year in Southern California based on the phenomenon known as “El Niño.” Did the California Legislature and its Governor produce a comparable deluge of new employment laws for the state’s private sector employees?

Ninth Circuit Addresses When Commuting Time May Be Compensable Under California Labor Code and What Must be Included in a PAGA Notice

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently addressed the compensability of commute time under the California Labor Code and the content required in a Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) letter. The Ninth Circuit examined the following:

California Governor Signs Gender Wage Equality Law

The California Fair Pay Act (FPA), a state law that codifies the principle that an employee is entitled to equal pay for equal work without regard to gender, has been amended with the passage of Senate Bill 358 (SB 358), which Governor Jerry Brown signed yesterday.

California Amends Representative PAGA Law, Allows Curing of Certain Wage Statement Violations

An amendment to California’s Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) affords an employer the right to cure certain wage statement violations before an employee may bring a civil suit against the employer.

Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Amended to Address Some Excesses

On October 2, 2015, Governor Brown signed urgency legislation (Assembly Bill [AB] 1506) that immediately amends California's Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA)1 to address increasing civil litigation alleging technical violations of itemized wage statements (pay stubs) issued to employees.

All Over But the Penning: the California Legislature Completes its Work for 2015

The California Legislature adjourned its 2015 regular session early last Saturday morning. It is now up to Governor Brown to sign or veto the last of the Legislature’s 2015 work product. He has until Sunday, October 11, to do so.

Sales May Sizzle, But Keep Employees Cool

When the outdoor temperature tops 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the cool, air-conditioned comfort of a retail store may be a refuge for salespeople, but it is easy to forget that many other retail employees (including truck drivers, loaders, mechanics, janitors, maintenance personnel, cart attendants, and warehouse crews) may be feeling the heat in their workplaces.

All Over But the Penning: the California Legislature Completes its Work for 2015

The California Legislature adjourned its 2015 regular session early last Saturday morning. It is now up to Governor Brown to sign or veto the last of the Legislature’s 2015 work product. He has until Sunday, October 11, to do so.

Managing Employees in California: Three Legal Minefields

Those managing employees in California know all too well the legal minefields they have to carefully navigate through each day. California is known as perhaps the most “employee-friendly” state in the nation with good reason, as its state legislature, agencies and courts continue to impose additional burdens on employers and expand the rights of employees.

New Amendments Cure Some of the Heartburn Caused by California's Sick Leave Law

California's Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act went into effect January 1, 2015, with accrual rights beginning July 1, 2015. Most California employers have spent the first half of 2015 trying to reconcile various apparent contradictions in the law. On July 13, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown approved Assembly Bill No. 304, which amended various aspects of California's paid sick leave law. The amendments are effective immediately and clarify some of the ambiguities pertaining to implementation.

DLSE Issues First Bit of Guidance on New Paid Sick Leave Law

As California employers are aware, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (Labor Code section 245, et seq.) went into effect this year. Under the Act, employers may choose between granting sick leave under an “up-front” method or an accrual method. Employers are permitted to offer more sick leave than the Act requires, but must meet certain minimum leave requirements. As employers prepared for July 1, 2015, the date on which employees became eligible to use and accrue sick leave under the new law, many were struck by how little guidance the new law provided for the realities of the workplace.

Former In-House Attorney Cannot Duck Trade Secrets Allegations with Anti-SLAPP Motion

On July 17, 2015, a California appellate court affirmed the denial of an intellectual property attorney’s anti-SLAPP motion against his former employer. Terrence Wyles, the defendant and former in-house counsel for medical products company West Hills Research and Development, Inc. (“West Hills”), sought to dismiss his former employer’s trade secrets misappropriation case by asserting that its lawsuit interfered with his efforts to file a complaint against its senior officers for embezzlement. The defendant alleged that he retained copies of confidential company documents following the termination of his employment as evidence to support a shareholder derivative lawsuit he planned to file alleging that the company was engaging in financial misconduct. The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motion, finding that the alleged financial misconduct had nothing to do with the misappropriation of trade secrets underlying the company’s complaint.

Last Call: California Legislature Makes Final Push for 2015 Session

The California Legislature reconvened on Monday, August 17, to finish its work for the 2015 regular session, which must end by September 11.

California Amends FEHA, Protecting Accommodation Requests

On July 16, 2015, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), adding protections for workers who request accommodations for disabilities or religious beliefs.

California Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Public Entity Employer: No Forum Shopping for California Public Entity Employees

In a recent unpublished case, the California Court of Appeal ruled a public civil service commission decision on a worker’s employment claims precluded him from relitigating his claims in a civil action. According to the state appellate court, the suit brought by a discharged worker who filed claims against his public employer was barred. Glover v. City of Santa Barbara, No. B257114 (May 21, 2015).

California's Special Restrictions on Who May Complete Form I-9

California's Secretary of State recently clarified whether an employer may use a notary public as its authorized representative to complete the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification.

Bay Area Employer 411: What You Need to Know About the New Laws on Equal Pay, Fair Scheduling and Slavery-Free Supply Chains

Jackson Lewis Shareholder Punam Sarad will serve as a panelist at the Bay Area Employer 411: What You Need to Know About the New Laws on Equal Pay, Fair Scheduling and Slavery-Free Supply Chains Conference hosted by the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Department of Labor/Women’s Bureau, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and American Association of University Women/San Francisco Branch. The panel will be followed by a roundtable discussion about the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance and Retail Workers Bill of Rights.

Amendments to California’s Paid Sick Leave Law Have Been Enacted and Are Effective Immediately

This week, California’s Governor signed into law urgency legislation passed by the legislature (AB 304) to amend California’s recently enacted paid sick leave law. These amendments take effect immediately and are intended to clarify some areas of ambiguity in the law as originally enacted. While the amendments do provide clarification in some areas, they nonetheless create added confusion and burden for employers that have already adopted or modified paid time off policies to take effect July 1, 2015, based on their best interpretations of the paid sick leave law in its originally enacted form. The amendments also leave a number of ambiguities in the original law unanswered. Click on the link to read the full summary of the amendments.

Your Rx for Complying with California’s Newly Effective Paid Sick Leave Law

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, which Governor Jerry Brown signed on September 10, 2014, goes into effect today, July 1, 2015. The Act requires California employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Below is a round-up of some helpful articles covering all the details of the Act, including employers’ obligations and the latest developments on the new law.

Court Refuses Enforcement of Forum Selection and Choice of Law Clauses

The recent published decision issued by the Fourth District California Court of Appeal (May 28) in Verdugo v. Alliantgroup, L.P. will make it more difficult for out-of-state employers to enforce forum selection and choice-of-law clauses in litigation with their California employees. The defendant, Alliantgroup, is a tax consulting firm headquartered in Texas, with one of its eleven regional offices in California. The plaintiff, Rachel Verdugo, brought a class action against the company on behalf of past and present employees, alleging various hour and wage claims under the California Labor Code. Upon being hired to work at Alliantgroup’s Irvine office, Verdugo signed an employment agreement that included a forum selection clause stating that Harris County, Texas would be the exclusive forum for disputes arising out of the agreement. The employment agreement also included a choice-of-law clause, designating Texas law as governing any arising disputes. California courts have traditionally held that they will not defer to a selected forum if doing so would violate public policy by diminishing the rights of California residents. Furthermore, the courts have established that if the claims at issue are based on rights that California statutes have deemed “unwaivable,” the party seeking to enforce the forum selection clause bears the burden of showing that enforcement will not diminish the substantive rights afforded under California law in any way. In making certain rights “unwaivable,” the California legislature and courts are primarily concerned with providing California residents with all of the protections they are entitled to under California law. In Verdugo, the court ruled that California Labor Code rights are unwaivable. In applying this rule, and the applicable precedent, the Court of Appeal held that defendant Alliantgroup could not enforce the forum selection clause or the choice-of-law provision in the agreement because it failed to show that the forum selection and choice-of-law clauses would not diminish plaintiff Verdugo’s statutory rights by requiring her to litigate her claims in Texas and under Texas law. The court did not create a specific test for determining whether deferring to a forum selection clause will diminish an employee’s rights under the Labor Code. Although it does not make forum selection and choice of law clauses per se unenforceable, the holding in this case is significant because it places the burden on the employer to show that application of the forum and/or choice of law clause will not diminish the employee's rights.

No-Hire Clauses Common to Settlement Agreements Now Void In California

Executive Summary: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently broadened California's already expansive interest in promoting employee mobility by voiding any contract provision imposing a meaningful obstacle to a California resident's ability to work. The appellate court's decision calls into question the continued validity of post-employment restrictive covenants commonly included in severance packages and settlement agreements.

California Legislative Update

The end of the first week of June is the deadline for California bills to pass out of their house of origin. The following are significant bills affecting private-sector employers in the Golden State that have advanced to date:

Captain of the Cheerleading Team: An Employee Too?

On April 21, 2015, California’s legislature advanced a bill that would require professional sports teams based in California to classify their cheerleaders as employees and pay them a minimum wage. The state assembly’s Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media voted 5-to-2 in favor of the bill, which must now pass a vote by the Appropriations Committee before it can be reintroduced to the legislature.

California Court Ruling Pulls the Spurs Off PAGA Deputies' Boots

Executive Summary: A new California appellate court decision provides much needed guidance regarding the proper scope of discovery in representative actions brought under the California Private Attorneys' General Act of 2004 (PAGA), Cal. Lab. Code sections 2698, et seq. Specifically, the opinion now allows lower courts to take an incremental approach to discovery, requiring the named plaintiff to demonstrate that s/he was actually subjected to wage and hour violations – and after that, subjected to uniform employment policies and practices – before authorizing statewide discovery. The opinion is the first published California decision concerning how courts should approach discovery in PAGA actions.

Employment-Related Bills Pending Before The California Legislature

There are a number of employment-related bills pending before the California legislature this session. While it is too early to tell which of these bills ultimately will be passed and signed into law, California employers may wish to follow the progress of some of these bills and/or to submit comments, opposition, or support (for the most part, unlikely) for a particular bill.

California Remains Ahead of the Curve With Workplace Trends

California continues to lead the way in expanding the rights of employees and obligations of employers in the workplace in many areas. This should come as no surprise to employers and HR since the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) extends protections to almost 20 protected classes and California provides employees with more than one dozen types of leave.

California Attorney General Seeks Supply Chain Transparency Information from Businesses

Executive Summary: Recently, a number of large retail and manufacturing companies doing business in California may have been surprised to receive a letter from the California Attorney General asking them to demonstrate compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. The Act was enacted in 2010 and became effective in 2012; however, the recent round of letters sent out by the California Attorney General has focused more attention on the Act. Recipients of the letters have 30 days to respond by providing a link to their disclosure or providing information showing they are not covered by the Act.

Oakland Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Law Effective This Week

In addition to having to comply with the new statewide paid sick leave law, California employers with employees in Oakland need to ensure that they are complying with a new Oakland minimum wage and paid sick leave measure that took effect March 2, 2015.

California eAuthority (March 2015)

California Court Rules on Whether to Compel Arbitration Where Employer Could Not Authenticate Employee’s Electronic Signature; House Painter With Vertigo and Restriction to Work “at Ground Level” Loses FEHA Case; Worker’s Failure to Perform His Job Duties Satisfactorily Dooms FEHA Retaliation Claim;Being on Call in California Does Not Impede on Rest Breaks;From the Blog: California Labor Commissioner Revises Sick Pay Notice Obligation.

Will California’s recent law on anti-bullying training begin a nationwide move toward passage of the Healthy Workplace Bill?

The Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) has been discussed by state and federal legislators for nearly 15 years, and has been the subject of substantial debate and interest. During that time, 26 states have introduced the HWB, or one modeled on it. No state has yet passed the bill (although Tennessee has passed a bill limited to public-sector employees), and several state legislatures have vetoed it.

California Legislative Update for 2015 – Notable Changes

As in recent years, California remained a hotbed of legislative action in the labor and employment field. The legislature passed several new laws and amended many others in significant ways. With changes taking effect on January 1, 2015, unless otherwise stated below, employers are encouraged to review their policies and practices to ensure compliance. Below is a summary of many of the most notable changes coming in 2015:

New Year’s Resolutions for the California HR Manager

So what’s it going to be for 2015? Get up and run three miles every morning? Finally pay off those credit cards? Learn to speak French? Before you finish the list of New Year’s resolutions, consider adding a few on the human resources front. Below are a few recommendations for HR leaders—the payoff will be much better than losing 10 pounds (again). Pick a few and knock them off early in the year, and call it a good start.

New Year Brings New Liability When Using Outsourced Labor

Beginning January 1st, California law requires “client employers” to share certain compliance responsibility and liability with the companies that provide them with contract labor, such as staffing agencies. Client employers are defined as private employers with at least 25 employees that utilize at least six temporary workers from a staffing contractor, subject to limited exceptions.

Countdown To July 1st: Preparing For California's Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Beginning July 1, 2015, California employers, with limited exceptions, must grant every employee 24 hours or three paid sick days each year. Even employers who are already providing paid sick leave face potential liability for failing to comply with the new law’s accrual, notice and recordkeeping requirements. Employers should start preparing now for this regulatory challenge as this state-mandated benefit will likely be fertile ground for new wage and hour class actions.

California eAuthority (December 2014)

Two California Appellate Decisions Expand the Scope of Tameny Claims Based on Whistleblower Laws; Ninth Circuit Defends Employer’s Discharge of Worker With a History of Intimidation and Threats; LA County Employee’s Retaliation Claim Fails but Disability Bias Claim Moves Forward; California Court Revisits Employer’s Duty to Reasonably Accommodate Disabled Employee Under FEHA; San Francisco Board of Supervisors Approves “Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights”

Another State Requires Paid Sick Time

We have reported on jurisdictions such as New York City and Connecticut passing sick leave laws. We can now add California to this growing list. The Golden State recently passed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requiring employers to provide sick leave to their employees.

California Supreme Court Denies Review of Cell Phone Reimbursement Case

The California Supreme Court has denied a petition to review Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Two, No. B247160 (August 12, 2014). As a result of the court’s decision, an appellate court ruling that found that employers must reimburse employees for the business use of personal cell phones in some circumstances will stand. Employers should consider taking measures accordingly to minimize the risk of class action litigation.

California eAuthority (November 2014)

Who Decides the Issue of Class Arbitration? Ninth Circuit Dismisses Worker’s “‘Sweeping Conclusory Allegations’ of Unequal Treatment”; California Court Overturns Employee’s Jury Verdict in Reverse Discrimination Case; California’s New Sick Leave Landscape—Your Paid Leave Questions Answered; From the Blog: FAAAA Does Not Preempt California Meal and Rest Period Requirements.

California Legislation 2014

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a number of bills that will impact the employer community. A brief summary of these new laws, along with links to the bills, can be found below.

California Court Finds Lack of Evidence Undermines False Claims Act and Retaliation Claims

The Southern District of California recently issued a favorable ruling for employers under both the False Claims Act and California’s retaliatory discharge provision codified at California Labor Code section 1102.5. The court not only rejected the relator’s claims, but it also resolved all issues in the employer’s favor on summary judgment.

San Diego Minimum Wage Ordinance Put On Ice

San Diego’s hotly contested minimum wage ordinance has been put on ice until at least 2016. The City Council approved the ordinance in July and then later overrode the mayor’s veto. A petition drive by San Diego business leaders has now succeeded in forcing the issue to the ballot.

California Law Expands Scope of Liability of Employers that Use Labor Contractors

Executive Summary: California employers that hire temporary workers now share liability with staffing agencies for certain violations of the state's labor laws. On September 28, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1897, a controversial bill that significantly expands the scope of liability of employers that contract with staffing agencies. The full text of the bill is available on the California Legislature's website: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB1897.

Bullying in the Workplace: California’s New Training Requirement

Everyone remembers a bully in junior high school. She might have been the mean girl who told others not to be your friend, or the brute who inflicted his cruelty with wedgies and half nelsons. Sadly, some people never graduate from junior high—mentally, at least—and some of those miscreants are now employed in your workplace. What is an employer to do? California has an answer.

California eAuthority (September 2014)

Quit or Retired? It Makes No Difference When It Comes to Paying Final Wages in California; California Legislative Update: September 2014; Ninth Circuit Finds Police Officer with ADHD Not Disabled Under ADA; A Bird’s Eye View of the DFEH (Part 3): An Interview with Patti Perez on Reasonable Accommodations, the Interactive Process, and Companion Animals; California Court: Exceeding Break Times and Falsifying Time Records Is Grounds for Disqualification from Unemployment Benefits: From the California Blog: California Appellate Court Rules That California’s Prevailing Wage Laws Do Not Apply to Off-Site Fabrication.

Recent Changes to California Laws—the Healthcare Perspective

The efforts made by professional athletes seeking workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that they sustained on the playing field has resulted in a considerable amount of drama in the press. As a result, the California legislature has amended the state Workers’ Compensation Act to include coverage for some athletes. In-state athletes are covered. Out-of-state professional athletes may be covered if (a) the athlete played at least two years for a California sports team; or (b) played more than 20 percent of his or her career for a California sports team. While the situation is unlikely to arise for most healthcare providers or institutions, if a professional athlete seeks medical treatment, it may be wise to consider asking if the injury is work-related.

California Becomes Second State to Offer Paid Sick Leave

Over the holiday weekend, California became only the second state (after Connecticut, which began granting paid sick leave in 2012 and just passed more tweaks to it) to guarantee at least some annual paid sick leave for most full and part-time employees. Assuming Governor Brown signs the bill, California’s law would be the tenth in the nation at the state or local level that requires employers to provide paid sick leave. The bill, entitled the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act,” passed with hefty majorities in the Assembly and Senate, and Governor Brown has indicated that he plans to sign it. That total would match the ten states that have passed preemption laws that ban any locality from passing paid sick leave legislation.

California Legislature Passes Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Bill

On Saturday, August 30, 2014, in the early morning hours and amid controversy among labor supporters, the California legislature passed a bill that provides workers with three paid sick days per year. Governor Brown enthusiastically endorsed the law’s passage and is expected to sign it very shortly. Assuming the governor signs the legislation, it will take effect on July 1, 2015.

California eAuthority (August 2014)

California Supreme Court: Holding Franchisor Liable as Employer Depends on Level of Control Over Day-to-Day Employment Decisions; California Court Interprets Vague Language in Arbitration Agreement in Favor of Employee; California Legislative Update: August 2014; A Bird’s Eye View of the DFEH: An Interview with Patti Perez (Part 2); From the California Blog: Employer Required to Reimburse Employees for Personal Cell Phone Use Despite Unlimited Minutes Plans

Back to School! Employers: Are You Ready for School-Related Leave for Parents?

The lazy days of summer are behind us this month as many children head back to school. Employers of parents with school-aged children should review California’s laws, which provide certain rights to employees to take time off from work to deal with school-related issues.

Can You Hear Me Now: Employers in California Must Reimburse Employees for Mandatory Work-Related Calls on Personal Cell Phones

Executive Summary: A California Appeal Court has held that employees are only required to show that they were required to use their personal cell phone for work-related calls to be entitled to reimbursement under California Labor Code § 2802. In reaching this conclusion, the appeal court held that it does not matter whether the phone bill is paid by a third person or not paid at all. See Cochran v. Schwan's Home Service (Aug. 12, 2014).

California eAuthority (July 31, 2014)

Motor Carriers Face Uphill Battle After California Supreme Court Decision; A Bird’s-Eye View of the DFEH: An Interview with Patti Perez; Ninth Circuit Allows Deputies to Proceed with Sex Discrimination Suit; California Legislative Update: July 2014; California Family Rights Act Interference Claims Proceed; Court Endorses PTO Use for Exempt Employee Partial-Day Absences; San Diego City Council Approves Minimum Wage Increase and Sick Pay Ordinance; From the California Blog: Single Act of Disobedience Does Not Disqualify Employee From Unemployment Benefits, California High Court Rules.

City of San Diego Imposes Minimum Wage Hike and Sick Pay Ordinance

Rejecting a call to place a proposed minimum wage hike on the November ballot as a referendum item, on July 14 the San Diego City Council approved an ordinance raising the city’s minimum wage to $11.50 per hour by 2017.

California Governor Signs Bill Giving Small Businesses Extra Time To Comply With ACA 07/11/2014

On July 7, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that will give small business owners additional time to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill takes effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Court Determines California Teacher Tenure Laws Are Unconstitutional

On June 10, 2014, Judge Rolf M. Treu of the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles issued an opinion in Vergara v. California,[1] striking down provisions of the California Education Code as unconstitutional. The sections of the California Education Code in question concerned teacher tenure (the so-called “Permanent Employment Statute”), dismissal (the “Dismissal Statutes”) and layoffs (known as “Last-In-First-Out” (LIFO)).[2] The court held that these statutes violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution because they prevent students from accessing their fundamental rights to equal education by adversely affecting the quality of the education they are afforded. The statutes were held to “cause the potential and/or unreasonable exposure of grossly ineffective teachers to all California students but with particular detriment to minority and/or low income students.” Vergara at 4.

Employers Are Not Required to Provide Transit Fringe Benefits—Except in California

Since the Golden State sometimes can be a bellwether for national trends, employers nationwide may want to keep an eye on what’s occurring in California regarding commuter benefits. Certain employers in the San Francisco Bay Area have less than six months to comply with a new law that requires them to provide commuter benefits to employees. The law is intended to help reduce air pollution and alleviate traffic congestion in the Bay Area by encouraging employees to take mass transit, vanpools, carpools, or bicycles, or to walk rather than drive alone to work.

California eAuthority (April 2014)

California Court Finds Employers Can Seek Evaluation After Employee Returns From FMLA Leave; California Court Gives the Green Light for Arbitration of Wrongful Termination Suit; Contract That Shortens Time for Bringing Employment Claims Rejected by California Court.

Undocumented Worker Case Before California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that could impact the ability of undocumented workers to collect back wages or sue employers for discrimination in California, and may prove instructive in other courts that periodically have to tackle these issues. The case is Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. (Case No. S196568), and the California Supreme Court will consider whether an employee’s use of false documentation (in this case, a Social Security number) to obtain employment precludes future actions by that employee for discrimination (disability discrimination here).

Former Employee Ordered to Pay $100,000 in Attorneys’ Fees for Bringing “Vexatious” FEHA Action After Being Fired for Sexual Harassment

Robert v. Stanford University, H037514 (February 25, 2014): The California Court of Appeal recently affirmed an award of $100,000 in attorneys’ fees to a prevailing employer in a case in which a former employee brought a frivolous and unsubstantiated claim of discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The Court of Appeal upheld the award, even though the trial court had not issued a separate written order regarding the attorneys’ fees, because the trial court had made express oral findings on the record and applied the appropriate standards.

California eAuthority (February 28, 2014)

San Francisco Mayor Signs Ordinance to “Ban the Box” on Employment Applications and more....

Getting Down to Business: Highlights of New California Employment Laws

With the start of the new year, it is the perfect time for employers to ensure that their policies reflect the changes in California law. We covered many of the laws affecting employers in our “California Legislative Update 2013” article and in my three-part blog series, “How the New California Laws Will Impact Your Business in 2014 and Beyond.” Part one of the series covered recent wage and hour legislation; part two covered EEO, disability, and leave legislation; and part three covered immigration-related legislation.

California Legislative Update for 2014

California has one of the most proactive legislatures in the nation with respect to labor and employment matters. The coming year will bring several significant changes, new laws and obligations of which businesses with California operations should be aware. We hope you find the below summary informative and look forward to working with you to ensure compliance as you move into 2014.

How the New California Laws Will Impact Your Business in 2014 and Beyond, Part 3: California Immigration Related Legislation

The final post in this three-part series on the newly-signed legislation in California covers the three immigration-related bills that Governor Brown recently signed. I also discuss two significant bills that the governor vetoed.

California Legislative Update 2013

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed bills enacting several new employment statutes, marking the end of the California Legislature’s 2013 regular session. A brief summary of these new laws, along with links to the bills, can be found below.

California Governor Signs Bill Limiting Attorneys’ Fees for Employers in Wage Cases

California Governor Jerry Brown on August 28, 2013, signed into law a measure limiting the ability of employers to obtain attorneys’ fee awards if they are prevailing defendants in wage disputes.

California eAuthority (August 2013)

California Supreme Court Action in Piece-Rate Pay Case Causes Concerns About Alternative Pay Systems; Restricting the Activities of California On-Call Employees May Mean Having to Pay Them for Their Time; California Agencies Don’t Get Two Bites at the Apple When It Comes to Misclassification.

California Wage/Hour Update (July 2013)

Appellate Court Attacks Piece-Rate Compensation – Again;Court Clarifies Impact Of Multi-Tasking On Exempt Status.

California EAuthority (June 2013)

No Administrative Exemption Under California Law Where Worker Did Not Receive Fixed Salary California Employer’s Policy of On-Duty Meal Periods Will Be Litigated as a Class Action Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Saves California Employer’s Arbitration Agreement

Restaurant Industry Legal Alert: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions Concerning California's Human Trafficking Notice Requirements

In response to our June 6, 2013 Restaurant Industry Newsletter, we received several questions about whether California's human trafficking statute applies to all restaurants and drinking establishments. As a result, we are providing the following answers as a guide to help you determine whether you must comply with the statute.

Legal Alert: In An Effort To Raise Awareness Of Human Trafficking California Requires Certain Businesses And Establishments to Post Public Notices Regarding Victims' Rights

Executive Summary: The California Legislature has enacted a new law that requires certain businesses in the hospitality, transportation, and healthcare industries to post public notices regarding slavery and human trafficking or face stiff penalties. This new law became effective on April 1, 2013 and is the latest in California's efforts to combat this unlawful multi-million dollar industry.

California eAuthority (April 29, 2013)

California Piece-Rate Employees Entitled to Compensation for Each Hour Worked; One-Sided Arbitration Agreement Found Unconscionable by California Court; Suitable Seating Class Action Cases Are on the Rise in California; California Court Rejects Managers’ Overtime Misclassification Class Action.

California eAuthority (March 2013)

California Appellate Court Holds Employee Entitled to Reasonable Accommodation After Pregnancy Leave Ends; Court Rejects FEHA Claim Brought by Fired Department Manager; California Employer Should Have Engaged in Interactive Process Before Firing Employee; Tip Pooling Policy Held Lawful by California Court—So Long As Recipients Are Not Management Level.

Legal Alert: California Rings In 2013 With New Employment Laws

Executive Summary: After the Mayans failed to predict the end of the world on December 21, 2012, it became apparent that California employers would have to comply with a string of new laws that take effect on January 1, 2013. Here is a summary of seven new employment laws to be aware of so you can revise your employment policies accordingly.

California eAuthority (November 2012)

California Appellate Court Allows Time Clock Rounding No Implied-in-Fact Arbitration Agreement Where Employee Had No Intention of Signing Court of Appeal Relies on “Motivating Factor” as Standard of Causation in FEHA Case California Court Affirms that Customer Lists Can Qualify as Trade Secrets

California Joins Maryland and Illinois in Restricting Employers' Access To Employees' "Social Media"

On September 27, 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1844, which prohibits employers from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for employment to: (1) disclose a username or password for personal social media, (2) access their accounts in the presence of employers, or (3) divulge any personal social media. It also makes it illegal to discipline or retaliate against an employee or applicant for not complying with a request or demand for access to personal social media.

New Year Brings New Laws for California Employers

During Arnold Schwarzenegger's tenure as governor of California few new employment laws were enacted. This has changed under Gov. Jerry Brown. As the first year of his term concludes he has signed into law several bills that will affect California employers on January 1, 2012. From consumer credit reports to health care benefits, leaves of absence, and new wage and hour requirements, every California employer has something to prepare for in 2012.

California Governor Signs New Employment Bills

Below are brief explanations of these new laws that affect private employers along with links to the actual bill language. Each of these bills will become effective January 1, 2012. Ogletree Deakins is sponsoring seminars in Los Angeles (October 18), Orange County (October 19) and San Francisco (October 20) where attorneys will discuss these new legislative updates in more detail. On December 7, the firm also will conduct a webinar on the new California laws. For more information or to register for the webinar, contact Moira Cue at (310) 217-8191 (ext. 221).

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Litigation

Wading through complex employment laws is often a challenging endeavor for employers. This has been especially true during the last several years, as companies have been reorganizing their workforces, cutting costs and tightening their budgets to stay competitive. If you were one of these employers, it's likely that you were required to reexamine the classification of certain employees who, as a result of the change in their duties, no longer met the exemption requirements.

Retail Industry: Sanity Prevails in California.

It's true: the California appeals court struck down a particularly nutty employment law, one which required anyone who bought a Los Angeles supermarket to retain the prior owner's employees. The California Supreme Court is due to review the decision.

Two New California Employment Laws Now In Effect.

January 1, 2008, is the effective date of the Earned Income Tax Credit Information Act (the Act). This legislation evolved from a California Franchise Tax Board study showing that approximately 460,000 California families qualified, but did not file, for the federal earned income tax credit (EITC.) The EITC Act requires employers on an annual basis to notify their employees of their potential eligibility for the EITC.

Judge Strikes Down Controversial Supermarket Ordinance.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling last month, voiding a Los Angeles city ordinance that required supermarkets, occupying more than 15,000 square feet and which changed ownership, to retain existing eligible workers for 90 days after the transfer of ownership.

California Supreme Court Issues Two Big Decisions.

The California Supreme Court ended the summer with a bang by announcing two major decisions which could have far-reaching effects. Here is a brief overview of the implications of each case to California employers.

California Alert - CA Supreme Court Issues Three Key Decisions.

California employers should be aware of three decisions in the last week that will impact the way they do business here.
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