Governor Brown recently approved Senate Bill No. 836, which amends the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) in a few minor technical ways, including new filing and notice requirements. Although employers had hoped for substantive changes following the Governor’s initial budget proposal which expressly acknowledged that “employers are being sued and incurring substantial costs defending against technical or frivolous claims,” the enacted amendments fail to deliver any major gains for employers. SB 836 amends PAGA in four main ways:
On March 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“USDOL”) Office of Labor-Management Standards (“OLMS”) published its highly controversial “persuader” regulation, which requires employers and labor relations consultants, including legal counsel, to publicly disclose relationships that have traditionally been permitted to remain confidential under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”). Although the new persuader regulations took effect on April 25, 2016, the new rule will not apply to agreements entered into before July 1, 2016. This presents an invaluable opportunity for employers and their labor consultants to be “grandfathered” out of much of the required reporting under the new regulations.
The cities of Los Angeles and San Diego recently approved minimum wage and sick leave ordinances that will apply to all employees who work within those cities’ geographical limits. Employers with employees who work in these cities will need to comply with those new ordinances, as well as the California state law requirements that already exist.
On May 26, 2016, in the matter of Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that an arbitration agreement, which required employees to submit to individual arbitration for any wage and hour claims against the company, violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and is unenforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). In issuing this decision, the Seventh Circuit gave credence to the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) decision in D. R. Horton and, in doing so, has created a split amongst U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal regarding the enforceability of arbitration agreements that preclude class actions.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.