On November 19, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously adopted emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention in the workplace.  For much of the pandemic, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) has advised employers to follow its general and industry-specific guidance on various measures to implement to minimize the risk of employees’ exposure to COVID-19.  However, the new emergency standards will be binding and enforceable against nearly all California employers.  The emergency standards will become effective immediately on November 30, 2020, if approved as expected by the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) after the required 10-day review period.  Thus, employers must act quickly to ensure they are in compliance with the new standards and the requirement to prepare and implement a written COVID-19 Prevention Program.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Adopts New COVID-19 Emergency Standards Requiring Immediate Action by Employers in California

When it comes to whether unions have a right to enter an employer’s premises over the employer’s objections, California’s law is the polar opposite of the National Labor Relations Act and the law in most other states.  In California, unions generally have special access rights that nonlabor parties do not have.  Unions are given preferential treatment because of the state’s union-friendly public policies.  However, this may soon change due to the Supreme Court’s recent order granting a hearing in Cedar Point Nursery et. al. v. Hassid where the issue presented is:
Continue Reading SCOTUS to Consider Whether California Unconstitutionally “Takes” Private Property When It Compels Employers to Grant Union Access to Private Property

Since 2005, California employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training every 2 years to each supervisory employee, and to new supervisory employees within 6 months of their assumption of a supervisory position.  However, all employers may not yet know that the California anti-harassment training requirements were significantly expanded by the California legislature (SB 1343 and SB 788 – to read the prior article, click here).  Now, California employers with 5 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training and education by January 1, 2021 to not just supervisory employees, but non-supervisory employees as well. This new law requires many California employers to provide anti-harassment training, for the first time, in both English and Spanish. Specifically,

Continue Reading California’s Deadline is Fast Approaching: Employers Must Complete Harassment Prevention Training for English and Spanish-Speaking Workforces by Year’s End

In an effort to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, on October 28, 2020 Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 192 (the “Order”), mandating health and safety standards to protect New Jersey’s workers during the pandemic.  Effective November 5, 2020, the Order requires every business, non-profit and governmental or educational entity to implement certain protocols to protect employees, customers, and all others who come into physical contact with its operations. Key takeaways are summarized below.
Continue Reading New Jersey Governor Murphy Orders New COVID-19 Workplace Protocols

California voters resoundingly approved Prop 24, also known as the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) and CCPA 2.0—yet again shaking up California’s privacy laws and making California the epicenter for digital privacy rights in the United States. This article answers questions about how the CPRA changes existing laws and impacts “sensitive personal information” maintained by businesses about their applicants, employees, and independent contractors.
Continue Reading Riding the Privacy Wave: California Privacy Rights Act & Its Impact on Employers

On January 1, 2021, various new and amended employment laws will go into effect in California. Below is a summary of some of these laws that employers should make themselves aware of heading into the new year.  All laws discussed in this post go into effect on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted.
Continue Reading New Employment Laws to Look Out for in 2021

On September 17, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 2694, the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”), in a 329-73 vote.  The Senate will now consider the bill, which, if passed, would require employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant workers and employees with pregnancy-related conditions.  The bill would clarify an employer’s obligations set forth in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision Young v. UPS, 135 S. Ct. 1338 (2015) and subsequent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) guidance.
Continue Reading Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act Heads to the Senate

On September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1947 into law.  Effective January 1, 2021, AB 1947 will, among other things, authorize courts to award attorneys’ fees to whistleblowers who prevail against employers under Labor Code section 1102.5.  This amendment will likely incentivize employees (and their lawyers) to bring retaliation claims against California employers.  For our previous analysis of this bill, click here.

Continue Reading Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuits Are About to Become More Expensive in California

In Alfredo Sanchez v. Miguel Martinez, the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, held that although an employee who is not authorized and permitted to take a paid 10-minute rest break in compliance with California law may assert a claim for either unpaid wages or seek one additional hour of pay (i.e., a rest break premium) under Labor Code Section 226.7, the employee cannot recover damages under both theories.  All California employers will find this case instructive, as it may also provide a basis to argue against similar “double recovery” and/or “stacking” of penalties predicated on other Labor Code violations.

Continue Reading Employees Cannot Obtain “Double Recovery” of Unpaid Wages and Premiums for Non-Compliant Rest Breaks

As we previously reported, New York State’s Paid Sick Leave law (“NYSPSL”) went into effect on September 30, 2020.  While employees are not permitted to take sick leave under NYSPSL until January 1, 2021, many questions remain regarding employers’ obligations under the law.  On October 21, in the midst of this interim period, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYS DOL”) published a set of FAQs addressing some of the ambiguities in the law, but perhaps raising others. Key takeaways are summarized below.
Continue Reading New York State Releases First Guidance on New Paid Sick Leave Law

Amid a bevy of legislation crossing the Governor’s desk directly relating to the ongoing public health crisis, Governor Newsom approved AB 1947 with little public fanfare, but significant implications for employers.  The new legislation amends the Labor Code in two substantive ways:  (1) it lengthens the period of time in which employees can file complaints with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”); and (2) authorizes a court to award reasonable attorney’s fees to a plaintiff who prevails in a “whistleblower” action under Labor Code § 1102.5.  While not expressly considered “coronavirus” legislation, it is clear the coronavirus pandemic influenced the Legislature’s decision to further expand certain rights under California’s workplace antiretaliation laws.
Continue Reading AB 1947’S New Filing Period for DLSE Claims and Attorney’s Fees Provisions: Coronavirus Legislation in Sheep’s Clothing?