As California cases of COVID-19 began to rise in early March, several California administrative agencies released information on COVID-19 employment issues, such as administration of paid sick leave, disability benefits, and unemployment insurance. Yet, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)—the agency charged with enforcement of California’s Fair Employment
Articles Discussing The California Fair Employment And Housing Act (FEHA).
The California Supreme Court recently held that the tort claim of conversion is not an appropriate vehicle for plaintiffs seeking recovery of unpaid wages. In Voris v. Lampert (Cal. 2019) Case No. S241812, the plaintiff brought suit against three start-up ventures and two individual defendants to recover wages which had been promised to the plaintiff but never paid.
In April 2018, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal. 5th 903, 916-17 and set forth the standards for determining independent contractor status for purposes of the California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. The Court presumed that a worker is an employee unless he or she meets the requirements of the “ABC Test.”
While best practices would be to use the employer’s registered name, a recent Court of Appeal opinion has upheld an employer’s use of its fictitious business name in its wage statements.
The September 30, 2018 deadline has come and gone for Governor Jerry Brown to evaluate the bills passed by the California legislature this year. In his last hurrah, Governor Brown has signed into law a jaw-dropping number of bills that pertain to labor and employment issues, ranging from expanded liability and training obligations surrounding sexual harassment to meal breaks for certain commercial drivers.
On June 21st, California legislature Democrats reached a tentative agreement with a group of consumer privacy activists spearheading a ballot initiative for heightened consumer privacy protections, in which the activists would withdraw the the existing ballot initiative in exchange for the California legislature passing, and Governor Jerry Brown signing into law, a similar piece of legislation, with some concessions, by June 28th, the final deadline to withdraw ballot initiatives. If enacted, the Act would take effect January 1, 2020.
On May 17, 2018, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Commission (“FEHC”) published the final text of its “Regulations Regarding National Origin Discrimination” (to be codified at 2 Cal. Code Regs. §§ 11027 & 11028). The regulations, which become effective July 1, 2018, expand the definition of “national origin” for purposes of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).
Jackson Lewis recently completed a series of seminars throughout California on many of the key California workplace law updates. On December 28, 2016, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) released its own 2016 Legislative Digest summarizing new laws that impact employees. The DIR Legislative Digest is the DIR’s summary of key laws and is helpful for employers to see their focus.
Executive Summary: It turns out that “protected activity” sufficient to make out a retaliation claim in California is not as broad as it may sometimes seem. On November 9, 2016, the Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for the employer in Dinslage v. City and County of San Francisco (A142365). The Court held that an employee can only state a prima facie case for retaliation under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act when the protected activity is directed at an unlawful employment practice.
On April 1, 2016, new California regulations take effect requiring employers to develop written anti-discrimination and harassment policies that meet numerous new and detailed requirements.1 These regulations require employers to develop and distribute anti-discrimination and harassment policies to employees in English as well as in any additional languages that are spoken by at least 10% of the workforce. The regulations also impose requirements for conducting discrimination and harassment investigations.
Two cases involving employees who were terminated shortly following protected leaves of absence lead to opposite results for the employers, with one case being dismissed and the other proceeding to trial. In one case, the California Court of Appeal rejected a bank employee’s claim that she was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for taking a domestic violence leave of absence. Rosales v. Moneytree, Inc. In the other, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that triable issues of fact existed regarding an outside sales representative’s claim that her employer terminated her in retaliation for her complaining about the amount of documentation requested to support her medical leave of absence. Furtado v. United Rentals Inc.
In Cardenas v. M. Fanaian, D.D.S., Inc., the 5th District of the California Court of Appeal held that Labor Code § 1102.5 prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who discloses information to a law enforcement agency where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal law. The Court clarified that section 1102.5 protects employees even where the report to law enforcement concerns a violation of law committed by a fellow employee or contractor, and not by the employer.
On July 16, 2015, AB 987 was signed into law by the Governor Jerry Brown which provides a paradigm shift in favor of employees with respect to their retaliation claims. The new law overturns the retaliation holding in Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635, and makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate or otherwise discriminate against a person for “requesting” an accommodation based on religion or disability.
Executive Summary: On September 10, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA), which provides nearly all employees working in California with paid sick leave. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2015.
The California Legislature is nearing its summer recess, which starts Thursday, July 3. June 27 was the deadline for policy committees to meet and decide whether to advance bills under consideration. The following is a snapshot of the major private sector employment law legislative activity before the recess: