Amidst a wave of non-compete bans sweeping California, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Minnesota and, most recently, the nation via the Federal Trade Commission’s non-compete prohibition, Maine Governor Janet Mills departed from this growing trend and vetoed L.D. 1496, An Act To Prohibit Noncompete Clauses (“L.D. 1496”) in April 2024. If enacted, the L.D. 1496 would have effectively foreclosed employers from entering into non-compete clauses with employees in Maine.Continue Reading Maine Governor’s Veto of Non-Compete Ban Bucks Growing Trend Among States and Federal Trade Commission

On March 12, 2024, the Ninth Circuit published a decision in Ortiz v. Randstad Inhouse Services, LLC, holding that the Plaintiff Adan Ortiz (“Plaintiff”) qualified as a “transportation worker” under the Federal Arbitration Act, and was thus exempted from mandatory arbitration under the FAA. The district court rejected the employer’s arguments that Plaintiff was bound by the arbitration mandate under the FAA because he performed duties on a purely local basis. This case continues to establish that the scope of the “transportation worker” exemption under the FAA is broader than only those workers that physically move goods or people across state lines, such as truck drivers and cargo pilots.Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Finds Shipping Warehouse Employee Qualified as Exempt “Transportation Worker” Under the Federal Arbitration Act

On July 3, District Judge Ada Brown of the Northern District of Texas issued an order enjoining the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) from enforcing its “Final Rule” against plaintiffs Ryan, LLC (“Ryan”) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the “Chamber”). If implemented, the Final Rule would effectively render nearly all non-compete agreements unlawful. Accordingly, this opinion was one of the most highly anticipated judicial decisions in antitrust and labor and employment law in recent memory.Continue Reading Not So “Final”? Texas Federal Court Enjoins Enforcement of FTC’s Noncompete Ban, Leaving Future of Commission’s Rule in Doubt

As previously discussed, on June 18, 2024, California’s political leaders announced a tentative deal to reform a number of aspects of California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). On June 27, 2024, the PAGA reform bills, Senate Bill 92 and Assembly Bill 2288, were approved by the California Legislature and on July 1, 2024, Governor Newsom signed both bills into law. The PAGA reform bills contain urgency clauses such that the bills take effect upon signing. Both bills explicitly apply only to PAGA claims filed on or after June 19, 2024, or those PAGA claims for which the required notice to California’s Labor Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”) was filed on or after June 19, 2024. The PAGA reform bills add details to the previously announced key reform components of increased employee share of PAGA penalties, caps on penalties for employers who take steps to comply with the Labor Code or fix potential issues after receiving notice of a PAGA claim, and requiring the representative plaintiff to experience every alleged PAGA violation to have standing. These reform bills are likely to curb, but not eliminate PAGA litigation for California employers going forward.Continue Reading A Closer Look: Unpacking California’s Landmark PAGA Legislation

The Supreme Court will soon hear a wage and hour case with massive implications for employers defending claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Depending on the outcome, the high court’s decision could make it far more difficult for employers to prove a plaintiff/employee is exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. Continue Reading New SCOTUS Case Could Make Fair Labor Standards Act Claims More Difficult for Employers to Defend

California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) requires commercial cannabis entities to obtain a license from California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) to cultivate, distribute, transport, store, manufacture, process, and sell cannabis in the state of California. Since its enactment, MAUCRSA required licensees with 20 or more employees to enter into Labor Peace Agreements (“LPAs”) with “bona fide” labor organizations to receive and renew a license from the DCC, as previously outlined here. LPAs require commercial cannabis licensees and labor organizations to agree to not engage in conduct that would disrupt or interfere with the other’s dealings. In 2022, AB 195 reduced the employee threshold requirement by half, effective July 1, 2024. That means, effective July 1, 2024, all license applicants with 10 or more employees must comply with the LPA requirement to obtain a license, and all current licensees with 10 or more employees must so comply to renew their license. Continue Reading July 1 Deadline Looms for Cannabis Operators to Maintain and Renew Their Licenses by Entering into Labor Peace Agreements

On June 18, 2024, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas announced a tentative deal to reform a number of aspects of California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). While legislation is yet to be introduced, the publicly announced key components of PAGA reform include an increase in employees’ share of PAGA penalties, caps on penalties for employers who take steps to comply with the Labor Code or fix potential issues after receiving notice of a PAGA claim, and requiring the representative plaintiff to experience every alleged PAGA violation to have standing. This reform, if enacted, is likely to curb, but not eliminate PAGA litigation for California employers going forward.Continue Reading PAGA Reimagined: A New Chapter for California’s Employers and Employees

On November 2, 2023, the New York City Council passed a bill[1] requiring the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (“DCWP”), in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (“MOIA”), the New York City Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”), and community and labor organizations, to create and publish a workers’ bill of rights.Continue Reading New York City Employers Must Display Workers’ Bill of Rights Poster Beginning July 1, 2024

On March 8, 2024, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas dealt a serious blow to the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) efforts to further increase the reach of the National Labor Relations Act (“the NLRA”). Judge J. Campbell Barker struck down a final rule issued by the Board that would have drastically broadened the standard the Board applies to determine when employers are joint-employers for the purposes of federal labor law. The blow was delivered three days before the rule was set to take effect on March 11, 2024 following a 14-day stay order also issued by Judge Barker. Continue Reading Federal Judge’s Decision Deals Serious Blow to NLRB’s Joint Employer Rule and Continued Efforts to Expand Who Constitutes an Employer Under the NLRA

In Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, the case’s second appearance before the California Supreme Court in two years, the Supreme Court confirmed that an employer does not incur civil penalties for failing to report unpaid wages, or any other required information on a wage statement, if the employer reasonably believed that it was providing a complete accurate wage statement.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Confirms the “Knowing and Intentional” Standard of California’s Wage Statement Law Requires a “Knowing and Intentional” Violation

On April 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published its Final Rule clarifying the rights of employees to designate a non-employee representative to be present during workplace inspections. Notably, the designated non-employee representative may “accompany” the OSHA investigator during the physical walkaround portion of the inspection but may not “participate” in the inspection. The Final Rule will become effective May 31, 2024.Continue Reading OSHA Issues Final Rule Clarifying an Employee’s Ability to Have a Non-Employee Representative Present During Inspection