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On July 1, 2020, as a result of rapid increases in the number of COVID-19 cases throughout California, and on the heels of the Fourth of July long weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom instructed businesses in 19 counties across the state to roll back their reopenings for at least the next three weeks.  The Governor’s instructions require the closure of:

  • All indoor, in-person dining at restaurants (outdoor dining and takeout are still permitted, so long as social distancing protocols are followed);
  • Indoor tasting rooms and wineries;
  • Indoor museums, zoos, and aquariums;
  • Indoor movie theaters and family entertainment centers; and
  • Cardrooms and satellite wagering facilities.


Continue Reading California Places More COVID-19 Related Restrictions on Businesses and Employers

On December 10, 2018, the California Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Gerard, et al. v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, affirming the Court of Appeal ruling that voluntary meal period waivers are permissible for healthcare employees who work long shifts, even if they work more than 12 hours. By allowing healthcare employees to waive one of their two meal periods, the Gerard decision preserves a choice for employees who work 12-hour shifts. They continue to have the flexibility to work shifts that span 12 ½ hours with one 30-minute meal period or shifts that span 13 hours and include two 30-minute meal periods.

Sheppard Mullin argued this case before the California Supreme Court and has represented Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in the case since 2008.

Not only was this case hard fought throughout California courts for 10 years, but it also involved novel legislative action. Notably, it was the only wage-hour victory for an employer before the California Supreme Court in 2018.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Confirms Validity Of Meal Period Waivers For Healthcare Employees

Currently working its way through the California Legislature is AB 2613, a potentially massive expansion of liability on employers and individuals for underpayment of wages.

AB 2613 seeks to amend the California Labor Code in three separate ways. First, Labor Code Section 210 would be amended to provide that an employer “or other person acting individually or as an officer, agent, or employee of another person” who fails to timely pay an employee’s wages (not merely final wages) owes a penalty of $200 to each affected employee for each pay period when the wages are late. Not only is this a substantial monetary penalty, but, importantly, the new requirements would impose this liability on individuals, not just the corporate employer. The new provision also makes clear that this new penalty is in addition to, and entirely independent of, any other damages or penalties under the Labor Code. The provision also explains that the $200 penalty cannot be waived by agreement of the employee. Interestingly, the bill further provides that the $200 penalty can be imposed against individuals who violate Labor Code Section 1197.5, which prohibits sex discrimination in wages.
Continue Reading California Legislature Introduces Bill That Could Result In Massive Penalties For Employers For Late Payment of Wages

Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.  The new rule has two components – one relating to employee involvement, which takes effect on December 1, 2016, and the other relating to employer recordkeeping, which will be effective January 1, 2017.
Continue Reading New OSHA Requirements for Employee Involvement and Employer Recordkeeping Take Effect Over the Next Two Months

Continuing the trend of increasing minimum wages throughout California and the country, the Santa Monica City Council voted to approve a minimum wage ordinance, which becomes effective on July 1, 2016. The ordinance is similar to that passed in the city of Los Angeles and includes phased increases of minimum wage for employees within the city of Santa Monica through 2020.  Qualifying non-profits and employers with 25 or fewer employees will have a one-year delay to 2021 to reach the top minimum wage rate.
Continue Reading Higher Pay and More Sick Leave Coming to Santa Monica Employees