For companies doing business in California, it’s important to be aware of the January 18, 2024 California Supreme Court decision in Estrada v. Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc.*, which examined whether trial courts can strike PAGA claims on manageability grounds. PAGA, or the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, created new enforcement and procedural standards to the California Labor Code’s wage and hour provisions. While the law has been viewed as pro-plaintiff, the decision in Estrada can be seen as underscoring that point of view.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Concludes PAGA Actions Cannot be Dismissed as Unmanageable

The District of Columbia will soon require employers to disclose pay ranges in job postings after Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Wage Transparency Omnibus Amendment Act of 2023 into law on Friday January 12, 2024. When it goes into effect on June 30, 2024, the District will join a growing number of states with wage transparency laws, including Illinois, California, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington State.Continue Reading DC Joins the Wage Transparency Movement

In the past few months, California Governor Newsom has signed numerous new employment laws affecting California employers of all sizes. Below is a summary of some of the laws going into effect in 2024.Continue Reading Looking Ahead: New California Employment Laws for 2024

On October 8, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill No. 497, the “Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act.” The new law amends California Labor Code sections 98.6, 1102.5, and 1197.5 to create a “rebuttable presumption of retaliation” if an employee experiences an adverse employment action within 90 days of engaging in any protected activity covered by the specified sections. This new law, which will become effective on January 1, 2024, also entitles a prevailing plaintiff civil penalties for each violation.Continue Reading New California Law Makes It Easier for Employees to Establish Retaliation Claims for Alleged Labor Code Violations

As previously discussed here, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP”) was signed into law on December 29, 2022. PUMP further amends the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by extending protections for employees who need to express breast milk at work and broadens the available remedies for violations.Continue Reading The U.S. Department of Labor Provides Guidance for Agricultural Employers on the PUMP Act

In 2022, Washington D.C. voters passed Initiative 82, or the “District of Columbia Tip Credit Elimination Act,” which later became law in February 2023. As we previously reported, the law will gradually phase out the “tip credit” that allows employers to pay tipped employees a lower wage while using gratuities to cover the difference between the lower wage and Washington D.C.’s minimum wage. Under this law, the tip credit is set to be gradually phased out by 2027, at which time employers will be required to pay tipped employees the Washington D.C. minimum wage.Continue Reading Washington D.C. Attorney General Offers Guidance for Restaurant Employers Amidst Spike in Service Fees

On September 6, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation amending the New York Penal Law making wage theft a criminal larceny. Under the penal code, “[a] person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof.” N.Y. Penal Law § 155.05(1). The amendment adds “compensation for labor services” to the definition of “property” applicable to larcenies. Id. § 155.00(1).Continue Reading New York Makes Wage Theft a Criminal Larceny in New Amendment to Its Penal Law

On July 17, 2023, the California Supreme Court decided an important state law issue raised by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, 142 S. Ct. 1906 (2022). Viking River Cruises held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims arising from alleged California Labor Code violations against the named plaintiff, notwithstanding the prior California authority that PAGA claims cannot be “split” into “representative” and “individual” components. In a short paragraph at the end of its decision in Viking River Cruises, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a PAGA plaintiff lacks statutory standing to pursue PAGA claims arising out of alleged Labor Code violations committed against other employees when the claims arising from violations against the named plaintiff have been “pared away” to arbitration. However, because statutory standing is an issue of state law, state courts were not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation, a point that Justice Sotomayor flagged in a concurrence. In Adolph v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. S274671, 2023 WL 4553702 (2023), the California Supreme Court disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of PAGA’s standing requirement and held that a PAGA plaintiff retains standing to sue for alleged Labor Code violations committed against non-party employees when the claims arising from alleged violations against the plaintiff have been compelled to arbitration.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Clarifies PAGA Standing When “Individual PAGA Claims” Have Been Compelled to Arbitration

On July 11, 2023, the California Court of Appeal in Thai v. IBM held that whether an employer is obligated to reimburse expenses incurred by an employee working from home turns on whether the expenses were a direct consequence of the discharge of the employee’s job duties, not on whether the expenses were directly caused by the employer. This case is important for all employers whose workforce suddenly began working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and employers who continue to permit employees to work from home today.Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Clarifies Employer’s Obligation to Reimburse Expenses Depends on Whether They Were a Direct Consequence of Job Duties, Not Proximately Caused by Employer

Many California employers may be facing another minimum wage increase on July 1st. Earlier this year, California’s minimum wage was increased to $15.50 for all employers. However, local entities (like cities and counties) are allowed to establish a higher minimum wage rate for employees working within their jurisdiction. Starting on July 1, 2023, a number of localities will raise their minimum wage.Continue Reading July 1, 2023 Minimum Wage Increases in California Counties and Municipalities

On December 29, 2022, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP”) was signed into law. PUMP further amends the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by extending protections for employees who need to express breast milk at work. PUMP broadens the available remedies for violations and extends employee coverage requirements. The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (the “DOL”) recently issued guidance on PUMP’s requirements.Continue Reading The Department of Labor Issues Guidance for Employers Concerning the PUMP Act