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Tyler Z. Bernstein is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.

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

In a continuing trend that began with the launch of the MeToo Movement, the California legislature recently passed Assembly Bill 171, another proposed law designed to expand safeguards for employees who have been the victims of sexual harassment. This latest measure follows California’s enactment of a new law in 2017, which, as we discussed in a previous article, requires that employers provide all new (and certain current) employees with an explanation of rights for victims of sexual assault and stalking.
Continue Reading Coming Soon? Expanded Employment Protections for Victims of Sexual Harassment

California lawmakers passed over a dozen employment-related bills last year that imposed new or different obligations on California employers. Just as employers may be finally settling into the new world order and getting into compliance with the litany of new laws, there are two new legislative updates that employers must be aware of. These new pieces of legislation serve as an important reminder that employment laws are constantly changing, and employers caught flat footed may be left to suffer the consequences.

In a welcome change from Sacramento, on February 26, 2019, the California Senate introduced Senate Bill 778, which is designed to clarify when employers are required to provide sexual harassment training and education to employees under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and when retraining is required.
Continue Reading No Rest For The Weary – California Employment Legislation Update

Employers in New York City should begin to immediately take steps to ensure compliance with two new local laws that, beginning March 18, 2019, will impose stricter requirements on employers to accommodate nursing mothers. The new bills passed by the New York City Council became law on November 17, 2018, after Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to sign or veto the two pieces of legislation. While the new laws provide employers with a 120-day grace period, employers would be wise to utilize this short time period to understand the new requirements and undertake whatever efforts are necessary to be in compliance when the new requirements take effect this Spring.
Continue Reading Mother’s Milk: NYC Braces for New Workplace Lactation Room Requirements