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Labor and Employment


  •   August 2022   California notoriously has some of the most stringent and complex employment laws in the nation. As such, even well-intentioned employers can easily find themselves running afoul of California’s rules and regulations, oftentimes at a significant cost. The following is a list of some of the most common mistakes employers make regarding California employment laws: 1. Overtime Under federal law, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week. California, however, also requires overtime for any hours worked in excess of 8 hours in a day. California also […]

  •   August 2022 Many employers elect to pay salespersons commission-based wages. Employers can benefit by this arrangement as the salespeople are paid based on the amount and quality of their work. The salespeople also have the opportunity to earn higher wages for their hard work. Employers, however, need to ensure they are following the correct legal procedures for commission payments. Otherwise, they run the risk of owning considerable wages, fees, and penalties. A. Commissions Defined In 1998, the California Courts handed down the decision of Keyes Motors, Inc. v. DLSE. This case defined commissions as those payments arising from the […]

  •   June 2022 Under California Labor Code § 226.7, and the Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) wage orders, employers must provide employees with a premium payment of one-hours’ worth of wages for every non-compliant meal and rest breaks.  Non-compliant meal breaks include failing to provide employees with at least 30 minutes, failing to completely relieve employees of job duties during the meal break, and failing to provide employees with the opportunity to take a meal break within the first five-hours of employment.  Non-compliant rest breaks include failing to provide two 10-minute paid breaks during a regular eight-hour workday and failing to […]

  • On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, also referred to as House Resolution (“H.R.”) 4445 (the “Act”). The overall purpose of the Act is to prohibit mandatory enforcement of arbitration agreements sexual assault and sexual harassment lawsuits. Instead, the Act gives the employee the option of proceeding with arbitration, if an arbitration agreement exists, or proceeding with claims in court, by amending the Federal Arbitration Act. The impact of the Act is that cases based on sexual assault or sexual harassment occurring or on or after March […]

  • California courts continue to demonstrate little patience for employment arbitration agreements that they deem are one-sided in the employer’s favor. In Ramirez v. Charter Communications, Inc., the appellate court affirmed a lower-court’s ruling holding that an employment arbitration agreement was unconscionable and, therefore, unenforceable.  The Ramirez court started its review with the well-established principle that unconscionability requires demonstrating both procedural and substantive unconscionability. Procedural unconscionability focuses on “ ‘surprise’ due to unequal bargaining power.” Substantive unconscionability focuses on “ ‘overly harsh’ or ‘one-sided’ results.”  While both procedural and substantive unconscionability need to exist, the elements do not need to exist in the same degree: “[t]he more […]

  • February 2022   Employers looking to retain or recruit talent realize that employees are not simply looking for a position with the highest salary. Employees may, for example, prioritize quality fringe benefits. These benefits may include traditional benefits, such as health and dental insurance, but also education allowances, surrogacy and adoption assistance, or unlimited vacation time. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that many employees are prioritizing office flexibility, including the ability to work remotely, so they can spend more time with their family and less time at the office or commuting. An idea that has received media attention lately […]

  • February 2022 A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court will likely make it easier for employees to bring and maintain Labor Code § 1102.5 whistleblower claims against employers.  In Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., the federal Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to clarify the framework used determining a section 1102.5 claim.  Section 1102.5 generally protects employees from retaliation for reporting a suspected violation of a local, state, or federal law or for refusing to participate in a suspected violation of local, state, or federal law.  When Section 1102.5 was enacted in 1984, the statute did not […]

  •   November 2021 Employment arbitration agreements continue to be a hot button issue in California. We recently highlighted a ruling by the Ninth Circuit that upheld AB 51, California’s ban on mandatory employment arbitration agreements. While the AB 51 decision was bad news for employers, the newly decided Martinez-Gonzalez v. Elkhorn Packing Co. LLC provides some relief. The representative plaintiff in the Elkhorn Packing case was a former farm laborer who worked for Elkhorn Packing Company (“Elkhorn”), a farm labor contractor. The plaintiff brought a class action claim for wage and hour violations. Elkhorn moved to compel arbitration and the […]

  •     October 2021   As 2021 winds down, California has yet again passed a host of new employment laws that has been signed by Governor Newsom.  Most of these new laws will take effect on January 1, 2022. The new employment laws cover a wide swath of issues, including medical leave, wage theft, settlement and severance agreements, Cal/OSHA regulations, and, of course, COVID-19.   CHANGES TO THE CALIFORNIA FAMILY RIGHTS ACT (CFRA) Last year, California enacted sweeping changes to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  The CFRA is the California equivalent to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act […]

  • September 2021   Mandatory Vaccination Policies are Likely Legal in Some States, but Should Your Business Implement Them_   For more information contact: Matthew Wallin   mwallin@gibbsgiden.com (310) 552-3400 Matthew Wallin is a senior associate in the Los Angeles office where he practices labor and employment law.  He has extensive experience defending private business and public entities in litigation and advising clients on labor compliance issues.     Or Missy L. Griffin mgriffin@gibbsgiden.com 669-209-7977 Missy Griffin is an associate in the San Jose office of Gibbs Giden where she represents clients in the areas of construction claims and litigation in addition […]