Signaling a growing movement to align culturally inclusive practices with legal protections, California has become the first state to expressly ban discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture associated with a person’s race. On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsome signed into law Senate Bill No. 188, the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act).
Currently, certain employers are required under federal law to file annual Employer Information Reports (EEO-1) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These EEO-1s must contain data regarding demographics of the employer’s workforce. Accordingly, employers covered by federal EEO-1 reporting requirements were required to file EEO-1 Component 1 data from 2018 by May 31, 2019, and must still submit Component 2 EEO-1 (pay and hours worked) data for their workforces by September 30, 2019. Not to be outdone, the State of California is poised to impose a similar requirement on employers.
On July 30, 2019, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) announced that its “emergency regulation requiring employers to protect workers from hazards associated with wildfire smoke is now in effect, following its approval yesterday by the [California] Office of Administrative Law.”
California is expanding state benefits available to workers who lose wages while taking time off to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. On June 27, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed California’s 2019-20 state budget, which included an expansion of the state’s family temporary disability insurance program administered through the Employment Development Department (EDD). The benefit program is commonly referred to as “paid family leave” or PFL.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California recently ruled in an employment class action regarding misclassification of trucking industry owner-operators as independent contractors. The ruling is a win for numerous industries.
A hot-button issue in California is whether an employer is required to pay for or reimburse an employee for shoes that are required as a condition of employment. A recent ruling by the California Court of Appeal highlights the complexity of the issue and lack of concrete guidance on a critical question: whether California workplace safety law requires an employer to pay for nonspecialty safety shoes, such as generic steel-toe boots, that the employer allows the employee to wear off the jobsite.
On July 9, 2019, the California Senate Judiciary Committee passed Assembly Bill 25 (AB 25), but only after certain changes were made to quell opposition to the bill by labor groups. The bill was originally drafted to exclude employees and job applicants from the definition of “consumer” under the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA).
On June 10, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that state wage and hour laws do not apply to offshore drilling workers where federal law addresses the relevant issue. In Parker Drilling Management Services v. Newton, No. 18-389, the Supreme Court answered the question of whether California’s laws governing the minimum wage and payment for “standby time” applied to workers on oil rigs in federal waters off the coast of California.
More and more organizations are beginning to use or expand their use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and services in the workplace. Despite AI’s proven potential for enhancing efficiency and decision-making, it has raised a host of issues in the workplace which, in turn, have prompted an array of federal and state regulatory efforts that are likely to increase in the near future.
On May 29, 2019, the California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 25. The bill now moves to the state senate for a vote.
The California State Senate and Assembly have been busy this year, moving a number of employment law bills through the legislative process. May 31, 2019, was the deadline for either the assembly or the senate to pass a bill and send it to the other house. A few employment-related bills failed to advance, but there are still a dozen major bills marching forward.
On May 29, 2019, Assembly Bill No. 5 (AB 5) passed a California State Assembly floor vote and headed to the senate. The bill would codify the “ABC” test announced this past year by the Supreme Court of California.
On April 18, 2019, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will consider an update to the regulations governing nighttime agriculture operations at its monthly meeting. In 2013, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (or Cal/OSHA) asked for a revised regulation because of prior accidents or fatalities that occurred during the darkness of nighttime agriculture operations.
As the January 1, 2020, effective date for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) draws closer, California lawmakers are still attempting to refine the law.
As California employers wait to see how the California legislature votes on independent contractor bills after the new ABC test was announced by the California Supreme Court last year, a recent federal case out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California has received some attention in the transportation industry.
California Senate Bill (SB) 188 seeks to provide a broader definition of “race” in California’s anti-discrimination law. The bill defines “race” as “inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”
On September 30, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed Senate Bill (SB) 826, a pioneering law mandating each publicly-held company headquartered in California to have at least one female on its board of directors.
On February 7, 2019, the Supreme Court of California issued its decision in Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, holding that employees may not sue their employers’ payroll companies for wage claims in connection with their employment.
Behavioral health claims administrators and plan sponsors alike may be looking more closely at their care guidelines—and how they are applied—after a federal court ruled in a California class action that a claims administrator had breached its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by applying standards of care that were more restrictive than generally accepted standards and by improperly prioritizing cost savings.
California legislators continue to advocate new legislation expanding employer requirements to provide lactation accommodations for employees. California Senate Bill 142 (SB 142) would amend the California Labor Code and the Health and Safety Code to require additional lactation accommodations for employees.
On February 25, 2019, in a much awaited decision, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a per curiam ruling in Yovino v. Rizo, No. 18-272, 586 U.S. ___ (2019). Rather than address the substantive issue of whether an employer may rely on salary history to establish starting pay under the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Court vacated and remanded the matter on a procedural—yet still important—issue.
California Assembly Bill 9 (AB 9), sponsored by Assembly Members Eloise Reyes, Laura Friedman, and Marie Waldron, would expand employee protections related to harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
In a ruling that will have a significant impact on the retail and restaurant industries, among others in California, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a retail employer’s call-in scheduling policy—in which employees were required to call the employer in advance of a shift to find out if they needed to show up for
In Duffey v. Tender Heart Home Care Agency, LLC, the California Court of Appeal for the First District addressed whether an in-home caregiver was an independent contractor or employee.
The disclosure requirement of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) remains one of the most contentious and expensive litigation areas for employers. The case law from various federal district courts has been a mixed bag, leaving employers to question what it means to provide a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure in a writing that “consists solely” of the disclosure.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its highly-anticipated website accessibility opinion in Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, reaffirming the obligation to make retailers’ websites accessible and rejecting the due process and primary jurisdiction arguments commonly asserted by defendants in website accessibility litigation.
Given the litigious environment in California, employers operating in the state are in great need of enforceable general release terms in severance and settlement agreements. California employers entering into severance or settlement agreements will want to be aware of the amendment to California Civil Code Section 1542.
Here are a few of the recent developments affecting workplace safety and health law in California.
In an order with significant implications for motor carriers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that California’s meal and rest break rules are preempted by federal transportation law and may no longer be enforced by the State of California where the driver is subject to federal hours-of-service (HOS) requirements. Specifically, on December 21,
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Mendoza v. Fonseca McElroy Grinding Co., Inc., et al., No. 17-15221 (January 15, 2019), requested that the California Supreme Court decide the following question: Is operating engineers’ offsite “mobilization work”—including the transportation to and from a public works site of roadwork grinding equipment—performed “in the execution of [a] contract for public work,” Cal. Lab. Code § 1772, such that it entitles workers to “not less than the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for work of a similar character in the locality in which the public work is performed” pursuant to section 1771 of the California Labor Code?