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 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

On May 10, 2024, the Ninth Circuit decided Yuriria Diaz v. Macy’s West Stores, after the employer appealed the district court’s decision ordering arbitration of both an employee’s individual and non-individual claims under the California Private Attorney Generals Act (PAGA). The Ninth Circuit held that even though the arbitration agreement made no mention of PAGA, an employee’s individual PAGA claim was still subject to arbitration because the parties’ intended to arbitrate all employment disputes between them. However the non-individual PAGA claims were not arbitrable, because the parties did not consent to arbitration of those claims. Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules That Only Individual PAGA Claims Can Be Compelled to Arbitration

On April 26, 2024, Ctrl Alt Destroy, Inc. (“CAD”), a California Corporation and cannabis licensee filed a lawsuit against Nicole Elliott in her official capacity as Director of the State of California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) and Rob Bonta in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) is unconstitutional under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution and is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).Continue Reading Cannabis Operator Challenges California State Statute and Regulations Requiring Labor Peace Agreements

Through Board decisions, rule making, and NLRB General Counsel’s (“GC”) memoranda, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “the Board”) continues to expand the potential penalties for employers found to have committed unfair labor practices (“ULP”). The shift toward an employee-friendly enforcement scheme has continued with GC Jennifer Abruzzo’s latest memorandum, issued on April 8, 2024, wherein the GC stated her desire to expand the availability of remedies for violations of labor law to even those employees who did not file, or are not identified in, ULP charges. Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Issues New Memo Further Expanding Penalties for Unfair Labor Practice Violations

Starting July 1, 2024, California employers across all industries must have a written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (“WVPP”) in place. As previously reported, the recently enacted SB 553 established this new requirement, along with mandatory employee training, initial and periodic workplace violence hazard inspections, and maintenance of a violent incident log and other related records. On March 18, 2024, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”), the agency responsible for enforcing the new law’s requirements, announced the creation of its Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance and Resources webpage. The webpage contains guidance and educational materials on the new law and workplace violence prevention, a model WVPP, fact sheets, and other resources for employers and employees. Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Publishes Long-Awaited Guidance and Model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

On February 12, 2024, the Ninth Circuit in Johnson v. Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, 93 F.4th 459 (9th Cir. 2024) vacated a district court’s dismissal of a former employee’s nonindividual PAGA claims and remanded the nonindividual claims to allow the district court to apply California law as interpreted in Adolph v. Uber Techs., Inc., 14 Cal. 5th 1104 (2023) (“Adolph”).Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Applies Adolph, Vacating Lower Court’s Dismissal of Employee’s Nonindividual PAGA Claims

Beginning on March 12, 2024, a new social media privacy law for employees and job applicants goes into effect in New York. The new law will amend the New York Labor Law (the “NYLL”) to restrict most employers from accessing the personal social media accounts of employees and job applicants. The new restrictions were approved when Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law two bills, Assembly Bill 836 (A836) and Senate Bill 2518A (S2518A), on September 14, 2023.Continue Reading Safe for Work? New Social Media Privacy Law Affecting New York Employers Goes into Effect on March 12

For companies doing business in California, it’s important to be aware of the January 18, 2024 California Supreme Court decision in Estrada v. Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc.*, which examined whether trial courts can strike PAGA claims on manageability grounds. PAGA, or the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, created new enforcement and procedural standards to the California Labor Code’s wage and hour provisions. While the law has been viewed as pro-plaintiff, the decision in Estrada can be seen as underscoring that point of view.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Concludes PAGA Actions Cannot be Dismissed as Unmanageable

Chicago’s recent enactment of its Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”) marks some of the country’s most progressive paid time off legislation and also imposes robust requirements upon Chicago employers. On November 9, 2023, Chicago’s City Council passed the Ordinance, effective December 31, 2023, touting it as a benefit to low-wage workers previously lacking vacation time.Continue Reading Chicago’s Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance Ushers in Some of the Nation’s Most Generous Employee Leave Entitlements

On October 8, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill No. 497, the “Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act.” The new law amends California Labor Code sections 98.6, 1102.5, and 1197.5 to create a “rebuttable presumption of retaliation” if an employee experiences an adverse employment action within 90 days of engaging in any protected activity covered by the specified sections. This new law, which will become effective on January 1, 2024, also entitles a prevailing plaintiff civil penalties for each violation.Continue Reading New California Law Makes It Easier for Employees to Establish Retaliation Claims for Alleged Labor Code Violations