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Labor and Employment

  •   July 2021 Non-exempt employees in California who work more than five hours in a day are guaranteed at least one 30-minute unpaid meal break that must be taken no later than the end of the employee’s fifth hour of work.  California Labor Code § 226.7 requires employers to pay employees a premium payment of “one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation” if the employees are not provided with a compliant meal break (e.g. if the meal break is less than 30-minutes or if the employees are required to continue working during their meal period). […]

  •   July 2021 Recent heat waves and the continued rise of global temperatures are reminders that employers in California must develop and implement a compliant Heat Illness Prevention Program if employees are required to work at an outdoor jobsite. This is especially true in the construction industry where employees often work on jobsites without natural shade or air-conditioned facilities. According to a recent article from Bisnow, citing data from the Center for Construction Research and Training, 285 construction workers died from heat related illnesses between 1992 and 2016, “accounting for 36% of these type of deaths across all professions despite […]

  • July 2021 In 1975, labor effort directed by Cesar Chavez led to the passage of the California Agriculture Labor Relations Act of 1975 (the “Act”). One of the Act’s provisions required agricultural employers to allow union organizers access to their property for up to three hours per day, 120 days per year for organizing efforts. The Act limited the times that union organizers could be present to avoid interfere with the workday, and required organizers to provide notice to the employer prior to coming onto the property.   In 2015, two agricultural companies (the “Growers”) blocked union organizers from accessing their […]

  •   On June 17, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board adopted revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for COVID-19 related safety in the workplace. For those following Cal/OSHA’s recent meetings, the revised ETS has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride. In early June, the Standards Board adopted an ETS seen by many as overly restrictive. For example, the ETS would have required continued mask usage for all employees, regardless of vaccination status. One week later, the Standards Board held an emergency meeting where it rejected the previously approved standards. The newly approved ETS continues Cal/OSHA’s policies for worker safety […]

  • May 2021 The California federal district court has weighed in regarding the extent of employer liability for COVID-19 related illnesses.  In Kuciemba et al. v. Victory Woodworks Inc., a spouse (Corby Kuciemba) of an employee (Robert Kuciemba) brought a civil lawsuit against Robert’s employer.  The lawsuit sought to hold Robert’s employer liable when Robert contracted COVID-19 in the workplace and, thereafter, transmitted the disease to Corby. The district court dismissed the lawsuit pursuant to the defendant’s motion.  The court ruled that the employer’s “duty to provide a safe workplace to its employees does not extend to nonemployees who, like [Corby], […]

  •   May 2021 Recent Evolution of California’s Independent Contractor Laws reviewed changes to California’s independent contractor laws over the last few years, including the implementation of the ABC Test. The ABC Test was first established by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903, 916-917 and then codified in 2019 by Assembly Bill 5 (“AB-5”). The ABC Test presumes that a worker is an employee unless the employer can establish: (A) The worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both […]

  • On April 16, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (“SB”) 93 into law, enacting Labor Code section 2810.8. This new law, which is effective immediately, provides employees in certain hospitality industries the right-to-recall if they were laid-off due to COVID-19. This right-to-recall is effective through December 31, 2024. Employers who fail to provide employees with these recall rights face substantial consequences. What Employers Are Subject to SB 93? SB 93 applies to certain employers in the hospitality industry or connected to the hospitality industry. These employers include: • Airport Service Provider: An airport service provider is defined as “a […]

  • California affords employees the right to a meal period if they work five or more hours in a day. A compliant meal break requires: (1) That the employee is relieved of all work duties; (2) That the employee can take a meal period of at least 30-minutes; (3) That the employee can take a meal period no later than the end of the fifth hour of work; and (4) That the employee can take a second meal period no later than the end of the tenth hour of work. An employer that fails to provide meal periods compliant with these […]

  • On March 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill (“SB”) 95, a new COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave requirement. SB 95 went into effect on March 29, 2021 but applies retroactively to January 1, 2021. SB 95 was passed in response to the expiration of sick leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1867 at the end of 2020. SB 95, however, is more expansive than either of those prior acts. The California Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”) has published a comprehensive FAQ providing guidance on SB 95 compliance. […]

  • Construction employers with worksites in the Central Valley should be aware of new Valley Fever training requirements for their employees. Under Labor Code section 6709, construction employers with worksites in specific counties must provide employees with yearly Valley Fever awareness training on or before May 1 of each year. Training must be provided if the “work activities disturb the soil, including, but not limited to, digging, grading, or other earth moving operations, or vehicle operation on dirt roads, or high winds.” The provision applies to construction sites in the following counties: • Fresno • Kern • Kings • Madera • […]