After a decade of ups and downs on the question of federal preemption, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (“FMSCA”) decision to preempt California’s meal and rest break rules.  The long-awaited decision in IBT v. FMCSA upholds the FMSCA’s December 2018 determination that drivers, who are involved in interstate commerce and subject to federal hours-of-service regulations, are exempt from California’s stringent meal and rest break rules because they are “incompatible” with federal regulations.  “The FMCSA reached this conclusion because California required more breaks, more often and with less flexibility as to timing,” the Court’s three-judge panel said in its January 15 opinion.
Continue Reading The Ninth Circuit Puts the Brakes on Truckers’ California Meal and Rest Break Claims

Frontline workers of certain large grocery and pharmacy retailers in Los Angeles County and other municipalities across the state may soon receive an additional $4.00 to $5.00 an hour in “hero pay” or “hazard pay” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading California Municipalities Move Closer to Requiring Hazard Pay for Grocery and Pharmacy Workers

Employers operating, even on a limited basis, in Colorado should be aware of Colorado’s recent wage disparity and discrimination bill, which takes effect in 2021 and imposes widespread requirements related to record-keeping, disclosure, and transparency.

In May of 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act into law.  The Act will go into effect on January 1, 2021.  The Act was enacted to address pay disparities affecting women and minorities, and includes several provisions aimed at preventing wage discrimination, such as:
Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know About Colorado’s New Equal Pay Act

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

On September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1947 into law.  Effective January 1, 2021, AB 1947 will, among other things, authorize courts to award attorneys’ fees to whistleblowers who prevail against employers under Labor Code section 1102.5.  This amendment will likely incentivize employees (and their lawyers) to bring retaliation claims against California employers.  For our previous analysis of this bill, click here.

Continue Reading Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuits Are About to Become More Expensive in California

As we have previously reported, California law utilizes the “ABC” test to determine if workers are employees or independent contractors for purposes of the Labor Code, the Unemployment Insurance Code, and the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
Continue Reading Expanding Independent Contractors in California: New Law Awaits Governor’s Signature

As class actions brought under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) proceed through litigation, defendants have made a variety of arguments attempting to push courts to define the limits of the somewhat vague statute. The Illinois Supreme Court’s 2019 decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. was the first opinion to provide interpretive guidance of BIPA, and specifically, what type of injury is required for a person to have standing to bring a private right of action under the statute. (We explain BIPA and the Rosenbach opinion here.)
Continue Reading Is BIPA Preempted? – Illinois Appellate Court Considers Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Question

The New Year brings new laws for Illinois employers. Some laws go into effect this Summer, while others are effective as of this month. For employers who have not yet revised handbooks, policies and agreements, the time is now. Below is a brief summary of the new laws.
Continue Reading The Time Is Now for Employers in Illinois to Abide by New Laws

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?

Ending a more than 15-year-long legal battle, the Fifth Circuit on May 24, 2019, unanimously affirmed the dismissal of a proposed class action against subsidiaries of UBS AG, alleging violations of U.S. securities laws for their role as a broker of Enron’s employee stock option plan and for failure to disclose material information about Enron’s “financial manipulations.” Lampkin et al. v. UBS PaineWebber Inc. et al., No. 17-20608 (5th Cir. May 24, 2019).
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Affirms Enron Broker Not Liable to Employee Stock Option Holders for False or Withheld Information

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to sign into law the City Council’s recently passed Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance (the “Ordinance”).  The Ordinance, which includes predictable scheduling provisions, will dramatically affect workweek scheduling for many Chicago employers beginning on July 1, 2020.

We previously wrote about Emeryville, California’s Fair Workweek Ordinance.  Emeryville became the third municipality to enact predictive scheduling legislation (Seattle and San Francisco being the others).  In an effort to enact “fair and equitable employment scheduling practices”, the Chicago City Council now passed its own Ordinance, which requires certain Covered employers (as defined below) to provide Covered employees (as defined below) with at least two weeks’ advance notice of their work schedules and to compensate employees in the event of certain schedule changes.
Continue Reading Predictable Scheduling Makes Its Way To Chicago