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

On June 4, 2019, the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District issued an unpublished opinion in Krista Townley v. BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. holding that BJ’s Restaurants was not required to reimburse its employees for the cost of black, slip-resistant, closed-toe shoes that BJ’s required its restaurant employees to wear. Due to the lack of California case law addressing the issue, BJ’s requested the opinion be published in the Official Reports. On July 5, 2019, the Court of Appeal granted BJ’s request and ordered the opinion certified for publication. This is the first published opinion in California to adopt the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s (“DLSE”) interpretation of a “uniform” and to hold that an employer is not required to reimburse employees for the cost of “non-uniform” work clothing. Matthew Sonne and Jason Guyser of Sheppard Mullin represented BJ’s Restaurants in this matter.
Continue Reading Employers Can Now Stand Firmly On Not Paying Employees For The Cost Of Slip-Resistant Shoes

Many California employees received a raise on January 1, 2019 when the state increased the minimum wage to $12 per hour for large employers (26 employees or more) and $11 per hour for small employers (25 employees or fewer). Effective July 1, 2019, several counties and municipalities in California are adding to these minimum wage increases. The amount of the increase varies by city and county, and some local governments make a distinction between large and small employers. Hotel workers in places like Long Beach, the County and City of Los Angeles, and Oakland are entitled to wages significantly higher than the minimum wage for other types of employees. The following chart summarizes these changes.
Continue Reading July 1, 2019 Minimum Wage Increases in California Counties and Municipalities

Baltimore County has petitioned the Supreme Court to decide whether backpay for violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) is mandatory.

Background

In 1999, two Baltimore County Correctional Officers initiated charges at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) claiming that they were being discriminated against based on their ages because they had to contribute more to the County’s pension plan than younger employees. After years of litigation and various appeals in the U.S. District Court of Maryland and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in April 2016, Baltimore County and the EEOC entered into a Joint Consent Order to equalize pension member contribution rates.
Continue Reading Mandatory Backpay in ADEA Claims: What Will SCOTUS Decide?