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Kristi L. Thomas is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.

Given the pandemic and all that has come along with it, telecommuting has become the new norm.  Employers are increasingly faced with difficult legal issues pertaining to not only the out-of-state telecommuter, but also the foreign national who “telecommutes” from overseas due to travel and visa restrictions.  U.S. employers may still want to utilize the foreign national’s services, but there are various issues to consider before doing so.
Continue Reading Employment, Tax, and Visa Issues Associated With the Overseas Telecommuter

Effective immediately, Senate Bill (SB) 1159 is a new California law that establishes presumptions about workers’ compensation benefits for employees who contract COVID-19.  This article explains in a series of questions and answers what employers need to know about workers’ compensation under this new law if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Continue Reading Mother of All Presumptions 2.0: Expanding Workers Compensation Benefits to Employees That Test Positive for COVID-19

On May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20 (the “Order”), which states employees that test positive for COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted the virus in the course of employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits, if certain requirements are met.
Continue Reading Mother of Presumptions: Employees With COVID-19 Presumed to Have Contracted Virus From Exposure at Work

While essential workers continue to make their way into the office amid the pandemic, many other Californians have been ordered to shelter in place.  At first blush, non-essential businesses may view this as leading to a decrease in workers’ compensation claims because they no longer have employees physically reporting to the office.  There could be a decrease in claims for businesses that are closed or have reduced their workforce, which appears to be part of the reason for Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s Order of April 13, 2020, requiring that some insurers refund premiums.  However, essential businesses to which employees still report to work and non-essential businesses that require employees to work from home may not see a decrease and could experience an uptick in workers’ compensation claims.
Continue Reading Workers’ Compensation Claims During the Pandemic and Mitigating the Risk

In Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., No. 17-16193, 2019 WL 924827 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2019), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that statutes, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), do not constitute “rule[s] or regulation[s] of the Securities and Exchange Commission” (“SEC”) for purposes of determining whether an employee engaged in protected activity in a whistleblower claim under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”).  This decision clarifies the proper application of the express statutory language of Section 806.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds That Statutes Do Not Constitute “Rules or Regulations of the SEC” for Purposes of Sarbanes-Oxley Act Whistleblower Claims

On September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that prohibits a provision in settlement agreements that prevents the disclosure of information pertaining to sexual harassment and sex discrimination. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019, and serves as an extension of the already-existing law that prohibits provisions in settlement agreements that prevent the disclosure of acts that could be prosecuted as felony sex offenses and certain sex offenses against children.
Continue Reading New California Law Puts an End to Secret Sexual Harassment Settlements