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Luke Bickel is an associate in the Labor & Employment Practice Group in the firm's San Diego (Del Mar) office.

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

As we previously reported, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has had on its radar potential harms that may result from the use of artificial intelligence technology (“AI”) in the workplace. While some jurisdictions have already enacted requirements and restrictions on the use of AI decision making tools in employee selection methods,[1] on May 18, 2023, the EEOC updated its guidance on the use of AI for employment-related decisions, issuing a technical assistance document titled “Select Issues: Assessing Adverse Impact in Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence Used in Employment Selection Procedures Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” (“Updated Guidance”). The Updated Guidance comes almost a year after the EEOC published related guidance explaining how employers’ use of algorithmic decision-making tools may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Updated Guidance instead focuses on how the use of AI may implicate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Particularly, the EEOC focuses on the disparate impact AI may have on “selection procedures” for hiring, firing, and promoting.Continue Reading The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Employee Selection Procedures: Updated Guidance From the EEOC

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) created the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay. The FLSA also provides exemptions to overtime pay requirements for certain employees. Under the “bona fide executive” exemption, “highly compensated employees” are exempt from overtime if performing at least one qualifying job duty. However, on February 22, 2023, the United States Supreme Court, in its 6-3 decision in Helix Energy Solution Group, Inc. v. Hewitt, clarified that highly compensated employees paid on a “day-rate” do not qualify for this exemption because a day-rate does not satisfy the salary basis test.Continue Reading Supreme Court Clarifies a “Day-Rate” Does Not Meet the FLSA “Salary Basis” Test, Even for Highly Compensated Employees

As the end of the year draws near, it is important for employers in California to remember there are multiple COVID-19 regulations and laws that will still apply to the workplace in 2023. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health of California’s (“Cal/OSHA”) constantly evolving COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) that has been in effect for the last two years is finally expiring. However, the ETS will be replaced by Cal/OSHA’s new COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations (“Permanent Standard”), which will remain in effect through 2024. This article provides a comprehensive update on the Permanent Standard, AB 2693 (the new law modifying an employer’s notification and reporting requirements under Labor Code section 6409.6), and the current state of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.Continue Reading Ring in the New Year With a Refresher on California’s COVID-19 Regulations and Laws

On September 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Board”) met to consider whether to adopt the proposed COVID-19 Permanent Standard (“Permanent Standard”)[1] to replace the current Emergency Temporary Standard, which is due to expire on December 31, 2022. The public hearing resulted in more questions being asked than answered, and no action on the proposed Permanent Standard was taken by the Board at the meeting. Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Continues to Consider Adoption of a COVID-19 Permanent Standard

On September 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Board”) will hold a public hearing to address its draft proposed COVID-19 Permanent Standard (“Permanent Standard”).[1] At the hearing, the Board will hear comments from the public in favor of adopting, amending, or repealing the Permanent Standard. The good news for employers who are tired of revising their COVID-19 policies is that the Permanent Standard largely tracks with the protocols already required under the current COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”). Additionally, the Permanent Standard eliminates or reduces some of the costly requirements under the current ETS. The bad news, however, is that it appears COVID-19 protocols are here to stay for the near future and California employers will need to continue to remain in compliance with the state’s COVID-19 regulations and enforce them in the workplace.Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Announces Public Hearing on Proposed COVID-19 Permanent Standard

On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court granted emergency relief to the petitions of numerous states, businesses, and non-governmental organizations by staying the implementation and enforcement of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”).  Under the original ETS, private employers with 100 or more employees were required to implement a mandatory vaccination or weekly testing/face covering policy, which constituted a drastic change in policy for many employers and contradicted many state requirements.  Although the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has yet to ultimately decide on the merits whether the ETS can stand, the stay by the Supreme Court indicates how the Court may ultimately view the ETS and OSHA’s authority to require vaccinations and weekly testing.  Nonetheless, the ETS is not dead yet, so employers should continue to monitor the appeal process and OSHA’s response to the stay.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Stays Implementation of OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS Requiring Vaccination or Weekly Testing Policy