Category: California

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California Codifies Dynamex – Now What?

On September 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 5, thereby codifying the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Lee.  This represents the culmination of a seismic shift in California employment law that began a little over a year ago. To refresh, starting in 1989, the leading … Continue Reading

California Employers Gain Time to Meet New Training Requirements for Employees

On August 30, 2019, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 778, extending for one year the deadline for providing harassment prevention training to employees.  California employers now have until January 1, 2021 to provide the sexual harassment prevention training mandated by SB 1343, which took effect on January 1, 2019. SB 1343 requires an employer … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Requires Proof of “But For” Causation for Claims Under Americans with Disabilities Act

On Tuesday, August 20, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case entitled Murray v. Mayo Clinic, joined four other Circuit Courts of Appeal in holding that a “but for” causation standard applies in ADA discrimination claims.  This standard is considered to make it more difficult for employees to prove discrimination claims than what … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Confirms that the “anti-SLAPP” Statute Applies to Claims of Discrimination and Retaliation

Prior to the California Supreme Court’s decision in Wilson vs. Cable News Network, Inc., California Courts of Appeal were split on whether California’s anti-SLAPP statute applied to an employee’s claims of discrimination and retaliation.  The Supreme Court in Wilson resolved this split in favor of the statute’s application, bringing a welcome bit of good (albeit … Continue Reading

California Legislature Moves to Codify Dynamex

With its decision last year in Dynamex, the California Supreme Court fundamentally changed the test for determining whether workers are properly classified as either employees or independent contractors.  Specifically, and as for claims brought under the California wage orders, the Supreme Court adopted the “ABC test,” which involves an analysis of the following three factors:  … Continue Reading

California Legislature Proposes Legislation Broadening Racial Discrimination Laws

On April 22, 2019, the California Senate voted unanimously to update California’s anti-discrimination laws to include within the definition of the term “race” “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”  If the bill ultimately becomes law, California would become one of the first states in the nation … Continue Reading

California Employers: Have You Complied with the New Training Requirements?

Effective January 1, 2019, employers that employ five or more employees in California must provide one hour of harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to all nonsupervisory employees, and two hours of such training to supervisory employees. This mandatory training must be provided by January 1, 2020, and once every two years thereafter. Under the … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Significantly Broadens the Scope of Employees Entitled to Reporting Time Pay

Many classes of California workers are entitled to “reporting time pay,” which is partial compensation given to employees who go to work expecting to work a certain number of hours but are deprived of working the full time due to inadequate scheduling or lack of notice by the employer.  Prior to the California Court of … Continue Reading

California Employers: Ignore Piece-Rate Compensation Rules at Your Peril

A recent California Court of Appeal decision upheld the state’s complex rules for compensating piece-rate employees.  In Nisei Farmers League v. California Labor & Workforce Dev. Agency, 2019 Cal.App. LEXIS 10 (Cal.Ct.App. Jan. 4, 2019), the Court held that the Labor Code’s requirement that piece-rate employees be separately compensated for “nonproductive time” was not unconstitutionally … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Calls into Question the Validity of Employee Non-Solicitation Provisions

California Business and Professions Code section 16600 invalidates any contract restraining anyone from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business.  While this language has been understood to prohibit non-compete agreements, it was generally understood that it still permitted employee “non-solicitation agreements,” which are agreements preventing former employees from poaching employees from their former employers.  … Continue Reading

California Courts Slowly Interpret Dynamex

Almost six months ago, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Dynamex, which dramatically altered the landscape pertaining to the classification of California workers as either employees or independent contractors.  This past Monday, the California Court of Appeal issued one of the first decisions interpreting that seminal case. In Dynamex, the California Supreme Court … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Resolves Conflict Regarding California’s Background Check Laws

In Connor v. First Student, Inc., the California Supreme Court resolved a conflict in Court of Appeal decisions relating to the constitutionality of California’s background check laws. Employers frequently request background information from job applicants.  California has two primary laws regulating the collection and distribution of this background information:  the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act … Continue Reading

California Labor Commissioner Issues $1.9 Million Citation to Contractor for Wage Theft

Continuing its aggressive enforcement of California wage and hour laws, the Labor Commission issued wage theft citations of $1.9 million to Fullerton Pacific Interiors, Inc. for failing to pay minimum wage and overtime and failing to provide rest periods to 472 workers on 26 construction projects throughout Southern California. Fullerton Pacific Interiors provided drywall work … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Determines that the Federal De Minimis Doctrine Does Not Apply to California Wage Claims

In Troester v. Starbucks Corp., the California Supreme Court determined that the federal de minimis doctrine does not apply to California wage claims.  While this ruling does not completely eviscerate this legal defense for California employers, it places a very high burden on employers who are brave enough to raise this defense in California courts. … Continue Reading

California Enacts New Law Protecting as Privileged Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaints

On July 9, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2770.  This bill extends privileged communication status to certain communications by employees and employers regarding alleged sexual harassment and continues California’s efforts to address claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Prior to AB 2770, California law protected as privileged an employer’s responses to … Continue Reading

California Federal Court Suspends Enforcement of Certain Provisions in California’s Sanctuary Laws

On July 5, 2018, a federal judge in the Eastern District of California granted the U.S. Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) request to temporarily prevent the state of California from enforcing key provisions of AB 450, one of three “sanctuary” laws that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on October 5, 2017, and which took effect … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Embraces New Employee-Friendly Worker Classification Standard

In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Lee, the California Supreme Court created a new employee-friendly test for determining whether workers are properly classified as employees or independent contractors.  While providing a level of certainty lacking in the prior standard, the Court’s new test significantly increases the burden on California employers in demonstrating that their workers … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Instructs Employers How to Calculate Employee Overtime Pay Rate

In Alvarado v. Dart Container Corporation of California, the California Supreme Court determined how employers must calculate an employee’s overtime pay rate when the employee earns a bonus during a single pay period. While the holding was fairly fact specific, it is a reminder on an often ignored (but critical) issue in California employment law: … Continue Reading

California Proposes New Legislation Prohibiting Confidentiality Provisions in Settlement Agreements

In the face of a continuing wave of highly publicized complaints of sexual misconduct in the workplace, California state senator Connie M. Leyva introduced Senate Bill 820.  If passed, this law would prohibit the inclusion of nondisclosure terms in settlement agreements relating to actions alleging claims of sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace.… Continue Reading

California Implements Significant Changes in the Employment Application Process, Employee Training, and Protected Leaves

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills regulating a wide range of employer actions, everything from the labeling of cleaning fluids to the employment application process.  While compliance with all of these new laws is important, four are of particular importance as they directly impact the information employers can seek from … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Puts a Small Crack in the Glass Door

An employer who unfairly and inaccurately is slammed by a former employee (or maybe even a current employee!) on a job-posting or employer-rating website will often look to its lawyer for help.  Surely the law protects against outrageous false statements that harm the employer’s ability to recruit new talent?  Maybe not—and if there is, it … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies California’s Day of Rest Statutes

In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, the California Supreme Court answered three questions from the Ninth Circuit concerning California’s “day of rest” statutes.  The Court’s decision clarifies a significant ambiguity for employers regarding the obligation to provide employees with their statutorily mandated day of rest. Mendoza involved a putative class action filed by former Nordstrom employees alleging … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Prohibits Employers from Implementing “On-Call” Rest Breaks

In Jennifer Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., the California Supreme Court determined that employers are prohibited from implementing “on-call” rest breaks.  This holding led the Supreme Court to reinstate an approximately $90 million judgment against the defendant employer. The plaintiff in Augustus worked as a security guard for defendant.  Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that defendant’s … Continue Reading

Breaking News: DOL Salary Rule Blocked By Federal Judge

The Department of Labor’s controversial rule that required “white collar” employees to be paid at least $47,476 per year in order to be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act will NOT go into effect on December 1, 2016 as planned (we wrote about the rule here).  A Texas federal judge on Tuesday agreed with 21 … Continue Reading
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