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Video Interview: Discussing California’s Paid Sick Leave with LXBN TV

My colleague Bryan Hawkins recently discussed California’s new paid sick leave law with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN. You can catch the interview on the clip below. As Bryan noted in his original post, California is the second state in the nation (after Connecticut) to enact a state-wide law requiring most employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, marking the latest … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Rules Employers Must Reimburse Employees For Work Calls on Personal Cell Phones

The California Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc.  was simple.  When employees must use their personal cell phones for work, California law requires employers to reimburse them, regardless of whether the cell phone plans are for limited or unlimited minutes.  This decision, however, could have a wide ranging impact … Continue Reading

California Enacts State-Wide Paid Employee Sick Leave Law

On September 10, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1522 (the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014”) and made California the second state in the nation (after Connecticut) to enact a state-wide law requiring most California employers to provide paid sick leave to employees.  This marks the latest development in a growing trend that … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies When a Franchisee’s Employees Can Bring Employment Claims Against the Franchisor in Taylor Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC

In Taylor Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, the California Supreme Court restricted the ability of a franchisee’s employees to sue the franchisor based on theories of vicarious liability and the theory that the franchisor was an “employer” under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). With this decision, franchisors can breathe a sigh of relief as … Continue Reading

9th Cir. Finds FedEx Delivery Drivers Are Employees, Not Contractors

Last week, the 9th Circuit held in two related cases from California and Oregon that FedEx misclassified approximately 2,600 delivery truck drivers as independent contractors, rather than as employees. The cases—Alexander v. FedEx and Slayman v. FedEx—are an important reminder for employers that reality matters more than labels when it comes to classifying workers.  On that … Continue Reading

Washington Court of Appeals Expands “Jeopardy” Element of Claim for Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy

This month the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III issued a ruling in Becker v. Community Health Systems, Inc. that expands protections in a wrongful termination action based on violation of a public policy. In Becker, the Plaintiff, a former chief financial officer for Community Health Systems, Inc. (“CHS”), alleged that while CHS initially … Continue Reading

Washington Court of Appeals Holds Independent Contractors Are Protected from Retaliation by the Washington Law Against Discrimination

The Washington courts are strict in their interpretation of the classification of individuals as employees versus independent contractors, resulting in many an employer discovering that an “independent contractor” is instead an employee. But the Washington Court of Appeals’ recent ruling in Currier v. Northland Services, Inc., confirms that even those individuals who qualify as bona fide … Continue Reading

Washington State Supreme Court’s Decision on Religious Accommodation: What It Means for Employers

Employers in Washington should take note of last week’s decision from the Washington State Supreme Court holding that state law allows a claim for failure to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices. That result is hardly surprising, but how the Court reached that result, and its other conclusions along the way, will complicate how businesses … Continue Reading

Eugene, Oregon Poised to Be Next City To Put Itself On Paid Employee Sick Leave Map

Not to be outdone by its neighbors to the north–Portland and Seattle–Eugene, Oregon appears poised to become the next jurisdiction to pass an ordinance requiring employers to provide employees working within city limits with paid sick leave. A coalition of pro-sick leave advocacy groups, including Portland-based Family Forward, first brought the topic before the council in February. A majority of council … Continue Reading

Utah Supreme Court “Repudiates” the Federal Multi-Employer Worksite Doctrine

In an unapologetic rejection of a decades-old legal fiction hatched by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") and embraced by Utah Division of Occupational Safety and Health ("UOSH"), on January 31, 2014, the Utah Supreme Court repudiated the multi-employer worksite doctrine. Hughes General Contractors v. Utah Labor Commission, 2014 UT 3. The Court based its repudiation on … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Holds That the WLAD Exemption for Non-Profit Religious Organizations is Unconstitutional as Applied to Certain Employees

The Washington Supreme Court has significantly limited non-profit religious organizations’ immunity from employment discrimination claims brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”), RCW 49.60. In Ockletree v. Franciscan Health System, the majority held that the exemption of non-profit religious organizations from the definition of “employer” in the WLAD is unconstitutional as applied in circumstances … Continue Reading

Happy New Year from the Oregon Legislature: New Employment Laws To Watch Out For in 2014

Today we continue with our recent New Years theme.  Not to be outdone by their neighbors to the south, the Oregon Legislature was also busy in 2013.  And now that 2014 is upon us so too are a slew of new Oregon employment laws. In areas ranging from social media to sick leave, Oregon employers should carefully review their policies and practices … Continue Reading

A Not-So Happy New Year for California Employers: 2014 Legislative Update

It has become an annual New Year’s tradition in California — employers getting up to speed on a host of new employment laws that will affect them in the coming year. The California Legislature was busy in 2013 imposing new burdens on employers for 2014 and beyond. We previously blogged about an increase in the state minimum … Continue Reading

No Harassment, No Problem: Idaho Court Holds Harassing Comments May Still Support Liability for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

A November 27, 2013 opinion from the Idaho Supreme Court reinstated a former Assistant Vice Principal’s claim seeking damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress. This decision highlights that allegedly harassing workplace comments may subject employers to liability even though e the complaining employee cannot make out a traditional sexual harassment claim.  In Frogley v. Meridian … Continue Reading

Top 25 FAQs Employers May Have About Implementing the New Portland Paid Sick Leave Ordinance in 2014

In March 2013, the Portland City Council passed the new Portland Paid Sick Leave Ordinance requiring all but the smallest employers to provide paid sick leave (“PSL”) for employees who work within city limits. On November 1, the city released final regulations interpreting the Ordinance and fleshing out some of the requirements in more detail. Also, the … Continue Reading

New Seattle Job Assistance Ordinance Limits Employers’ Reliance on Criminal Records

Seattle employers are about to become much more restricted in their ability to inquire into or act upon the criminal records of applicants and employees. On November 1st, the Seattle Job Assistance Ordinance, SMC 14.17, takes effect and will apply to positions that are based in Seattle at least half of the time. The Ordinance does not … Continue Reading

2013 Minnesota Labor and Employment Update

Minnesota employers, take note:  laws that impact you are changing this year. Not only did the Minnesota legislature recently expand the use of employee sick leave (as we blogged about here) and legalize same-sex marriage, but several other changes occurred this year that may directly impact your business.  Here’s a quick round up of some of the most … Continue Reading

New California Law Provides that Sexual Desire Is Not a Required Element in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

In a same-sex sexual harassment case, does the plaintiff need to prove that the alleged harasser’s conduct was motivated by sexual desire?  Under SB 292, a law signed by Governor Brown a few days ago, the answer in California is "no."    A key question when dealing with a sexual harassment claim under California’s Fair Employment … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Continues Debate About Status of Wrongful Discharge Claims In Oregon in Kemp v. Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc.

Last week the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Kemp v. Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc., holding that the plaintiff’s common law wrongful discharge claim was not precluded by the statutory remedies then available under Oregon or federal anti-discrimination laws, and that claim could properly be decided by a jury.  The case is another wrinkle … Continue Reading
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