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Our proximity and “close contact” with other humans is on the front lines in the war against coronavirus.  Yet tracking 6 feet of distance from every human we encounter for a 14 day period is nearly impossible without the help of technology like contact-tracing apps.  Although many privacy and employment laws designed to protect employee rights have been temporarily relaxed during the pandemic, employers must consider and resolve employee privacy issues created by contact-tracing apps.  As businesses forge roadmaps to reopen, these apps offer innovative solutions to meet legal requirements imposed by OSHA and Centers for Disease Control.  This article explores what employers need to know about contact-tracing apps including how they work, the laws that govern, the impact to employee privacy, consent, and ways to mitigate risk associated with contact-tracing apps.
Continue Reading Up Close & Personal: Contact-Tracing Apps & Employee Privacy

The New Orders

On March 31, 2020, the following six Bay Area counties issued revised “Shelter in Place” Orders (“Orders”) that went into effect that same day at 11:59 p.m.: San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo, and Contra Costa, and the City of Berkeley.  The new Orders revise and replace the existing Shelter In Place Orders which were set to expire on April 7, 2020.  Significantly, these Orders do not merely extend existing orders to May 3, 2020, but make material changes to several provisions and add additional requirements that Bay Area employers must immediately understand and implement.
Continue Reading The San Francisco Bay Area Issues Strengthened COVID-19 Shelter In Place Orders That Have a Significant Impact on Employers and Operations

Overturning existing precedent, the NLRB has ruled that certain employees have a right to use employer email systems for protected communications, unless special circumstances exist. This decision potentially has far-reaching implications and all employers who allow employees to access their email systems should promptly review their policies and practices in light of this decision.
Continue Reading Employers Beware! Employees are Permitted to Use Employer’s Email Systems for Non Work Purposes, Including Union Organizing

Employers with sales teams in California need to get ready. California has a new commission contract law, AB 1396, which takes effect January 1, 2013. Under AB 1396, which amends California Labor Code section 2751, employers who pay commissions to their employees are required to enter into written commission contracts with employees. The contract must describe the method by which commissions are computed and paid. Employers must also provide a copy of the signed contract to each employee, and get a signed receipt from each employee. That’s the easy part. Here’s the tricky part. Going forward, when a contract governing commissions expires without being replaced but the employee continues work, the terms of the “expired” contract will apply to commissions until the parties sign a new agreement or until the employment is terminated. As a result, it will be important to get new commission contracts in place before or when the old ones expire.
Continue Reading New California Commission Contract Rules – It is Not Too Early To Get Ready!