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Joseph Peacock is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's San Diego (Del Mar) office. He is also a member of the firm’s Trade Secrets Team.

On January 10, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its final rule that revises its guidance regarding the standard for assessing whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The final rule rescinds the DOL’s previous final rule that was published at the end of President Trump’s term of office in January 2021. As we previously reported in the wake of the issuance of the Department of Labor’s October 13, 2022 proposed rule, the final rule returns to a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis akin to the “Economic Reality Test.” This new final rule ultimately has the effect of making it more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors. The new final rule goes into effect on March 11, 2024.Continue Reading The Department of Labor Issues New Final Rule for Independent Contractor Classification

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses (particularly those in states or cities under “stay home” orders) have implemented a work-from-home (“WFH”) directive for employees.  It is important for businesses to address the security of their trade secrets in this new environment in order to reduce the risk of misappropriation.  It is also important to reduce the risk that the trade secret status of information will be lost based on a failure to take reasonable steps to protect its secrecy.  This article addresses some steps your business can consider taking to protect trade secrets accessible by employees who are now working at home.  Even if your business had a WFH policy before the COVID-19 outbreak, it should be re-visited in light of the current circumstances flowing from a pandemic during which all or most of your workforce may be operating on a WFH basis.  For example, what was once a “no trade secrets may be taken home” policy may be impossible in the current climate.
Continue Reading COVID-19 and Trade Secrets: Is Your Business Prepared to Protect its Trade Secrets While Your Employees Work From Home?

On February 4, 2019, the California Court of Appeal, Second District issued a 2-1 decision in Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc. in which it held employees must be given “reporting time pay” under Wage Order No. 7-2001 when an employer requires its employees to call in two hours before a potential shift to learn whether the employee is needed for work and the employee is told not to come into work that day.  This decision strays from most employers’ general understanding that “reporting time pay” covers only the situation where the employee physically comes into work but is sent home early (usually for lack of work).  Nevertheless, as the only published California appellate decision addressing this specific issue, California employers are bound by Ward and should revise their reporting policies accordingly to avoid liability.
Continue Reading Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc.: California Employers Should Dial Back On-Call Shift Policies