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Yearly Archives: 2015

  • California employers should take steps to ensure compliance with several new employment laws that take effect January 1, 2016. This article covers important provisions in some of those laws.  1. Wage and Hour Laws  • The Fair Pay Act (Senate Bill 358) SB 356, known as the Fair Pay Act, significantly changes the California Equal Pay Act related to gender wage inequality. The bill prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, except where the employer demonstrates the pay differential is […]

  • On October 2, 2015, Governor Brown signed AB 1506, which provides some relief to employers guilty wage statement violations.  The new law, which went into effect immediately, gives employers an opportunity to “cure” certain wage statement violations within 33 days after they receive notice of them. California law requires that certain information be included on employee pay stubs, including the name and address of the employer, wages earned, hours worked, deductions, and the inclusive dates of the pay period.  (See Labor Code § 226(a)).  Employers failing to meet section 226’s requirements can be liable for enormous penalties under California’s Private Attorneys General […]

  • The California Court of Appeal recently clarified the scope of Labor Code §1102.5(b)’s anti-retaliation provisions, which protect employees from retaliation by their employer for disclosing information to a law enforcement agency. The case is an important reminder of the broad scope of section 1102.5(b), and the need for employers to carefully consider a decision to terminate an employee. Under Labor Code §1102.5(b), an employee is protected from retaliation by his or her employer for disclosing information to a law enforcement agency where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal law. […]

  • Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act. The law is set to go into effect January 1, 2016. Below is our analysis from early September.  SB 358, known as the Fair Pay Act, is set to be signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. The law makes a number of revisions to California’s Equal Pay Act related to wage inequality, which will impact employers throughout the state.  The Fair Pay Act significantly changes current law by prohibiting employers from paying employees of different sexes less than each other for “substantially similar work” (prior law prohibited unequal pay for “equal work”). The […]

  • Late last month the National Labor Relations Board ruled that in many instances a contractor can be the employer of its subcontractor’s employees. In Browning-Ferris Industries of California NLRB Case No. 32-RC-10968, the Board considered a contractual arrangement between Browning-Ferris Industries, a waste management company operating in California, and Leadpoint Business Services, a temporary employment agency. Under the staffing agreement between the two companies, Leadpoint provided temporary employees to BFI. While the agreement stipulated that Leadpoint was the temporary employees’ “sole employer,” the Board nonetheless concluded that a joint employment relationship existed and compelled BFI to collectively bargain with the staffing […]

  • HARTFORD CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY v. J.R. MARKETING, L.L.C., et al., (Aug. 10, 2015) 190 Cal.Rptr.3d 599, 2015 WL 4716917 The California Supreme Court ruled that Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. can bring a direct action against Squire Patton Boggs LLP to recover some of the $13.5 million it paid the law firm as independent counsel under C.C. Section 2860 (Cumis) to defend its insured against claims that it stole business from a former employer. In Buss v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal.4th 35 the Court held that an insurer who must defend the entire action even if some claims are not-covered may reserve […]

  • On Tuesday, Governor Brown signed into law new protections for workers at large grocery stores.  AB 359, in essence, protects grocery store worker form being fired without cause for 90 days after a grocery store changes ownership. After the 90 day period, the new owner must “consider” offering continued employment the old workers. The law applies to grocery stores larger than 15,000 square feet. The law makes California the first state in the nation to pass a statewide grocery worker retention law, but several cities, including San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles already have local ordinances that provide similar protections […]

  • On Tuesday, August 17, 2015, the California Court of Appeal affirmed an order denying an employer’s motion to compel arbitration because, the Court found, the agreement was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. Employers can and should use this case as a reminder to closely review, and if necessary revise, their arbitration agreements.  In January 2014, a former employee of Home Team Pest Defense filed a complaint alleging that she was wrongfully terminated from her position as office manager in Home Team’s Antioch office. Home Team moved to compel arbitration of her claims, based on an “Agreement to Arbitrate,” electronically signed […]

  • On August 5, 2015 the New York Times reported that President Obama drafted an executive order that would require companies that contract with the Federal Government to issue paid leave to their employees. The order, if adopted in substantially similar form to the draft leaked by the Times, could potentially impact hundreds of thousands of workers because it would apply to federal contractors and subcontractors.  Accrual, Carryover and Use The executive order, labeled “Pre-decisional and Deliberative” would require covered employees to earn sick leave at a rate of 1 hour earned for every 30 hours worked, with a minimum of 56 hours per […]

  • Netflix upped the stakes in the tech industry when it announced it was implementing an unlimited fully-paid parental leave policy during the first year of a child’s birth or adoption. Microsoft quickly announced that it was expanding its parental leave policy, extending fully paid time off to twelve weeks for both mothers and fathers, with an additional eight weeks of fully paid maternity disability leave for new mothers.  While generous parental leave benefits are fairly common in the highly-competitive tech industry, paid parental leave is uncommon across the United States. No federal law requires an employer to offer paid time off to new parents, […]