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

Beginning on January 1, 2024, pursuant to House Bill 2068, Illinois employers located across thirty-eight (38) counties and townships will be required to provide employees with a “pre-tax commuter benefit.” This is one of a number of new Illinois laws impacting employers going into effect at the start of the new year.Continue Reading Time to Prepare for the New Year: Illinois’ Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits Law Goes into Effect in 2024

On October 7, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 700 into law, amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). SB 700, effective January 1, 2024, expressly prohibits employers from requesting information from job applicants relating to their prior cannabis use.Continue Reading High Protections on Information Relating to Employees’ Cannabis Use

Major changes are coming to the Minor League. In April, Major League Baseball (MLB) players and owners voted to ratify a historic collective bargaining agreement that, for the first time in history, covers Minor League players. MLB owners voted unanimously to ratify the agreement on April 3, following a March 31 vote in which more than 99 percent of Minor League players voted to ratify the agreement. The five-year agreement, which was negotiated by MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA), more than doubles the salaries at all Minor League levels and provides that Minor League players will be paid almost year-round.Continue Reading A Major Deal for the Minor League: California Bill Paves the Way for Historic Collective Bargaining Agreement for Minor League Baseball

As previously discussed here, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP”) was signed into law on December 29, 2022. PUMP further amends the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by extending protections for employees who need to express breast milk at work and broadens the available remedies for violations.Continue Reading The U.S. Department of Labor Provides Guidance for Agricultural Employers on the PUMP Act

On September 29, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued long-awaited enforcement guidance on workplace harassment. The “Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace,” published in the Federal Register on October 2, 2023, advises employers on handling new workplace realties, including LGBTQ rights, online misconduct, abortion, and a number of different types of harassment. Continue Reading EEOC Issues Long-Awaited Guidance on Harassment in the Modern Workplace

On September 6, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation amending the New York Penal Law making wage theft a criminal larceny. Under the penal code, “[a] person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof.” N.Y. Penal Law § 155.05(1). The amendment adds “compensation for labor services” to the definition of “property” applicable to larcenies. Id. § 155.00(1).Continue Reading New York Makes Wage Theft a Criminal Larceny in New Amendment to Its Penal Law

As you have no doubt seen in the news, and may have even experienced first-hand, there have been extreme weather conditions throughout the country, including fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. When natural disasters strike and employees cannot work because of them, companies are faced with numerous employment-related issues that require immediate attention. In addition to various federal laws being implicated, including those below, state-specific employment laws may also be triggered, and a unionized workforce may also prompt additional considerations. Continue Reading Employers Under Fire: How to Address Employee Pay and Related Issues When Faced with Natural Disasters

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was signed into law on December 29, 2022, went into effect on June 27, 2023. The EEOC has started to accept PWFA charges and has issued guidance and resources to help employers comply with the expanded requirements. On August 11, 2023, the EEOC also published a Proposed Rule to implement the PWFA, which outlines the agency’s interpretation of the PWFA, and includes specific examples of possible reasonable accommodations. Public comments concerning the Proposed Rule can be submitted until October 10, 2023.Continue Reading Pregnant Employees More Protected Than Ever as the PWFA Goes into Effect and the EEOC Releases Resources, Guidance, and Proposed Regulations