California Legislative Update

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?

2020 has been a transformative year of everlasting uncertainty and constant change: employee privacy is no exception. California laws impacting employee data are changing yet again. This article highlights what employers need to know about (1) recent amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act, and (2) what happens if the California Privacy Rights Act is approved by voters on November 3, 2020.
Continue Reading The Only Constant Is Change: How Evolving Privacy Laws Impact Employers

Effective immediately, Senate Bill (SB) 1159 is a new California law that establishes presumptions about workers’ compensation benefits for employees who contract COVID-19.  This article explains in a series of questions and answers what employers need to know about workers’ compensation under this new law if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Continue Reading Mother of All Presumptions 2.0: Expanding Workers Compensation Benefits to Employees That Test Positive for COVID-19

On July 1, 2020, as a result of rapid increases in the number of COVID-19 cases throughout California, and on the heels of the Fourth of July long weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom instructed businesses in 19 counties across the state to roll back their reopenings for at least the next three weeks.  The Governor’s instructions require the closure of:

  • All indoor, in-person dining at restaurants (outdoor dining and takeout are still permitted, so long as social distancing protocols are followed);
  • Indoor tasting rooms and wineries;
  • Indoor museums, zoos, and aquariums;
  • Indoor movie theaters and family entertainment centers; and
  • Cardrooms and satellite wagering facilities.


Continue Reading California Places More COVID-19 Related Restrictions on Businesses and Employers

On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a Stay At Home Order mandating that all California residents stay home, except as needed to support California’s essential critical infrastructure sectors.  This Order has no set end date.

However, as many states across the country begin to slowly reopen their economies, California Governor Gavin Newsom has now published a “Resilience Roadmap” that serves as the overarching plan for California’s incremental reopening.  The Resilience Roadmap is comprised of four stages with each stage gradually permitting the reopening of various businesses depending on the exposure risk that they pose.
Continue Reading A Roadmap to Resilience: Debriefing California’s Reopening Plan

On March 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-31-20 to ease restrictions on commercial drivers engaged in support of emergency relief efforts.  This new order was issued in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (“FMCSA”) Emergency Declaration 2020-02 announced last week to ensure the free flow of critical supplies and equipment in interstate commerce.
Continue Reading Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order Easing Restrictions on Commercial Drivers During COVID-19 Outbreak

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?

To close out the 2019 legislative season, Governor Gavin Newsom signed dozens of bills into law, which will have lasting impacts for California employers. In addition to the summaries and clarifications from prior blog posts, below is an overview of key new employment laws.
Continue Reading 2020 Vision: California’s New Employment Laws

On August 30, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 778, which effectively delayed employer sexual harassment training requirements established in 2018. As we have covered in previous articles, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, California lawmakers passed legislation intended to curb sexual harassment in the workplace. One such example was SB 1343, signed into law on September 30, 2018 by then Governor Jerry Brown. SB 1343 required employers with 5 or more employees, including temporary or seasonable employees, to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors and at least one hour of sexual harassment training to all nonsupervisory employees by January 1, 2020, and once every two years thereafter. The law specified that an employer who had provided this training to an employee after January 1, 2019 was not required to provide sexual harassment training and education by the January 1, 2020 deadline. However, as discussed in prior blog entries, this led to confusion among employers who were already providing anti-harassment training to their nonsupervisory employees. Under the letter of the current law, some of these employees would have to participate in the training twice in a 2-year period, at cost to the employer and providing little additional benefit to the employee.
Continue Reading One Year Reprieve: California Delays Employer Sexual Harassment Training Requirements to 2021