Total Articles: 95
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 17, 2019
On October 13, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 51 into law, banning most employment arbitration agreements in California starting January 1, 2020. This new law is expansive in scope but short on certainty, as it raises several questions and will likely face legal challenges.
FordHarrison LLP • October 16, 2019
Introduction: For a little over a year, California employers and courts have been wrestling with the impact of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018), which dramatically altered the independent contractor landscape in the Golden State last year. Dynamex upended a long-standing multi-factor test which had been applied to determine if a worker was an employee or an independent contractor, ushering in the new “ABC test.” One of the main unresolved questions left in the wake of Dynamex was whether the new “ABC test” applies retroactively.
Fisher Phillips • October 16, 2019
Under a new law just signed into effect by the California Governor and set to take effect on January 1, 2020, employers will no longer be able to compel workers into arbitration for state discrimination claims or those brought under the Labor Code.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 15, 2019
California has joined a number of states in passing legislation purporting to prohibit mandatory arbitration agreements for sexual harassment and other claims. Such laws have gained popularity in the wake of the #MeToo movement, but are subject to challenge under Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preemption principles.
Fisher Phillips • October 11, 2019
Following San Francisco’s lead, California will soon significantly expand the obligation of most employers to provide break time and a location to express breast milk. The new law, just signed into effect by Governor Newsom on October 10, 2019, will become effective January 1, 2020. What do California employers need to know about their new obligations?
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 11, 2019
California employers received some harsh news: starting on January 1, 2020, employers may not require employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements.
Ogletree Deakins • October 09, 2019
Legislatures across the country are racing to keep up with the ever-expanding uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. While to date much of the focus has been on ethical uses of AI, disclosures requirements, and informed consent (e.g., the Illinois 2019 Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act), the California legislature recently took the bold move of promoting AI as a tool to reduce bias and discrimination in hiring and employment. As part of this effort, the California assembly introduced California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 125, titled “Bias and discrimination in hiring reduction through new technology” (CACR 125).
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 25, 2019
On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified to the Supreme Court of California the question of whether that court’s landmark 2018 decision in Dynamex v. Superior Court should be applied retroactively. In May 2019, the Ninth Circuit, in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., held that Dynamex had retroactive effect; in July 2019, however, the appeals court withdrew that opinion and indicated that it would instead ask the California Supreme Court to decide this state-law matter.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 20, 2019
In OTO, L.L.C. v. Kho, the California Supreme Court refused to enforce an employee’s arbitration agreement on the basis that it was unconscionable. Unconscionability has long been a common-law defense to contract enforcement. What makes OTO v. Kho problematic for employers is the court’s weakening of the traditional “Does the agreement shock the conscience?” standard. The court in this case invalidated the agreement because arbitration was a less affordable and less accessible dispute resolution mechanism than other potentially applicable state law mechanisms. Specifically, the court found the parties’ arbitration procedure to be less advantageous to the employee in the resolution of his wage claims than the “Berman” procedure, an administrative process through which an employee can receive substantial assistance in taking his wage claims before the state Labor Commissioner.
FordHarrison LLP • September 16, 2019
Recently, the California Supreme Court invalidated a mandatory arbitration agreement in OTO, LLC v. Kho (August 29, 2019) finding the agreement was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The case involved arbitration of a former employee’s wage claims. Under California law, employees have access to an inexpensive administrative process to pursue wage disputes. The Court previously had ruled that an arbitration agreement is not categorically unconscionable solely because it entails a waiver of that administrative process. An agreement to arbitrate wage claims can be enforceable so long as it provides an accessible and affordable process for resolving those disputes.
XpertHR • September 12, 2019
California is on the verge of further limiting the use of independent contractors.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 26, 2019
Whether California’s recently adopted “ABC” test, used in the employee-versus-independent contractor analysis in cases involving California’s wage orders, must be applied retroactively should be decided by the California Supreme Court, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has decided, withdrawing its controversial May 2, 2019, opinion. Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l, Inc., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21687 (9th Cir. July 22, 2019). The Ninth Circuit said it will certify that question to the California Supreme Court.
Ogletree Deakins • January 23, 2019
In an unpublished decision, the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District denied an employer’s motion to compel arbitration of a former employee’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims. Instead, the court held that the employer’s employee arbitration agreement contained an improper PAGA waiver that could not be severed and, as a result, invalidated the entire agreement.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 20, 2019
An employer successfully compelled arbitration under an arbitration agreement that the plaintiff-workers had with their staffing agency, even though the staffing agency was not a defendant in the lawsuit.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 05, 2018
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1976, expanding California employer obligations respective to employee lactation accommodation.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 01, 2018
In a last-minute action on the September 30 legislative deadline, California’s Governor vetoed a bill that, among other things, would have imposed restrictions on the use of arbitration agreements for certain employment claims.
Fisher Phillips • August 12, 2018
In his bylined piece for Corporate Compliance Insights, Irvine Partner John Skousen breaks down the new ABC test for California employers, which determines whether a worker should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor.
Ogletree Deakins • May 07, 2018
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of California adopted a new test to determine whether a worker performing services for a company is an employee or an independent contractor under California’s wage orders. The new three-factor test, known as the ABC test, will determine whether a company “employs” a worker under the wage orders, which address certain requirements for minimum wage, overtime, and meal and rest periods, among others. The ABC test, which has long existed in other parts of the country in different forms, has not previously been used in California.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 07, 2018
The California Supreme Court, in Dynamex Operations v. Superior Court, held that for purposes of claims under the California Wage Orders “engage, suffer or permit to work” determines employee status, thus requiring a defendant who disputes that a worker is an employee (rather than an independent contractor) to prove (A) the worker is free from control and direction of the hirer in connection with performing the work, both under contract and in fact; (B) the worker performs work outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (C) the worker customarily engages in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hirer.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • May 02, 2018
In a groundbreaking new decision, the California Supreme Court announced a significant change in independent contractor law, adopting a modified “ABC” test for determining whether an individual is an employee under the Wage Orders.1 This new independent contractor test is modeled on Massachusetts’ independent contractor statute, which has been considered the strictest in the country.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 16, 2018
In Saheli v. White Memorial Medical Center (B283217, Cal. Ct. App., March 14, 2018), the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District addressed for the first time whether restrictions on arbitration agreements contained in the Ralph Act and Bane Act are preempted under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • March 14, 2018
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council (“FEHC”) has proposed new regulations (revised regulations, really) addressing the state’s new ban-the-box and parental leave laws. The regulations are not yet final or in effect, but are being considered by the FEHC and likely will be adopted, potentially with some modifications based on input from public comments and public hearings in the near future, with the first hearing scheduled for April 4, 2018.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 07, 2018
In a loss for the California transportation industry, the Court of Appeal for California’s Fourth Judicial District recently found in Muro v. Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, Inc., that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) is unenforceable in employment contracts regarding employees who are engaged in transporting goods in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the employer itself is in the transportation industry.
Ogletree Deakins • January 18, 2018
News accounts report that thousands of Californians celebrated the first day of 2018 by exercising their new right to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use. Recreational marijuana shops were overwhelmed by long lines of customers.
Fisher Phillips • October 16, 2017
On October 14, Governor Brown signed AB 1008 to prohibit most public and private employers with five or more employees from asking applicants about criminal conviction histories until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. The new law will become effective January 1, 2018.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 14, 2017
Among the many questions California employers face when navigating the ins and outs of various disability leave laws is under what circumstances an employee may choose or be required to utilize paid time off for an otherwise unpaid leave of absence. When dealing with these issues, it is important to consider some nuanced differences between various federal and California state laws. The following are some guidelines for employers to keep in mind:
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 03, 2017
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) finalized new regulations limiting the ability of employers to consider criminal history when making employment decisions.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • March 20, 2017
The validity of mandatory arbitration agreements continues to be a major focus of litigation and legislation. As employers know, the U.S. Supreme Court currently is reviewing the issue of whether class action waivers violate the NLRA in the consolidated matters Morris v. Ernst & Young, Lewis v. Epic Systems, and Murphy v. NLRB. Briefing is underway in those matters and oral argument is expected this fall.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 13, 2017
When it comes to legislation restricting employer use of criminal records, California seems to be leading the charge. In the last six months alone, we have reported on a variety of new laws that apply to California employers that use criminal records in pre-hire and other employment decisions.1 Continuing this trend, on February 16, 2017, five California assembly members introduced Assembly Bill 1008, which proposes to add a section to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) containing new state-wide restrictions on an employer’s ability to make pre-hire and other employment decisions based on an applicant or employee’s criminal records, including a “ban-the-box” component.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 23, 2017
In another important decision regarding an employer’s obligation to provide rest breaks, the California Supreme Court in Jennifer Augustus et al. v. ABM Security Services, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal.5th 257, dealt with two issues related to employee rest breaks: 1) whether employers are required to permit their employees to take off-duty rest periods pursuant to Labor Code 226.7 and Wage Order 4; and 2) whether employers may require their employees to remain “on call” during rest periods.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • January 24, 2017
On Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Syed v. M-I, LLC, holding, on an issue of first impression, that an employer willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by including a liability waiver on the background check disclosure and consent form it provided to prospective employees. The Ninth Circuit held that the FCRA expressly states that before obtaining a consumer report for employment purposes, an employer must disclose its intent to secure a consumer report for employment purposes and inform the consumer of his/her rights under the FCRA. The FCRA states that this information must be provided in writing in a document “consisting solely of the disclosure.” The FCRA goes on to state that the employer must obtain the consumer’s authorization to procure the report and that the authorization can be on the same document as the disclosure. In this case, the employer had a disclosure and consent form, as required by the FCRA. However, the employer’s form included a provision stating that the applicant signing the form agrees to release the employer from any and all liability stemming from its reliance on information derived from the consumer report. The Ninth Circuit held that the inclusion of this liability waiver on the disclosure and consent form violated the FCRA’s express mandate that the disclosure consist “solely of the disclosure.” The Ninth Circuit reasoned that the inclusion of extraneous information, such as a liability waiver, in the disclosure form violates the law.
Worse, the Ninth Circuit held, as a matter of law, that the employer’s violation was both “objectively unreasonable” and “willful” (thereby exposing the employer to statutory and punitive damages), even though this was an issue of first impression that no Circuit Court had before decided.
The full text of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion is available here. This case will only serve to promote more FCRA lawsuits against employers. Employers may wish to review their background check disclosure and consent forms to ensure that they do not improperly include “extraneous” information and that they otherwise comply with the FCRA (and California law, as applicable).
Ogletree Deakins • December 30, 2016
In early 2016, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) proposed regulations that are intended to define and clarify how using a person’s criminal history may violate the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). If adopted, the regulations would create additional avenues for job applicants and employees to sue employers for violations of FEHA. These regulations, coupled with the growing number of local jurisdictions implementing “ban the box” legislation, are yet another reminder that employers may want to proceed with caution when using an employee’s criminal history to make an employment decision.
FordHarrison LLP • December 20, 2016
Executive Summary: The City of Los Angeles recently enacted its own Ban-the-Box law, designed to prevent employers with at least 10 employees from inquiring into or requiring an applicant to disclose their criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. The law is expected to go into effect on January 22, 2017.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 12, 2016
In the next week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring (Initiative), which will prohibit most private sector employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment. Los Angeles’ new “ban-the-box” law follows on the heels of similar legislation enacted in New York City and Austin, Texas, and continues the nationwide ban-the-box trend.1 The Initiative will go into effect in less than one month, on January 1, 2017.
Ogletree Deakins • December 08, 2016
California recently amended its existing law governing inquiries into and the use of juvenile criminal information. Effective January 1, 2017 employers will be restricted from asking about, seeking, or using a California applicant/employee’s juvenile criminal history in the employment context.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • November 20, 2016
With recreational marijuana now legal in California, many employers are wondering how this impacts their drug free workplace policies and their response to an applicant/employee drug test that is positive for marijuana. Contrary to what many employees likely will believe, the new law does not restrict employers' rights to continue enforcing policies that prohibit marijuana use. The new law expressly states that that it should not be construed or interpreted to:
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 01, 2016
On September 7, 2016, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) announced modifications to its proposed regulations originally promulgated on February 19, 2016, governing the use of criminal history in employment decisions. The new regulations are intended to prevent disparate impact discrimination against protected classes such as gender, race, and national origin. If passed, the new modified regulations will impose more restrictions on employers, including a burden shifting test.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 31, 2016
As if paid sick leave wasn’t scary enough! From accrual methods, to the protections provided to the time off, to the varying (and ever growing) laws in different jurisdictions, paid sick leave can be spooky.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • October 24, 2016
As election day approaches, employers are reminded that California law requires them to post a notice 10 days before the election informing employees of their voting rights under state law. Specifically, employees must be informed that if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote, they may take off enough working time that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, will enable them to vote. Up to two hours of this time must be paid. The employer can require that the time off for voting be taken at the beginning or end of the employee's shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 20, 2016
On September 27, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1843, which prohibits certain inquiries into the criminal past of applicants for employment. The new law now adds a prohibition against asking about, considering as part of the hiring process, or attempting to discover, information relating to any “arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition” that occurred while the applicant was subject to the “process and jurisdiction” of the juvenile court.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 18, 2016
With holiday hiring in full swing, it’s a good time to review what should and should not be asked on employment applications.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 06, 2016
The DOL’s final rule on paid sick leave was not the only news-making event in the world of leave management last Friday. While additional time off was being lauded by the federal government, additional protected leave was rejected in California.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 04, 2016
On September 25, 2016, Governor Brown signed into law a new California Labor Code provision (Section 925) that is likely to have major repercussions for contracts with employees who live and work primarily in California. The new California Labor Code provision prohibits the use of contract provisions that apply another state’s law or require adjudication of disputes in another state as a condition of the employment of an individual who primarily resides and works in California.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 04, 2016
On September 27, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 1843, which amends the California Labor Code to prohibit employers from considering certain juvenile records for employment purposes. The amendment is effective January 1, 2017.
Ogletree Deakins • September 21, 2016
On June 16, 2016, a California Court of Appeal, in an unpublished decision, issued yet another ruling applying the doctrine of waiver to arbitration agreements in the employment litigation context. In Ogannesian v. ICC Collision Centers, Inc., a defendant waited eight months after responding to a complaint before bringing its motion to compel arbitration. During those eight months, the court-determined trial date had been set and the defendant had participated in the discovery process by serving and responding to written discovery. The court of appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision that the defendant had waived its right to compel arbitration by waiting eight months to file a motion.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 21, 2016
On September 14, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2377 into law which expands the employer notice requirements regarding domestic violence employee protections provided by Labor Code section 230.1. Despite the protections under current law, many employees remain uninformed about their employment-related rights when it comes to domestic violence. This new bill requires employers of 25 or more to provide written notice to employees of their rights to take protected leave for domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Employers must inform each employee of his or her rights upon hire and at any time upon request. The Labor Commissioner must develop and post online a form that employers may use to satisfy these new notice requirements by July 1, 2017. An employer’s obligation to comply with these new disclosure requirements will become effective when the Labor Commissioner posts the new form.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 12, 2016
On August 22, 2016, a California Court of Appeal held that an arbitration agreement in an employee handbook did not create an enforceable agreement to arbitrate. Esparza v. Sand & Sea, Inc. et al., B268420 (Aug. 22, 2016). The employee handbook at issue stated, “[T]his handbook is not intended to be a contract . . . nor is it intended to otherwise create any legally enforceable obligations on the part of the Company or its employees.” Although the employee signed the handbook acknowledgement form, which mentioned the arbitration agreement contained in the handbook, the form did not state that the employee agreed to the arbitration. As such, the appellate court held that the trial court properly denied the employer’s petition to compel arbitration. This case emphasizes the importance of employers having standalone arbitration agreements for employees or removing landmines that may be lurking in their handbooks.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 22, 2016
By now, California employers are probably aware of the “Ban the Box” movement sweeping the nation. Lawmakers and government agencies aim to provide applicants with a fair chance at employment by eliminating conviction history inquiries in background checks, interviews, and applications. Over 100 cities and counties nationwide have adopted similar initiatives to prevent employers from inquiring about and then rejecting applicants from positions based on their criminal history. President Obama has even endorsed the hiring reform, requiring that federal agencies delay inquiries into criminal records.
FordHarrison LLP • August 02, 2016
Executive Summary: In a decision that will likely be seen as a win for employees, a sharply divided California Supreme Court ruled that the question of whether a court or an arbitrator decides if an arbitration agreement permits class claims should be determined on a case-by-case basis, specifically focusing on the agreement's terms and resolving any ambiguities in favor of the non-drafting party. Given the high stakes nature of class proceedings and limited review of arbitrators' rulings, we strongly recommend all employers seeking to avoid class arbitration have their agreements reviewed.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 02, 2016
Does the court or the arbitrator decide whether the parties to an arbitration agreement intended class arbitration where the agreement does not contain an express class action waiver? The California Supreme Court responded that there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer and the issue is a matter of contract determined by state law contract interpretation principles.
Fisher Phillips • June 09, 2016
This month, the Cities of Los Angeles and San Diego passed paid sick leave and minimum wage ordinances to go into effect soon. While all California employers have been required to provide paid sick leave to employees since July 1, 2015, these new local ordinances create an increasingly complicated web for compliance, particularly for employers with multiple locations.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • April 14, 2016
Within the last few weeks, California has raised its minimum wage and expanded its paid family leave rights. Another bill expanding employee rights that is pending in the State Legislature is SB 878. This bill is designed to require California grocery, retail, and restaurant employers to provide employees advance notice of their work schedules and to pay its employees “modification pay” for any unilateral changes that the employer makes to the schedule thereafter.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • March 30, 2016
Today, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc., rejecting an employee’s argument that her arbitration agreement with her employer was unconscionable and unenforceable simply because it permitted the parties to seek a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction in court pending completion of an arbitration. The plaintiff argued that this provision unfairly favored the employer because employers are more likely to benefit from such a provision than an employee (because employers more commonly seek restraining orders and/or injunctive relief relating to claims against an employee for misappropriation of trade secrets and similar wrongful business practices).
Ogletree Deakins • March 29, 2016
On March 28, 2016, the Supreme Court of California issued another ruling on the enforceability of arbitration agreements. In Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc. (S208345), the court considered the enforceability of an arbitration agreement authorizing the parties to seek provisional relief in a judicial action while still compelling the remainder of the dispute to arbitration. According to the court, the clause carving out provisional relief from the arbitration obligation “which does no more than restate existing law . . . does not render the agreement unconscionable.” Moreover, the court reiterated that an arbitration agreement remains enforceable even when it only lists claims that would likely be brought by an employee and does not list claims that might be brought by an employer. The decision provides much needed clarity and flexibility to employers implementing arbitration agreements in California.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • February 23, 2016
California's Fair Employment and Housing Council has issued proposed regulations concerning the use of criminal history information in employment decisions. The proposed regulations set forth pre-existing statutory prohibitions on using or inquiring about the following types of criminal history about an employee or applicant, when making employment decisions such as hiring, promotion, training, discipline, and termination:
Ogletree Deakins • February 12, 2016
On October 27, 2015, the California Court of Appeal, in an unpublished decision, issued yet another ruling applying the unconscionability doctrine to arbitration agreements in the employment context. In Prince v. Pletcher, B260864, a former production company employee alleged that the defendants violated California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and committed various other wrongs including fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of contract. The defendants moved to compel arbitration and the plaintiff argued that, among other things, the arbitration agreement was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the defendants’ motion to compel arbitration.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 09, 2016
Denying an employer’s motion to compel individual arbitration of a wage and hour class action, a California federal court ruled that the employer’s dispute resolution program violated its employees’ right to engage in concerted action under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Totten v. Kellogg Brown & Root, LLC. Notably, this ruling departs from the established trend of federal courts declining to follow the precedent set in In re D.R. Horton, Inc. (“Horton I”) and has significant implications for employers contemplating whether to remove a class action involving the enforcement of arbitration agreements to federal court.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 21, 2015
On December 14, 2015, in DirecTV, Inc. v. Imburgia, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a California State Court of Appeal decision that had invalidated an arbitration provision based on language from the agreement rendering the entire arbitration provision unenforceable if the “law of your state” makes class-arbitration waivers unenforceable.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 04, 2015
The California Court of Appeal ruled that an automobile dealership that translated a sales contract into Spanish, but neglected to include the arbitration clause in the translated agreement, could not enforce the arbitration agreement. Ramos v. Westlake Services, LLC, A141353. Although the case involved a commercial transaction, it has important implications for employers who use arbitration agreements with employees whose primary language is other than English.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • November 02, 2015
Earlier this week, a California Court of Appeal issued its published opinion in Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial U.S., holding that a class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable. You're thinking, "Wait, I thought the California Supreme Court ruled in Iskanian that class action waivers are enforceable." Well, you are right, but this court found a way around Iskanian.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • September 30, 2015
The Ninth Circuit issued a surprising decision (disagreeing with the view of many California district courts), holding that the California Supreme Court’s Iskanian v CLS Transportation decision is not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). In Iskanian, the California Supreme Court held that while class action waiver provisions in arbitration agreements are enforceable, a PAGA representative action waiver is not enforceable because employees have an unwaivable statutory right to bring a representative PAGA claim against their employers. The California Supreme Court reasoned that a PAGA plaintiff essentially stands in the shoes of the state in bringing the claim and acts in large part to collect penalties on behalf of the state. In this way, the intent of the statute would be frustrated if employees could be required to waive the right to pursue a representative PAGA action. The Court further held that the FAA does not require that California enforce a PAGA waiver in an arbitration agreement.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 30, 2015
Declining to enforce a representative action waiver contained in an arbitration agreement, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, has held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not preempt California’s “Iskanian rule,” which prohibits waiver of representative claims under the state Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code § 2698 et seq. Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc., No. 13-55184 (9th Cir. Sept. 28, 2015).
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 16, 2015
In the last few years, there has been a significant spike in the number of lawsuits challenging employer use of criminal background checks, including class action lawsuits brought under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.1 There also has been a sharp increase in the number of state and local laws that restrict when employers can ask job applicants to self-disclose their criminal history (so-called “ban the box” laws). Of course, employers also must be mindful of the types of conviction and arrest records that are considered “off limits” at the state and local level.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 26, 2015
If a background check includes information about a job applicant’s character, California’s background check law applies, the California Court of Appeal has held, rejecting an employer’s challenge to the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (Cal. Civ. Code § 1786 et seq.) (“ICRAA”). Connor v. First Student, Inc., No. B256075 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 12, 2015).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 26, 2015
An employment arbitration agreement that incorporated the American Arbitration Association’s National Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes vested the arbitrator with the power to decide whether the agreement authorized class-wide relief, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Universal Protection Service LP v. Superior Court, No. C078557 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 18, 2015). The Court denied an employer’s petition to set aside the trial court’s order compelling class arbitration and ordered that the arbitrator should determine the class issue.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 05, 2015
An arbitration clause in a consumer agreement was enforceable, including the class action waiver, despite four supposedly one-sided arbitration provisions in the agreement, the California Supreme Court has held. Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC, No. S199119 (Aug. 3, 2015). The much-anticipated decision has significant implications for arbitration agreements between employers and employees.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 15, 2015
Significant amendments to California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, also known as the California Paid Sick Leave Law, went into effect immediately upon Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on Assembly Bill no. 304 on July 13, 2015.
Fisher Phillips • July 15, 2015
California’s paid sick leave law went into effect on July 1, 2015, but soon found itself in the emergency room with many unpleasant side effects. On July 13, Governor Brown signed AB 304 into law, which fixes many of the defects and ambiguities in the original law (AB 1522) that confounded employers as they tried to enact paid sick leave policies by July 1.
Ogletree Deakins • July 15, 2015
California Governor Brown signed legislation on July 13, 2015 that aims to clarify and improve California’s new paid sick leave law that requires employers to offer employees 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year as of July 1, 2015. The amendments are effective immediately.
Fisher Phillips • July 02, 2015
It’s a beguiling option. Companies that classify workers as independent contractors receive a number of benefits, including elimination of payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance withholdings. Additionally, independent contractors are not entitled to overtime, double-time pay, or meal and rest breaks. The appeal of classifying workers as independent contractors can’t be questioned.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 25, 2015
The wave of new sick leave legislation continues across the country. At the same time, state and local governments continue to refine existing laws to address new laws passed, as well as the complexities that surround providing for and administering paid sick leave benefits.
Ogletree Deakins • June 04, 2015
Mere weeks before sick pay becomes mandatory in California, the state legislature is racing to cure what is ailing employers. Beginning on July 1, 2015, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) will obligate employers in California to offer sick pay to employees in nearly every category. The minimum obligation is to provide sick pay at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked or a lump sum allocation of 3 days or 24 hours per year.
Ogletree Deakins • May 21, 2015
Mandatory sick pay is coming to California in less than 60 days. Beginning July 1, 2015, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) will obligate employers in California to offer sick pay to nearly every category of employee. The minimum obligation is to provide sick pay at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked or a lump sum allocation of 3 days or 24 hours per year. As the start date approaches, here are 10 tips to help ensure that your sick pay policy complies with the law:
Ogletree Deakins • May 04, 2015
Valdez v. Santa Lucia Preserve Co., No. H040685 (March 23, 2015): In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District overturned a trial court’s ruling denying an employer’s motion to compel arbitration. In applying California’s Armendariz standard, the court disagreed with the trial court’s order and found that the plaintiff’s arguments lacked merit to establish substantive unconscionability. In finding that such substantive unconscionability was not present in the agreements, the court, importantly, did not reach the question of procedural unconscionability (or severance) as an arbitration agreement is unconscionable only if both procedural and substantive unconscionability is found.
Ogletree Deakins • May 04, 2015
Serafin v. Balco Properties Ltd., LLC, No. A141358 (March 16, 2015): The California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District recently upheld an arbitration award in favor of an employer despite the employee’s arguments that (1) she never entered into a binding agreement to arbitrate her employment-related claims and, in the alternative, that (2) the agreement was unconscionable.
FordHarrison LLP • April 24, 2015
Executive Summary: In a public webinar recently hosted by the California Department of Industrial Relations regarding California's new paid sick leave law, the state labor agency commented that requiring employees to submit documentation as a condition for payment of sick leave arguably can interfere with the employee's use of paid sick leave. While the agency's response was for informational purposes only and, thus, not legally binding, employers in California are advised to exercise caution when implementing the state's new paid sick leave law.
Ogletree Deakins • February 24, 2015
As the July 1, 2015 deadline for employers to implement California’s new paid sick leave law approaches, employers are finding a number of ambiguities in the law that make it challenging to implement. The Office of the Labor Commissioner seems to be facing the same challenges, because it recently changed its position with respect to the notice provisions of the law.
Ogletree Deakins • December 02, 2014
California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has published a poster and wage notice for employers to use in compliance with AB 1522, California’s new mandatory sick pay law.
Ogletree Deakins • November 10, 2014
On September 10, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. The Act requires California employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked starting on July 1, 2015. Since the California legislature passed the law and even before Governor Brown signed it, we have received many questions regarding how the law works and what employers must do to prepare for it. Below, we have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the law. Topics include employers’ sick leave obligations, administration of sick leave, and the interplay between sick leave and other state and local leave requirements.
Ogletree Deakins • October 31, 2014
As Election Day quickly approaches, California employers are reminded that the state voting leave law allows employees to take time off to vote in a statewide election.
Ogletree Deakins • September 30, 2014
This weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1897. This bill creates new Labor Code section 2810.3, which applies to all but a very limited number of companies with 25 or more employees (i.e., the “client employer”) that obtain or are provided workers to perform work within their “usual course of business” from companies that provide workers (i.e., “labor contractors”).
Fisher Phillips • September 11, 2014
On September 10, 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.” This law will require California employers to grant employees, including some part-time and temporary employees, at least three paid sick days each year.
Ogletree Deakins • September 11, 2014
On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that provides workers with three paid sick days per year. Governor Brown enthusiastically endorsed the law’s passage in August when the California legislature passed the bill. The new law, entitled the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” requires California employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked starting on July 1, 2015. More details on the new law’s provisions can be found in our blog post, “BREAKING NEWS: California Legislature Passes Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Bill.”
Ogletree Deakins • September 03, 2014
When an employee who has signed an arbitration agreement files a lawsuit alleging individual claims along with class action claims, and the trial court has ordered him to take his individual claims to arbitration, what happens to the class claims? A California appellate court recently addressed that question in a case titled Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive, Inc. California Court of Appeal, No. B244412 (June 25, 2014).
Ogletree Deakins • June 30, 2014
Two divisions of the California Court of Appeal recently issued two significant decisions on arbitration agreements. Both courts held that a trial court lacks authority to determine the enforceability of an arbitration agreement if the agreement has a provision delegating that authority to an arbitrator.
Ogletree Deakins • April 17, 2014
Sanchez v. CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC, B244772 (March 4, 2014): The California Court of Appeal recently found that an employer’s arbitration agreement and dispute resolution rules and procedures (DRRP) are not “unduly harsh, oppressive, or one-sided” even though they set limitations on discovery and require the employee to complete an arbitration request form. The three-judge panel rejected the trial court’s decision to deny the employer’s motion for arbitration on the basis that the arbitration agreement and DRRP “are permeated with unconscionability.”
Ogletree Deakins • December 31, 2013
Volpei v. County of Ventura, No. B243954 (November 7, 2013): In a recent decision, a California Court of Appeal held that an arbitration provision in a collective bargaining agreement did not waive an employee’s individual right to sue the employer. The court held that the arbitration provision did not include a clear and unmistakable statement that arbitration was the sole remedy for statutory claims, such as claims brought under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Ogletree Deakins • October 28, 2013
Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, No. S174475, (October 17, 2013): As expected following the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States interpreting the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), the California Supreme Court struck down its own rule on arbitration agreements. In Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, the state’s highest court categorically prohibited the waiver of a Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) Berman hearing in a mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreement as preempted by the FAA. The court kept alive, however, challenges to such arbitration agreements where the employee can show that such agreements are found to be unconscionable.
Ogletree Deakins • September 25, 2013
The impact of the California Court of Appeal’s recent opinion in Brown v. Superior Court, 216 Cal. App. 4th 1302 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013) is on hold, at least for now. Last week, the California Supreme Court indicated it would grant review in the case that has drawn the attention of employment lawyers and those who regularly deal with arbitration disputes. As discussed in a previous post, Brown was California’s latest exception to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion. Concepcion held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempted a state law disfavoring arbitration agreements, even where the state law was desirable for unrelated reasons. Brown—adopting similar reasoning as another California Court of Appeal case—potentially narrowed the scope of Concepcion in California, holding that an arbitration clause waiving the right to bring a representative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim was unenforceable. Although Concepcion contained no public purpose exception in its ruling, the Brown court held that a class action waiver could not be enforced as to the PAGA claim because it “wholly prevents the exercise of a [state] statutory right intended for a predominantly public purpose.”
Fisher Phillips • December 21, 2012
There has long been a requirement for California employers, and out-of-state employers with employees in California, to report the hiring of new employees working in California to the California Employment Development Department’s (EDD) New Employee registry. These reporting requirements were designed to assist the state in locating parents who are delinquent in their child support payments and to assist in the early detection and recovery of Unemployment Insurance benefit overpayments.
Fisher Phillips • October 13, 2011
Effective January 1, 2012, California employers will have to avoid yet another potential legal hazard that haunts businesses with the threat of costly penalties: the unauthorized use of consumer credit reports regarding job applicants and current employees.
Ogletree Deakins • March 08, 2011
In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that arbitration agreements between employers and employees are not enforceable to the extent that they require employees to arbitrate their wage claims before they have a non-binding administrative hearing before the State Labor Commissioner (known as a â€œBermanâ€ hearing). The state high court held that any preclusion of an employeeâ€™s right to a Berman hearing violates public policy and is, therefore, unconscionable, and that the courtâ€™s holding was not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)
Ogletree Deakins • April 27, 2010
On April 26, the California Supreme Court issued a decision providing useful clarification to employers intending to revise or enforce existing mandatory arbitration agreements. In summary, the court ruled that: (1) clear error of law will serve as a basis for vacating an arbitrator’s award where the error deprives an employee of a hearing on the merits of their Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claims or other unwaivable statutory claims; (2) arbitration agreements may lawfully preclude employees from pursuing administrative adjudication of their state law claims; and (3) in FEHA cases, the Supreme Court’s prior holding in Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services, Inc. requires that arbitrators state reasons for their written decisions in sufficient detail to provide a meaningful basis for judicial review – mere written conclusions are not enough.
Fisher Phillips • June 12, 2008
A new California statute that prohibits motorists from using a hand-held cellular telephone while driving becomes effective July 1, 2008. Motorists who are 18 years of age or older may use a "hands-free" device while driving. Motorists under age 18 are not permitted to talk on a cell phone at all while driving, whether via a hands-free device or otherwise. This prohibition only applies to drivers, not to passengers. There will be a $20 fine for the first violation and $50 per violation for subsequent offenses. The only exception in the law is for calls made during emergencies to 911 or a health-care provider.
Ogletree Deakins • April 24, 2007
Does the Federal Arbitration Act preempt claims for unpaid wages under California law?