On June 18, 2024, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas announced a tentative deal to reform a number of aspects of California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). While legislation is yet to be introduced, the publicly announced key components of PAGA reform include an increase in employees’ share of PAGA penalties, caps on penalties for employers who take steps to comply with the Labor Code or fix potential issues after receiving notice of a PAGA claim, and requiring the representative plaintiff to experience every alleged PAGA violation to have standing. This reform, if enacted, is likely to curb, but not eliminate PAGA litigation for California employers going forward.Continue Reading PAGA Reimagined: A New Chapter for California’s Employers and Employees

In Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, the case’s second appearance before the California Supreme Court in two years, the Supreme Court confirmed that an employer does not incur civil penalties for failing to report unpaid wages, or any other required information on a wage statement, if the employer reasonably believed that it was providing a complete accurate wage statement.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Confirms the “Knowing and Intentional” Standard of California’s Wage Statement Law Requires a “Knowing and Intentional” Violation

Federal law establishes minimum wage and overtime requirements for non-exempt employees. These rules do not apply to individuals who qualify under the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”). Individuals only qualify as exempt if they meet specified requirements that include a salary level test, among other rules.Continue Reading New DOL Exemption Rule Requires Two-Step Salary Increases Under FLSA for Exempt Employees

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