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Labor and Employment


  •   November 2020 Despite being a single sentence, Business and Professions Code § 16600 establishes substantial rights for employees to freely work in the profession of their choosing.  Section 16600 says in its entirety: “Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”  Section 16600 makes most non-compete agreement unenforceable in California. Understandably, section 16600 frustrates employers who have spent time and expense training employees only to see those employees freely leave to work for the competition. While employers […]

  • November 2020 For many businesses, a commission-based workforce seems like a win-win arrangement.  Employees do not have a cap on how much they can earn while employers get the benefit of a motivated workforce and no guaranteed salaries for underperforming employees. Semprini v. Wedbush Securities, Inc. No. G057740 2020 Cal.App. LEXIS 1061, is a cautionary tale that commission only employees are not exempt from overtime. In Semprini, two financial advisors brought a class action claim against Wedbush Securities, Inc. (“Wedbush”) for unpaid overtime. At trial, the trial court determined that the financial advisors were properly classified as exempt employees and, […]

  •   November 2020 Several new employment laws are going into effect in California on January 1, 2021. These new laws expand coverage of the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and establish employer obligations in response to COVID-19 outbreaks.  SB 1383 Expands Coverage of the CFRA SB 1383 is an expansion of the CFRA. The most sweeping change to the CFRA in SB 1383 is the expansion to small businesses. The CFRA currently guarantees unpaid leave to employees if the employer has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. SB 1383 will guarantee leave to employees if the employer has […]

  • 2021 is just around the corner and with it comes significant changes to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) from Senate Bill (“SB”) 1383. The CFRA is the state companion statute to the federal Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  It generally provides qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or because of an inability to work because of a serious health condition.  Employees qualify if they have worked for an employer for at least 12 […]

  •   October 23, 2020 PROPERLY DRAFTED SEVERANCE AGREEMENTS CAN PROTECT EMPLOYERS AGAINST LAWSUITS At some point, every employer faces the dilemma of needing to terminate an employee but fearing that the employee will respond with a lawsuit.  To complicate matters, California enacted AB 9 as of January 1, 2020, extending the deadline for file a claim of discrimination with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) from one year to three years.  A DFEH complaint is a prerequisite to filing a discrimination lawsuit in California.  After a DFEH complaint has been filed, the employee has another year to file […]

  • In Torrecillas v. Fitness Int’l, L.L.C., No. B296194, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 679 (Cal. Ct. App. July 21, 2020), Jose Torrecillas (“Torrecillas”) excelled as a general manager at Fitness International (“Fitness”).  Torrecillas set multiple all-time sales records, became Fitness’s highest paid general manager, and received several promotions.  Upon being promoted to Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Torrecillas signed a new employment contract that contained an arbitration agreement. Fitness ended up firing Torrecillas in 2017, and Torrecillas sued in state court in 2018.  Fitness moved to compel arbitration, but the trial court found that the parties’ arbitration agreement was both […]

  • By now every construction professional has been inundated with articles regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the construction industry. The sheer volume of information is overwhelming and changes by the hour. This article is intended to summarize key issues affecting construction professionals and serve as a general road map for navigating the crisis.   1.    Determine Project Status The first consideration is whether the construction projects at issue are allowed to proceed given “shelter in place” and related orders. Generally speaking, Governor Newsom has deemed construction to be essential and, therefore, exempt from California’s “Safer at Home” order. There is some debate as to […]

  • Yesterday the NBA announced that it has suspended its regular season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19).  Given the NBA schedule in the last two weeks, the entire NBA might have been exposed to the coronavirus!  Yesterday, President Trump also stated he was sharply restricting travel to the United States from more than two dozen European countries. While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) continues to issue caution given coronavirus does not pose an immediate risk of exposure for most people in the United States, given these announcements and the high probability that there will […]

  • Direct Contractors to Assume Liability for Unpaid Wages by Subcontractors on Private Works That’s right–direct contractor liability just increased. Assembly Bill 1701, which adds section 218.7 to the Labor Code, imposes liability on direct contractors for any unpaid wages or fringe benefits owed by a defaulting subcontractor, even if the subcontractor has been paid in full. Here’s a breakdown of the law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2018: Who is Impacted?  Labor Code section 218.7 applies to any private works direct contractor, meaning “the [contractor] that has a direct contractual relationship with the owner.” Cal. Civ. Code § […]