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

U.S. Supreme Court’s Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo Opinion Reaffirms The Importance Of Challenging Plaintiff’s Experts In Class Actions

On March 22, 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, et al., No. 14-1146, a class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule 23”) and a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The issue on appeal involved the extent to which statistical evidence may be used as common proof of liability in class and representative actions.  The Court specifically limited its ruling to the facts of that case, holding that a class plaintiff may use statistical sampling to determine classwide liability (which has been dubbed “trial by formula”) only when there is a scientifically viable way to extrapolate the results of a sample to any particular class member.  Continue Reading

Non-Union Employee’s “Bad Attitude” Protected by the NLRA

As a reminder that non-union employees are also protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago recently upheld a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision holding that Staffing Network Holdings, LLC (“Staffing Network”) violated the NLRA by twice threatening non-union employees with discharge for engaging in protected, concerted activity, and for actually discharging an employee Griselda Barrera for the same. See Staffing Network Holdings, LLC v. NLRB. Continue Reading

Beware of Email Requests from the C-Suite to Transfer Employee Data

Human Resources and payroll professionals are being targeted by sophisticated cyber criminals to steal employee data.  The email phishing scam works like this:  the bad guy sends an email to employees in the human resources or payroll department spoofing an email from a company executive, usually the CEO or CFO.  Email spoofing is the forgery of an email header so the message appears to have originated from the c-suite but actually belongs to a cybercriminal. The email may seek confidential information about the company’s employees, such as their Social Security Numbers and W-2 forms, or may ask that funds be immediately sent, via wire transfer, to a bank account number (commonly associated with a bank overseas).  Recipients of spoofed emails are deceived into disclosing the protected data that is then used to submit employees’ tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service or for other illegal activity such as transferring company funds to accounts from which they cannot be retrieved. Continue Reading

Higher Pay and More Sick Leave Coming to Santa Monica Employees

Continuing the trend of increasing minimum wages throughout California and the country, the Santa Monica City Council voted to approve a minimum wage ordinance, which becomes effective on July 1, 2016. The ordinance is similar to that passed in the city of Los Angeles and includes phased increases of minimum wage for employees within the city of Santa Monica through 2020.  Qualifying non-profits and employers with 25 or fewer employees will have a one-year delay to 2021 to reach the top minimum wage rate. Continue Reading

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