The Third Circuit is expected to soon make a decision as to whether student-athletes can be considered university “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). But its interpretation of the law might reverberate beyond the confines of college sports and could implicate whether unpaid student interns must also be treated as employees.
Babak Yousefzadeh is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office.
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
In an effort to fill the gap left by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the San Jose City Council unanimously passed the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”) on April 7, 2020. The Ordinance requires covered businesses operating in San Jose to provide Covered Employees with at least 80 hours of paid leave for uses related to COVID-19.
Continue Reading Additional Paid Leave for Some San Jose Employees Under the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
On April 1, 2020, the California Court of Appeal issued the first published decision addressing unlimited vacation policies under California law. “Unlimited” vacation policies in which employees have no minimum and no maximum vacation and do not accrue any vacation time have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, without guidance from the courts, employers that have implemented these policies have faced legal uncertainty. In McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation, Inc., the court held that the employer’s purported “unlimited” paid time off policy violated Labor Code Section 227.3 based on the particular facts of that case. Since the court limited its ruling based on the facts in McPherson, it left open many questions regarding the lawfulness of unlimited vacation policies generally. Fortunately, the court also provided example features of an unlimited vacation policy that it suggested might not violate Section 227.3. Nevertheless, this newly published decision may have opened a door for more litigation and we recommend employers review their flexible/unlimited time off policies.
Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Addresses Unlimited Vacation Policies for the First Time in McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation, Inc.
On March 16, 2020, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the Workers and Families First Program, which will provide paid sick leave to private sector workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan includes $10 million in public funding that will provide businesses and nonprofits with financial assistance to provide an additional five days of sick leave pay to workers beyond their existing policies.
Continue Reading City of San Francisco to Provide Paid Sick Leave for Private Sector Workers Impacted by COVID-19
On October 10, 2019, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51) into law. This important legislation is aimed at reversing a series of cases that allow employers to unilaterally impose pre-dispute arbitration agreements on their employees as a condition of hire or continued employment. Its stated purpose is to ensure that: (1) all persons have the full benefit of the rights, forums and procedures (rights) established by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the state’s Labor Code, including the right to file and pursue a civil action or complaint with, or otherwise notify any state agency, public prosecutor, law enforcement agency or court or other governmental entity of, any alleged violation of rights; and (2) there is no retaliation against a person for refusing to consent to the waiver of such rights, and that any contract relating to the relinquishment of those rights is entered into as a matter of voluntary consent, not coercion. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
Continue Reading AB 51 – Arbitration Under Attack