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This year the California Legislature added over a dozen new employment laws, many of which take effect on January 1, 2016.  Some of these laws impose new prohibitions on employers, while others provide positive benefits such as safe harbors, cure provisions, and employer incentives for reclassification of certain independent contractors.  This update highlights key provisions in some of the new laws taking effect January 1, 2016.  Links to the statutes are provided.
Continue Reading New Year, New Rules For Employers Doing Business in California

On July 13, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown approved AB 304 Sick Leave: Accrual and Limitations, which amends the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (i.e., Sections 245.5, 246, and 247.5 of the California Labor Code).  These amendments took effect immediately upon signature.  The following is a summary of the key amendments to the law, most of which clarify what is required by the law.
Continue Reading California Paid Sick Leave Law Amended, Effective Immediately

The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) has issued amended regulations clarifying the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  The amendments will go into effect on July 1, 2015, and are intended to clarify previously confusing rules and adopt regulations that more closely parallel the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Significantly, the amendments incorporate the March 2013 FMLA regulations, to the extent they are not inconsistent with the CFRA regulations.  The text of the new regulations can be found here.  Below is an overview of the major changes to the law, which also highlight some of the differences between the FMLA and the new CFRA regulations.
Continue Reading Amendments to CFRA Regulations Provide Some Clarity to Employers

On June 24, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC.  While the Court in Iskanian confirmed that an express class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement is enforceable under California law, it also held that an arbitration agreement provision barring arbitration of a workers’ representative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim is invalid as a matter of California public policy.  Under PAGA, employees can sue their employer for certain workplace violations on behalf of themselves, as well as other current or former employees, in “representative suits” similar to class actions.
Continue Reading UPDATE: SCOTUS Denies Petition For Cert In Iskanian

On January 14, 2015, in a case of first impression, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department held that an employee can sufficiently demonstrate his membership in a protected class by virtue of his association with another person – in this case, his wife.  In Jeffrey Chiara v. Town of New Castle, 2015 Slip Op. 00326 (2d Dep’t Jan. 14, 2015), the Second Department held that Chiara could show he was discriminated against by the Town of New Castle based on religion as a result of his marriage to a Jewish person, even though he was not Jewish himself.  In so holding, the Second Department reversed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to the Town with respect to Chiara’s claim that he was subject to religious discrimination when he was terminated.
Continue Reading Appellate Division Panel Issues Ruling Broadly Interpreting New York State Human Rights Law

While the New Jersey Senate and Assembly continue to debate state-wide sick leave laws, four more New Jersey municipalities have enacted mandatory sick leave laws for private employers.  Effective January 2015, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington and Passaic will join Newark and Jersey City in requiring paid sick time for employees.
Continue Reading Paid Sick Leave Spreads Throughout New Jersey

In their continued efforts to crack down on the misclassification of independent contractors, and the resulting federal and state wage and hour violations, the New York State Department of Labor and the New York Attorney General’s office have partnered with the United States Department of Labor (“US DOL”).  New York is the 15th state to sign a memorandum of agreement with the US DOL agreeing to share information and coordinate enforcement efforts.  See US DOL News Release at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20132180.htm.
Continue Reading New York Teams-up with the U.S. Department of Labor to Crack Down on Independent Contractor Misclassification

On October 1, 2013, the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (the “ Safe Act”) becomes effective. New Jersey joins a handful of states providing employees who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault with certain rights, including 20 days of unpaid leave to deal with matters related to an incident of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Continue Reading New Jersey Provides Unpaid Leave to Victims of Domestic Violence