On October 7, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 700 into law, amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). SB 700, effective January 1, 2024, expressly prohibits employers from requesting information from job applicants relating to their prior cannabis use.Continue Reading High Protections on Information Relating to Employees’ Cannabis Use
Tyler Z. Bernstein is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.
Beginning January 1, 2024, and following the passage of Assembly Bill 2188, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) will add employee protections against discrimination based on off-the-job cannabis use with a few, limited exceptions. Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2188 into law on September 18, 2022. AB 2188 focuses on employee impairment from cannabis use, which it correlates only to the psychoactive component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and places new requirements on employer-required drug screening tests. AB 2188 is significant because it is the first time that California’s permissive cannabis-use laws have been incorporated into the employment realm. California employers should consider reviewing their job application process and any pre-employment drug screening protocols, as well as their policies and practices relating to drug screening in connection with hiring, discipline, and termination to ensure they will comply with the new law. Continue Reading California Expands Employees’ Right to Off-Duty Cannabis Use
An employee in California has two primary options to pursue a claim for the enforcement of minimum wage and overtime pay rights. The employee may seek judicial relief by filing an ordinary civil action. Alternatively, the employee can initiate an administrative action with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). In Elsie Seviour-Iloff v. LaPaille, the California Court of Appeal set forth multiple important holdings expanding the scope and potential liability available to employees pursuing administrative relief for wage claims with the DLSE.Continue Reading Expanded Limitations Period and Individual Liability for Employers Facing Labor Commissioner Hearings
In March, U.S. Department of Treasury issued its annual General Explanations of the Administration’s Revenue Proposals, commonly known as the “Green Book.” Among other revenue proposals, the Treasury addressed the treatment of on-demand pay arrangements or earned wage access (EWA) programs, which have risen in popularity in recent years (previously discussed in our Labor and Employment Blog). EWA programs generally allow employees to access accrued wages before the end of their regular pay cycle.
Continue Reading Treasury Department Proposes Non-Loan Status for Earned Wage Access
As anticipated, on March 3, 2022, President Biden signed The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4445). The law takes effect immediately.
As explained in our prior blog, in a rare display of bipartisanship, on February 7, 2022, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 4445 by a vote of 335 to 97. A few days later, on February 10, 2022, the Senate passed H.R. 4445, without amendment, by voice vote.Continue Reading UPDATE: President Biden Signs Bipartisan Bill to End Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment and Assault Claims in the Workplace
In a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress recently passed a new law that is poised to eliminate pre-dispute mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment and sexual assault disputes.
Continue Reading Congress Passes Bipartisan Bill to End Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment and Assault Claims in the Workplace
What a difference three months makes. In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced that fully vaccinated individuals could forgo masks and social distancing requirements in most indoor and outdoor locations. At that time, the Alpha variant was not all that transmissible in the fully vaccinated, and millions of vaccine shots were doled out each day. But now, with the increasing spread of the transmissible Delta variant, the CDC has updated its guidance to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
Continue Reading Return of the Mask: CDC Issues New Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals
The end of 2020 was not the end of the California Legislature’s focus on employment-related legislation. Just two months into the new year, the Legislature has already introduced several bills addressing the workplace that could impact employers who still may be implementing coronavirus-related legislation. This article discusses two such bills on the horizon that employers will want to follow as they work their way through the Legislature.
Continue Reading California Legislative Update: Employment-Related Bills on the Horizon
Amid a bevy of legislation crossing the Governor’s desk directly relating to the ongoing public health crisis, Governor Newsom approved AB 1947 with little public fanfare, but significant implications for employers. The new legislation amends the Labor Code in two substantive ways: (1) it lengthens the period of time in which employees can file complaints with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”); and (2) authorizes a court to award reasonable attorney’s fees to a plaintiff who prevails in a “whistleblower” action under Labor Code § 1102.5. While not expressly considered “coronavirus” legislation, it is clear the coronavirus pandemic influenced the Legislature’s decision to further expand certain rights under California’s workplace antiretaliation laws.
Continue Reading AB 1947’S New Filing Period for DLSE Claims and Attorney’s Fees Provisions: Coronavirus Legislation in Sheep’s Clothing?
As every employer grappling with the global pandemic can attest, preventing and combatting occurrences of COVID-19 are paramount considerations. This concern has become all the more pronounced, and visible to the nation, with the increasing reports of COVID-19 outbreaks at food processing facilities throughout the country. In response to this potential threat to the nation’s food supply, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) recently issued joint guidance for meat and poultry processing facilities proposing precautionary measures these employers can take to protect their workers and, in turn, the food supply.
Continue Reading Where’s the Meat? Interim Federal Guidance for Meat Plant Worker Safety
As peer-to-peer payment applications proliferate and on-demand technologies reach new facets of people’s lives, it is only natural that these programs now offer services geared particularly for employees. On-demand, daily pay apps, also known as “instant pay” or “earned wage access” are the outgrowth of two fundamental truths: (1) millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck; and (2) employees perform their actual work and earn their actual wages up to two weeks before they receive their paychecks.
Instant pay apps offer to bridge the gap between when one’s expenses come due and one’s paycheck issues, by allowing employees to withdraw the wages they have already earned for work performed in a pay period, before the regular pay date. Hailed as a panacea by employees, who otherwise would be vulnerable to predatory payday loans, these instant pay apps unsurprisingly implicate multiple California wage and hour laws that an employer must comply with. As a result, employers considering rolling out these programs must carefully balance their potential legal risk against the benefit these apps offer employees, and should understand the potential protections available to an employer.
Continue Reading Pay Day, Every Day? Instant Pay Apps and Their Wage and Hour Implications