California Employment Legislation

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?

**This is an updated version of our September 2, 2020 post.** 

A new California statute will significantly expand current family and medical leave laws, by expanding the obligation to provide job-protected leave to small businesses with as few as five employees, allowing leave to be taken for additional reasons, and eliminating certain exceptions to employer obligations to provide leave.
Continue Reading California Expands Family and Medical Leave Entitlements

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 685 into law, establishing new requirements for employers to notify employees and their unions about a potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.  The new law, which will be in effect from January 1, 2021, until January 1, 2023, also requires employers to report a COVID-19 “outbreak” at the worksite to local health authorities.  Further, AB 685 relaxes the pre-citation requirements that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) must follow before issuing a citation for a serious violation related to COVID-19.  This article breaks down the various requirements of the new law and identifies potential complications or issues that employers should be aware of when attempting to comply with the new requirements.
Continue Reading Enactment of AB 685 Establishes COVID-19 Exposure Notice Requirements for California Employers and Cal/OSHA Enforcement Changes

On September 19, 2020, California’s new law requiring large employers to provide employees with COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“CSPSL”) becomes effective.  The new CSPSL requirement will be codified as Labor Code section 248.1 and was enacted via Assembly Bill (AB) 1867, which Governor Newsom signed into law on September 9, 2020.  In addition to addressing other leave and COVID-19 related items, AB 1867 also codified the existing CSPSL requirements for certain food sector workers under Executive Order N-51-20 as new Labor Code section 248.  In an effort to get employers up to speed on both section 248 and 248.1, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) published its responses to frequently asked questions on the new requirement to provide CSPSL.  This article briefly summarizes the key requirements of the new CSPSL law for non-food sector workers and identifies specific issues that employers in California should attend to as they hastily roll out the leave to employees.
Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know About California’s New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law

California is likely to significantly expand its family and medical leave laws, by expanding the obligation to provide job-protected leave to small businesses with as few as five employees, allowing leave to be taken for additional reasons, and eliminating certain exceptions to employer obligations to provide leave.
Continue Reading California to Potentially Expand Family and Medical Leave Entitlements

On April 29, 2020, the City of Los Angeles issued a new ordinance, entitled “COVID-19 Right of Recall,” that requires covered employers in Los Angeles to offer priority hiring for laid off rank and file workers, and to allow those workers 5 business days to accept or deny the offer of employment.  Specifically, covered employers must send written offer letters – via mail, email, and written text message – to laid off workers for positions the person is qualified for that become available after June 14, 2020.  A laid off worker is qualified for a position if he or she held the same or similar position at the same site of employment prior to his or her separation, or can be qualified with the same training offered to a new worker hired into that position.

The ordinance takes effect on June 14, 2020.
Continue Reading Priority Hiring Required for Laid Off Workers of Covered Employers in Los Angeles

On March 19, 2020, Los Angeles County and City officials issued separate orders which significantly restrict public mobility and business operation in Los Angeles in an effort to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.

hsr filings, Coronavirus


Continue Reading Los Angeles County and City Ban Gatherings and Order Immediate Closure of “Nonessential” Businesses in an Effort to Curb COVID-19: What You Need to Know About L.A.’s Safe At Home Orders

On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a mandatory “stay-at-home” order, directing all California residents to stay home or at their place of residence.  This order has taken immediate effect and is in place until further notice.
Continue Reading California Statewide Stay at Home Order: What Employers Need to Know

A new change to California’s Civil Discovery Act has all of the trappings of a burdensome and costly requirement for employer defendants litigating in California state court. In addition to a litany of new California employment laws discussed in prior blog posts, Governor Gavin Newsom also signed into law SB 370, which became effective on January 1, 2020. SB 370 now requires the producing party in a civil litigation to identify the specific document request number to which documents are responsive. Although this new requirement will likely increase defense costs for many employers, as we discuss below, it can also be used to help streamline document demands while providing greater opportunities to incorporate technological solutions into the discovery process.
Continue Reading The Cost and Burden of Discovery for California Employers Will Likely Increase in 2020

As reported here and here, California recently enacted new legislation – Assembly Bill 5 – that expanded the scope of an “employee” under state law.  Beginning January 1, 2020, the answer to whether a person providing services in California is an independent contractor (as opposed to an employee) under the California Labor Code, the Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Orders, and the California Unemployment Insurance Code, will generally depend on whether they satisfy all three prongs of the so-called ABC Test:

  1. The worker must be free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work.
  2. The worker must perform work outside the “usual course” of the hirer’s business.
  3. The worker must be customarily engaged in an independent established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.

There are a myriad of occupational and industry exemptions to the application of the ABC Test, many of which are highlighted here.

Having tightened independent contractor classification standards, the next big target for the state legislature may be joint employer liability.


Continue Reading Back to the Joint Employer: Having Changed the Classification Test for Independent Contractors, Will the California Legislature Target the Joint Employer Test Next?

On October 9, 2019, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal issued a decision clarifying the rate of pay at which an employer must pay meal period, rest break, and recovery period premiums. More specifically, the appellate court answered the question: what does the “regular rate of compensation” in Labor Code Section 226.7(c) actually mean? In Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, a 2-1 majority of the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s holding that in paying meal period and rest break premiums, the regular rate of compensation is equal to one hour of the employee’s base hourly wage and is not synonymous with the “regular rate of pay” used to calculate overtime payments. This clarification is important to every employer in California.
Continue Reading California Appellate Court Clarifies the Monetary Amount for Meal Period, Rest Break, and Recovery Period Premiums, and Affirms an Employer’s Neutral Rounding Policy