DOL Opinion Letter That Some Gig Workers...

On April 29, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) issued an Opinion Letter in response to an inquiry by a single, unnamed company that sought the Department’s guidance on whether its workers could properly be considered contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), which mandates minimum wages and overtime pay for employees, but not for independent contractors. To determine whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor, the DOL looks at six factors that demonstrate “economic dependence.” (See...

The Rapidly Evolving Cannabis Laws: It’...

Federal, state, and local laws regarding the legalization of marijuana, and medical use of marijuana, are rapidly changing, which puts employers in a tough situation when they learn of an employee’s marijuana use. Federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, but California has legalized both recreational and medical marijuana use. As of today, California employers are not required to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana outside of work. Given the rapid changes in the laws, however, it’s a good idea to make sure that your company’s drug...

Update — Important Changes In Sexu...

Outgoing Governor Jerry Brown signed dozens of bills into law on Sunday, September 30, 2018. Many of these new laws are in response to the #metoo movement and specifically target sexual harassment. This blog summarizes the key features of these laws and their effect on employers as well as others, such as VCs, who can now be held legally responsible under the sexual harassment laws for harassing non-employee persons who work for actual or potential portfolio companies. These laws highlight the importance of regularly reviewing and revising training as well as...

Class Certification Defeated in Twitter ...

Recently, another technology company defeated class certification in a gender discrimination lawsuit. On July 3, 2018, a California state court judge denied female Twitter employees class certification in a lawsuit entitled Huang v. Twitter. This ruling follows a federal judge’s denial of class-action status to females in a gender bias case against Microsoft Corporation. Similar cases are currently pending against Google and Oracle. In Huang v. Twitter, the named plaintiff, Tina Huang, initially sued Twitter in 2015 and alleged that Twitter wrongly fired her, and that...

New Protections For Employers Reporting ...

California employers for the most part play it safe by following their job reference policies allowing them to state period of employment, job title, and possibly compensation (with the employee’s consent). For those who go beyond these basics, there is a dilemma when asked to respond to a reference check regarding a former employee who has had his or her employment terminated due to an accusation of sexual harassment. Thus, by informing a future employer of an employee’s misconduct, the former employer opens itself up to a defamation claim by an employee claiming he...