The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) recently announced a new effort to identify and correct violations of the Fair Chance Act.  The Fair Chance Act, which was enacted in January 2018 and is commonly known as California’s “ban-the-box” law, amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to prohibit employers with five or more employees from directly or indirectly inquiring into, seeking the disclosure of, or considering an applicant’s conviction history (including questions on a job application) until after the applicant receives a conditional offer of employment.  We previously summarized employers’ obligations under the Fair Chance Act here.
Continue Reading The Department of Fair Employment and Housing Ramps Up Enforcement of California’s “Ban-the-Box” Law

In 2018, California passed Senate Bill 820, the STAND Act (Stand Together Against Non-Disclosure Act), in response to the #MeToo movement.  SB 820 prohibited the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements where the underlying claims were based upon sexual assault, sexual harassment, and workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex.  The law did not extend to claims based upon other protected characteristics.  Therefore, a confidentiality provision in a settlement agreement could not prevent an individual from discussing the factual information related to sexual harassment or sex discrimination allegedly experienced in the workplace, but could preclude an individual from discussing factual information related to harassment or discrimination based upon any other protected characteristic (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.).  You can read our prior blog article here.

Continue Reading California’s SB 331 Extends Sweeping Changes to Workplace Settlement and Separation Agreements

On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) updated its COVID-19 related guidance.  In addition to addressing whether an employer may ask about symptoms, take employees’ temperatures, and require the use of personal protective equipment among other things, the DFEH addresses a question that has been top of mind for many California employers:

Continue Reading DFEH Issues Guidance to Employers Regarding Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

On January 1, 2021, various new and amended employment laws will go into effect in California. Below is a summary of some of these laws that employers should make themselves aware of heading into the new year.  All laws discussed in this post go into effect on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted.
Continue Reading New Employment Laws to Look Out for in 2021

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 September 18 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB-5, which codified the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex v. Superior Court decision.  In Dynamex, the California Supreme Court adopted the so-called “ABC” test to determine coverage under the Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Orders.  AB-5 expands the application of the ABC test to the entire California Labor Code and will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Continue Reading It’s Official: Newsom Expands The Definition of “Employee” Under California Law

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

On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 188 also known as the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act.  The CROWN Act amends the California Education Code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s definition of race to include traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles.  Protective hairstyles include, but are not limited to, “braids, locks, and twists.”
Continue Reading A Heads Up On The CROWN Act: Employees’ Natural Hairstyles Now Protected

In December 2017, the California Court of Appeal published a decision confirming obesity is a protected disability in California if it has a physiological cause.

In Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club, 18 Cal. App. 5th 908 (2017), Plaintiff was a woman diagnosed as severely obese, weighing over 350 pounds, at five feet five inches tall. Plaintiff began working for Defendant the Berkeley Tennis Club in 1997. Over the course of her employment, Plaintiff worked as a lifeguard, pool manager, and night manager. During her employment, Plaintiff received positive reviews, merit bonuses, and raises.
Continue Reading Obese Employees May Be Protected Under FEHA

The California Court of Appeal recently held that employees’ workers’ compensation decisions barred them from pursuing similar claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) based on the doctrine of res judicata. 
Continue Reading Correctional Officers FEHA Claims are Barred by Res Judicata for Already Adjudicated Workers’ Compensation Cases