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
Kristi L. Thomas is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.
On July 11, 2023, the California Court of Appeal in Thai v. IBM held that whether an employer is obligated to reimburse expenses incurred by an employee working from home turns on whether the expenses were a direct consequence of the discharge of the employee’s job duties, not on whether the expenses were directly caused by the employer. This case is important for all employers whose workforce suddenly began working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and employers who continue to permit employees to work from home today.Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Clarifies Employer’s Obligation to Reimburse Expenses Depends on Whether They Were a Direct Consequence of Job Duties, Not Proximately Caused by Employer
The California Court of Appeal in Meda v. AutoZone, Inc. recently reversed a trial court’s finding that an employer demonstrated it “provided” seats to its employees as a matter of law under California’s suitable seating requirement. This rule stems from subdivision 14(A) of the Wage Orders, which provides that California employers must provide suitable seats to employees “when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” In Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 63 Cal. 4th 1 (2016), the California Supreme Court set forth the fact-intensive framework and multiple factors in analyzing whether the “nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seat,” triggering the employer’s obligation to provide suitable seats. However, no published California authority had considered what steps employers must take to “provide” seats under subdivision 14(A).Continue Reading Are You Sitting Down for This? California Court of Appeal Provides Further Guidance on Suitable Seating Claims
On April 21, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board adopted the fourth iteration of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”). Sheppard Mullin previously wrote about the proposed revisions to the current ETS here, which were adopted without substantive changes. The revised ETS will become effective once approved by the Office of Administrative Law, which should occur by May 5, 2022, and the revised ETS will remain in effect until December 31, 2022.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Adopts Fourth Iteration of COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards
At its upcoming April 21, 2022 meeting, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board will decide whether to readopt the fourth iteration of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), which first went into effect on November 30, 2020. The ETS apply to all employees not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard or employees working alone or at home, and require employers to establish, implement, and maintain a COVID-19 Prevention Program (“CPP”), among other things. Sheppard Mullin previously wrote about the implementation of the original ETS here, and previous revisions to its requirements here and here.
Continue Reading Further Updates to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Likely Coming Soon
On January 25, 2022, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced its withdrawal of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) requiring vaccination or weekly testing. This action came shortly after the United States Supreme Court stayed the immediate implementation and enforcement of the ETS. You can read our prior article about the Supreme Court’s ruling here. Although the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of whether the ETS could ultimately stand, the Court indicated when it imposed its emergency stay that the applicants challenging the ETS would likely succeed.
Continue Reading COVID-19 ETS Requiring Vaccination or Weekly Testing Withdrawn
On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court issued a decision in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC which was long-awaited but was ultimately highly disappointing to employers.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Announces New Standard That Meal and Rest Period Premiums Must Be Paid at Same “Regular Rate of Pay” Used to Calculate Overtime Payments
On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) updated its COVID-19 related guidance. In addition to addressing whether an employer may ask about symptoms, take employees’ temperatures, and require the use of personal protective equipment among other things, the DFEH addresses a question that has been top of mind for many California employers:
Continue Reading DFEH Issues Guidance to Employers Regarding Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies
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