UPDATE: San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights

We wanted to provide an update on our earlier report about recent legislative happenings in San Francisco. (A link to our earlier article can be found here.)  The San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights became law on December 5, 2014, 10 days after it was passed by the Board of Supervisors and presented to Mayor Lee.  Under Section 3.103 of the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco, an ordinance becomes law if the mayor neither signs nor disapproves of the ordinance within 10 days of the date it was presented to the mayor for consideration.

The effective date of the San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights is January 4, 2015, and the law becomes operative on July 3, 2015.

Employers Beware! Employees are Permitted to Use Employer’s Email Systems for Non Work Purposes, Including Union Organizing

Overturning existing precedent, the NLRB has ruled that certain employees have a right to use employer email systems for protected communications, unless special circumstances exist. This decision potentially has far-reaching implications and all employers who allow employees to access their email systems should promptly review their policies and practices in light of this decision.

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An In-Depth Analysis of the NLRB’s Decision to Permit Employees to Use Employer Email Systems for Union Organizing and Other Non-Work Purposes

The rights of employees under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act have been given quite the digital treatment over the last few years.  In its newest decision issued on December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that “employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time must presumptively be permitted by employers who have chosen to give employees access to their email systems.”  The full decision can be found here.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Security Screening Time is Non-Compensable Under Federal Law and The Portal-to-Portal Act

In a decision issued on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court ruled that employees are not entitled to compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for the time they spend waiting to undergo, and actually do undergo, security screenings.  The Court’s unanimous decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, et al., reverses a judgment of the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit which found that Integrity Staffing employees could state an unpaid wages claim under the FLSA for undergoing a daily security screening because the screenings were required by, and for the benefit of, their employer.

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San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights

On November 25, 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed two ordinances that are collectively referred to as the San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights:  (1) the “Hours and Retention Protections for Formula Retail Employees” ordinance and (2) the “Fair Scheduling and Treatment of Formula Retail Employees” ordinance.  The San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights must be passed by Mayor Edwin Lee in order to take effect.  However, even if the mayor were to veto the ordinances, the Board of Supervisors may be able to override the veto and enact the ordinances.

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How Will the White House Announcement on Immigration Affect Your Company?

Most companies will be impacted by the immigration initiatives announced by the White House this week.  It will take up to several months for the initiatives to be implemented in order to give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) time to ramp up.  And some of the initiatives are aspirational in nature so the end result and timing is unclear at this time.  Be advised that because these are executive acts, they are subject to repeal in the future.  The impact to employers includes the following:
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Ninth Circuit Rules That Twombly Standard of Specificity Applies to FLSA Pleadings

On November 12, 2014, in Greg Landers v. Quality Communications Inc., the Ninth Circuit clarified a previously unsettled point of law by confirming that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) pleadings must meet the specificity requirements established in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).  Affirming the dismissal of a proposed class action against cable services company Quality Communications Inc. for unpaid overtime wages, the three-judge panel ruled that the trial court had acted properly in dismissing the suit because, in light of Twombly and Iqbal, the plaintiff’s pleadings lacked sufficient specificity to state a claim under the FLSA.

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Brinker for Dummies

On November 13, 2014, the Second District Court of Appeal, Division One, issued a decision in Walgreen Co. Overtime CasesThe opinion explains the meaning of Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court as it applies to the duty to “provide” a meal period in a style that is so simple that a child could understand it.  Unfortunately, it is so clear in its conclusions that we fear that it will be depublished.

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U.S. and China Strike Visa Deal

The United States and China announced an agreement on November 10, 2014 whereby visitors to both countries will now be able to apply for 10-year multiple entry visas.  Previously visitors to both countries could only apply for visas for up to one year.  This was especially burdensome to frequent business travels.

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