DOL Makes Last-Minute Tweaks to New Overtime Exemption Rules

In March 2014, President Obama signed an executive order directing the Department of Labor to revise its aging rules governing overtime pay for white collar employees.  The Department solicited comments from the public on an earlier draft in July 2015.  Yesterday, the Department of Labor released the final version of the new rules.  The new version includes a number of changes—some expected, but others less so.

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Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express: The Reasonable Accommodation of an Employee’s Family

In Luis Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, the California Court of Appeal held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) – which requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities – now requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees who are associated with a disabled person.  This is an unprecedented decision and will likely to be appealed.  Until that time, employers should train supervisors to seek assistance from human resources when making accommodations decisions, and to treat any such decisions on a case-by-case basis.

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The Defend Trade Secrets Act – Coming to a Federal Court Near You

The Defend Trade Secrets Act (the “DTSA”), the first of its kind at the federal level, has been passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Now, the DTSA merely awaits President Obama’s expected signature to become law.  The DTSA has the potential to transform trade secret litigation and create more uniform case law nationwide.

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Onward and Upward – California’s Minimum Wage And Paid Family Leave Benefits Set To Increase Substantially Over The Next Few Years

April 2016 has proven fruitful for California employees.  Last month, Governor Brown approved a series of gradual increases raising the statewide minimum wage rate in California to at least $15.00 by 2022.  A week later the Governor approved Assembly Bill No. 908, which revises the income-based formula to calculate benefits for a leave of absence covered by either California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) or State Disability Income (SDI) programs for leave periods commencing on or after January 1, 2018.  Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Enforces Arbitration Provision in California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Agreement, Rejecting McCarran-Ferguson “Reverse Preemption”

A recent ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals underscores the Federal Arbitration Act’s (“FAA”) strong policy favoring enforcement of arbitration agreements—even in the insurance industry and despite federal policy generally favoring state regulation of the business of insurance. 

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San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City To Require Employer-Funded Paid Parental Leave

This month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance that provides six weeks of parental leave for bonding with a new child at 100% of the employee’s rate of pay (subject to certain caps).  The ordinance which will take effect beginning January 1, 2017, will make San Francisco the first U.S. city to require employer-paid parental leave.

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Department of Labor’s Long-Debated “Persuader” Regulations Expand the Scope of the Consulting Relationships that Must be Reported Under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (“OLMS”) recently issued its long-debated “persuader” regulations which, as of July 1, 2016, will require employers and their labor relations consultants, including legal counsel, to publicly disclose relationships which had long been permitted to remain confidential under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”).

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New York State Passes 12-Week Paid Family Leave Law

On April 4, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation adopting a 12-week paid family leave policy for New York employees (the “Paid Leave Law”). (The text of the Paid Leave Law can be found in Part SS of recently passed New York State Budget at the following link:  Budget). Once fully implemented, the Paid Leave Law will provide New York employees with up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for the purpose of (1) caring for a new child, (2) caring for a family member with a serious health condition, or (3) relieving family pressures when a family member, including a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent, is called to active military service. Continue Reading

New York State Minimum Wage Set to Increase to $15 Per Hour

On April 4, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law which will significantly increase the minimum wage in New York State from the current rate of $9, to $15 by the end of 2018 for many businesses in New York City, and to $15 by the end of 2021 for the New York City commuter counties of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester. The minimum wage for the remainder of the state will reach $12.50 by the end of 2020.  In enacting this law, New York joins California as the only two states in the country which have instituted a $15 minimum wage. Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: Arbitration Agreement Restating Existing Law Is Not Unconscionable

On March 28, 2016, the California Supreme Court handed down a long-awaited opinion in Baltazar v. Forever 21. Baltazar’s most important holding is that an arbitration agreement is not unconscionable merely because it restates existing law.  This ruling resolves a disagreement between state appellate courts that probably should never have arisen in the first place. Continue Reading

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