As a general principal, California law imposes on employers an affirmative duty to ensure their employees have access to a safe work environment. In a decision tailor-made for the COVID era (although the facts giving rise to it preceded the pandemic), the California Court of Appeal in Colonial Van & Storage Inc. v. Superior Court held that this duty may not extend to an employee’s home—rather, an employer does not have a duty to protect working-at-home employees from third party criminal conduct.(more…)
On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 114 creating Labor Code section 248.6, into law which reinstates supplemental paid sick leave in California, effective immediately. Supplemental paid sick leave applies retroactively to January 1, 2022, and extends through September 30, 2022. Employers’ obligation to provide the supplemental paid sick leave begins February 19, 2022.(more…)
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 was signed into law by President Biden on March 3, 2022.
On February 10, 2022, the US Senate passed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (the “Act”). The Act already passed the US House, and it is expected President Joe Biden will sign it into law. In brief, the Act will amend the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to allow a plaintiff who alleges a sexual harassment or sexual assault claim to invalidate a predispute arbitration agreement.(more…)
On January 27, 2022, in Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., No. S266001,___ Cal.5th ___, the California Supreme Court made it harder for employers to prevail on whistleblower retaliation claims by embracing the more employee-friendly analytical framework set forth in California Labor Code section 1102.6.(more…)
On November 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) long awaited emergency temporary standards (ETS), effective November 5, 2021, were announced establishing requirements for employers with 100 or more employees company-wide to enforce regarding vaccination, masking, and testing for COVID-19. The ETS require large employers to either mandate vaccines for all employees or institute weekly testing for unvaccinated employees. (more…)
In 2022 there will be a host of new California labor and employment laws that employers must navigate as they review and update their policies and practices. This post highlights key pieces of legislation that are due to take effect in the new year. Unless otherwise noted, all new laws discussed below will be effective as of January 1, 2022.(more…)
On October 7, Governor Newsom signed S.B. 331, the Silenced No More Act (“Act”), into law. The Act will take effect January 1, 2022. Existing California law limits the use of non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”) to settle already-filed claims alleging assault, discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of sex. The Act expands the law to include any legally protected basis. The Act also clarifies that NDAs cannot be used in certain employment agreements (including bonus or separation agreements) to prevent or restrict the disclosure of factual information related to unlawful acts in the workplace.(more…)
The Federal Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine clears the way for employers hesitant to mandate vaccines authorized under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) to now require employees receive an FDA approved vaccine.(more…)
The Ferra Decision
On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court unanimously held in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC that meal and rest break premiums must be paid at the “regular rate of pay,” which includes all non-discretionary payments. The decision has significant ramifications for California businesses, and highlights the urgent need for employers to review their meal and rest period practices to ensure compliance.(more…)
Several important new California employment laws have been passed in 2020. With exceptions as noted, the laws described below take effect on January 1, 2021.
AB 1867—Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, Handwashing, & Small Employer Family Leave Mediation