Employers in New York City should begin to immediately take steps to ensure compliance with two new local laws that, beginning March 18, 2019, will impose stricter requirements on employers to accommodate nursing mothers. The new bills passed by the New York City Council became law on November 17, 2018, after Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to sign or veto the two pieces of legislation. While the new laws provide employers with a 120-day grace period, employers would be wise to utilize this short time period to understand the new requirements and undertake whatever efforts are necessary to be in compliance when the new requirements take effect this Spring. Continue Reading
On December 10, 2018, the California Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Gerard, et al. v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, affirming the Court of Appeal ruling that voluntary meal period waivers are permissible for healthcare employees who work long shifts, even if they work more than 12 hours. By allowing healthcare employees to waive one of their two meal periods, the Gerard decision preserves a choice for employees who work 12-hour shifts. They continue to have the flexibility to work shifts that span 12 ½ hours with one 30-minute meal period or shifts that span 13 hours and include two 30-minute meal periods.
Sheppard Mullin argued this case before the California Supreme Court and has represented Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in the case since 2008.
Not only was this case hard fought throughout California courts for 10 years, but it also involved novel legislative action. Notably, it was the only wage-hour victory for an employer before the California Supreme Court in 2018. Continue Reading
On November 20, 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. and Great America LLC to decide whether a technical violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), 740 ILCS 14 et seq., without some additional injury, is enough to give an individual standing to sue under the Act.
As explained in further detail here, BIPA establishes certain notice-and-consent requirements that private entities must follow if they are going to collect, store, and use biometric identifiers and information, such as fingerprints. BIPA also creates a private right of action for individuals who are “aggrieved” by a violation of the act. In recent years, there has been a huge upswing in the number of cases filed under BIPA. The main issue these cases encounter early on is whether a company’s mere technical violation of the notice-and-consent requirements is enough to make a plaintiff “aggrieved,” and therefore have standing to sue, or if additional injury is required.
With the rise of the #MeToo movement, companies have been forced to re-examine how they litigate and settle allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. Specifically, companies are facing increasing criticism if they compel claims of sexual harassment to private arbitration or force employees who allege sexual harassment to sign settlement agreements with confidentiality clauses, effectively shielding both the company and the alleged sexual harasser from public scrutiny. Continue Reading
In an effort to continue to raise awareness of human trafficking and provide available services to victims, beginning October 14, 2018, lodging facilities in New York State were required to provide informational cards in certain public spaces of the facilities.
Specifically, a recently enacted New York statute adds a section to the general business law, and requires every lodging facility to make informational cards available in plain view in the public restrooms, individual guest rooms, and near the public entrance or other conspicuous place in plain sight of the guests and employees. The legislature reasoned that the discrete size of an informational card may make it possible for a victim to take a card unnoticed and use the card to call the hotline for help at a later time. Continue Reading
A 21st Century Social Movement
In this age of interconnectivity, compelling societal movements have a never-before-seen speed and reach. Traditional means of spreading information and generating social change have been supplemented—if not outright replaced—by the near-instantaneous ability of an idea or cause to go viral on social media, regardless of its source. In 2018, the gatekeepers—and indeed, the gates—to disseminating content and generating popular support are being dismantled before our eyes. Nowhere over the past year was this more evident than in the #MeToo movement. Continue Reading
In Jesus Cuitlahuac Garcia v. Border Transportation Group, LLC, et al, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District has held that the ABC test set forth in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018) applies only to causes of action brought under wage orders.
Plaintiff Garcia was a taxicab driver for several years with Border Transportation Group (“BTG”). In 2015, a year after ceasing work for BTG, he sued BTG and two individual defendants for various wage and hour violations. Continue Reading
As detailed previously here, the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (the “Act”), goes into effect October 29, 2018. In general, the Act allows New Jersey employees to accrue one (1) hour of sick leave time per thirty (30) hours worked, and allows New Jersey employees to use earned sick leave time for: (i) diagnosis, care, treatment of, or recovery from the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for the employee’s preventive medical care; (ii) time to aid or care for a family member in one of the situations described in (i); (iii) time needed due to an employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence; (iv) closure of the workplace, school, or childcare facility issued by a public health authority due to a public health emergency; and (v) a school-related conference or meeting. A detailed summary of the Act’s other requirements can be found here. Continue Reading
Following a June 19, 2018 vote by District of Columbia residents to pass Initiative 77, which would provide a single minimum wage for all employees including tipped workers, the D.C. Council has voted to overturn the voter-approved Initiative.
On Sunday, September 30, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a number of bills that will have a significant impact on litigation and legal counseling in the employment context. Many of the new laws are a response to the traction gained by the “me-too” movement and are summarized herein. Continue Reading