California Legislative Update

Following the launch of the so-called “MeToo” movement, the California Legislature (controlled by a Democratic supermajority) has aggressively churned out new bills that further strengthen the ability for workers to sue their employers and increase the already-significant regulatory burden on these companies. This fall, the California Legislature is geared to send three significant bills to Governor Gavin Newsom that all California employers should carefully follow.
Continue Reading Three Major Workplace Bills to Land on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Desk

In a continuing trend that began with the launch of the MeToo Movement, the California legislature recently passed Assembly Bill 171, another proposed law designed to expand safeguards for employees who have been the victims of sexual harassment. This latest measure follows California’s enactment of a new law in 2017, which, as we discussed in a previous article, requires that employers provide all new (and certain current) employees with an explanation of rights for victims of sexual assault and stalking.
Continue Reading Coming Soon? Expanded Employment Protections for Victims of Sexual Harassment

California lawmakers passed over a dozen employment-related bills last year that imposed new or different obligations on California employers. Just as employers may be finally settling into the new world order and getting into compliance with the litany of new laws, there are two new legislative updates that employers must be aware of. These new pieces of legislation serve as an important reminder that employment laws are constantly changing, and employers caught flat footed may be left to suffer the consequences.

In a welcome change from Sacramento, on February 26, 2019, the California Senate introduced Senate Bill 778, which is designed to clarify when employers are required to provide sexual harassment training and education to employees under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and when retraining is required.
Continue Reading No Rest For The Weary – California Employment Legislation Update

On January 1, 2019, California’s Senate Bill No. 1431 went into effect, making a slight, but potentially significant amendment to Civil Code Section 1542. The prior version of the statute read: “A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.” SB 1431 amended Section 1542 to now read: “A general release does not extend to claims that the creditor or releasing party does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release and that, if known by him or her, would have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor or released party.” The amended version of the Code adds “releasing party” and “released party” alongside creditor and debtor, respectively, and also changes “must have materially affected” to “would have materially affected” the releasing party’s decision to settle.
Continue Reading California Legislature Amends Section 1542: Are Employer Settlement Agreements Now More Vulnerable to Attack?

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 #MeToo Changes the Face of Sexual Harassment Litigation for Employers

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 New Wave of Employment Bills Signed into Law

On September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that prohibits a provision in settlement agreements that prevents the disclosure of information pertaining to sexual harassment and sex discrimination. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019, and serves as an extension of the already-existing law that prohibits provisions in settlement agreements that prevent the disclosure of acts that could be prosecuted as felony sex offenses and certain sex offenses against children.
Continue Reading New California Law Puts an End to Secret Sexual Harassment Settlements

This post originally appeared in Law360 on June 14, 2018.

Earlier this year, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards Board and Office of Administrative Law approved a “Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program” that may result in sweeping changes to hospitality employers’ written policies and training practices concerning workplace injuries. The regulations take effect July 1, 2018, and affected employers have until Oct. 1, 2018, to complete their initial “work site evaluation.”


Continue Reading Preparing For New Calif. Hotel Housekeeper Regs

Currently working its way through the California Legislature is AB 2613, a potentially massive expansion of liability on employers and individuals for underpayment of wages.

AB 2613 seeks to amend the California Labor Code in three separate ways. First, Labor Code Section 210 would be amended to provide that an employer “or other person acting individually or as an officer, agent, or employee of another person” who fails to timely pay an employee’s wages (not merely final wages) owes a penalty of $200 to each affected employee for each pay period when the wages are late. Not only is this a substantial monetary penalty, but, importantly, the new requirements would impose this liability on individuals, not just the corporate employer. The new provision also makes clear that this new penalty is in addition to, and entirely independent of, any other damages or penalties under the Labor Code. The provision also explains that the $200 penalty cannot be waived by agreement of the employee. Interestingly, the bill further provides that the $200 penalty can be imposed against individuals who violate Labor Code Section 1197.5, which prohibits sex discrimination in wages.
Continue Reading California Legislature Introduces Bill That Could Result In Massive Penalties For Employers For Late Payment of Wages

The legalization of recreational use of marijuana in several states, including California, has left many employment policies vague and confused. This article offers insights to questions every employer should be asking in light of legalization.

California’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana

California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“Prop 64”) on November 8, 2016, legalizing recreational marijuana use. However, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control only began accepting, processing, and issuing licenses to commercial marijuana dispensaries as of January 1, 2018. As of April 2018, the Bureau has granted over 5,000 licenses for a variety of commercial uses, including retail sales and distribution.
Continue Reading It’s High Time to Update Your Marijuana Policies