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

Illinois is the latest in a growing trend among states and cities throughout the country to enact salary transparency laws. Illinois joins the ranks of California, Washington and Colorado, among others, requiring employers to disclose pay scale and benefits in job postings. On August 11, 2023, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 3129 into law. Like its California, Washington and Colorado counterparts, the Illinois law is rooted in historic pay inequity among marginalized groups. The law amends Illinois’ Equal Pay Act and, beginning January 1, 2025, requires employers with 15 or more employees to disclose pay scales and benefits in job postings, as well as retain records of compliance with the amended law. Continue Reading Illinois is the Latest State to Enact a Salary Transparency Law

On July 13, 2023, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced the launch of a three-year National Emphasis Program meant to prevent workplace hazards in warehouses, processing facilities, distribution centers, and high-risk retail establishments. OSHA’s announcement explains that warehousing and distribution centers have experienced tremendous growth over the past 10 years, with over 1.9 million people currently employed in the related industries. OSHA also notes that data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows the injury and illness rate for warehousing and distribution centers is higher than the overall rate for private industry.Continue Reading OSHA’s New National Emphasis Program Aimed at Preventing Warehouse Injury and Heat Hazards and Its Possible Implications on California

On July 17, 2023, the California Supreme Court decided an important state law issue raised by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, 142 S. Ct. 1906 (2022). Viking River Cruises held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims arising from alleged California Labor Code violations against the named plaintiff, notwithstanding the prior California authority that PAGA claims cannot be “split” into “representative” and “individual” components. In a short paragraph at the end of its decision in Viking River Cruises, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a PAGA plaintiff lacks statutory standing to pursue PAGA claims arising out of alleged Labor Code violations committed against other employees when the claims arising from violations against the named plaintiff have been “pared away” to arbitration. However, because statutory standing is an issue of state law, state courts were not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation, a point that Justice Sotomayor flagged in a concurrence. In Adolph v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. S274671, 2023 WL 4553702 (2023), the California Supreme Court disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of PAGA’s standing requirement and held that a PAGA plaintiff retains standing to sue for alleged Labor Code violations committed against non-party employees when the claims arising from alleged violations against the plaintiff have been compelled to arbitration.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Clarifies PAGA Standing When “Individual PAGA Claims” Have Been Compelled to Arbitration

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows Of Harvard College, Nos. 20-1199 & 21-707, 2023 WL 4239254 (U.S. June 29, 2023), outlawed race-based affirmative action in higher education. Splitting along ideological lines, the Court’s conservative supermajority ruled, 6-3, the college admissions programs of Harvard and the University of North Carolina violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The monumental decision, which dispensed with 45 years of precedent allowing race-conscious admission policies to achieve a diverse student body, has upended the world of higher education.Continue Reading What Does Affirmative Action’s Death Knell Mean for Employers?