Today we offer our last installment in our 2016 Year in Review segment, which will cover the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in California. Prior installments for the DC Metro Area, New York and Massachusetts are available here.  In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017.  Register here.

In 2016 employers in California had to adjust to compensation and benefits related changes such as a new state minimum wage, a new method of calculating compensation for “piece-rate employees,” and expanded “kin care” benefits. The California Fair Pay Act, aimed at addressing gender wage discrimination also went into effect, modifying existing laws in a few key ways. The legislature also amended California’s Private Attorneys General Act to grant employers a few new ways to “cure” violations.

In 2017 employers should ensure they are complying with “all gender” bathroom requirements and that when making hiring decisions they do not rely on “juvenile offense history.” Employers should also be aware that there is a trend for cities and/or counties to further limit the kinds of information employers may consider in making hiring decisions. Also on the horizon is the probability that the legislature will revisit a new unpaid parental leave law that would impact smaller businesses.

Continue Reading 2016 California Employment Law Year In Review

As all HR professionals and employment lawyers know (even those currently living under rocks), the Department of Labor’s final overtime rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016 – less than two weeks from now.  The DOL published the rule back on May 18, 2016 providing employers with nearly 200 days to come into compliance.  Many have planned accordingly and are ready to go; others are finally focusing on this issue as the deadline nears.  At the same time, questions continue to arise over the rule’s fate.  In this post, we discuss the current state of play along with some compliance tips for employers.

Continue Reading Uncertainty Continues to Swirl Around DOL’s Overtime Rule as Employers Make Compliance Push

With Election Day just a week away(!), it’s important that employers familiarize themselves with their employees’ rights to take leave to vote.  While there is no Federal law granting employees the right to voting leave, at least half the states provide this right in some form.

Continue Reading Employers Must Be Mindful of Voting Leave Rights on Election Day

By Audrey Nguyen with Michael Arnold

California’s Fair Pay Act was already one of the broadest equal pay laws in the country.  Governor Jerry Brown recently expanded it further by signing two laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2017.  We summarize the expansion below.

Continue Reading California’s Fair Pay Act Now Covers Race, Ethnicity, and Prior Compensation History

By Michael Arnold, Brent Douglas and Audrey Nguyen

Beginning next year, employers may no longer force their California employees to resolve their employment-related disputes outside of California or use non-California law when doing so.  With limited exceptions, the new law, codified at Labor Code Section 925, will be applicable to all employment agreements entered into, modified, or extended on or after January 1, 2017.  The new law is yet another attempt by California policymakers to provide added protections to employees working in their state.

Continue Reading Another Employee-Friendly Law: New California Law Aims to Keep Employment-Related Disputes Centered in California

By Audrey Nguyen and Michael Arnold

California’s governor has signed into law a bill aimed at discouraging discriminatory age hiring practices in the entertainment industry.  The law focuses on internet websites identifying ages, but critics question whether the law is constitutional and if it will have any real impact.

Continue Reading New California Law Will Require Online Entertainment Database Sites to Remove Age-Based Information

The trend toward local regulation of employment laws continues in California with three new local wage and hour enactments.

San Diego

On June 7, 2016, San Diego voters passed a ballot initiative containing two provisions for hourly workers. First, San Diego’s new minimum wage will be $10.50 per hour once the ballot results are confirmed, which is expected to be in mid-July.  Second, San Diego will have its own paid sick leave policy of five days (40 hours) – which is in excess of the state law that allows employers to limit use of accrued paid sick leave to three days (24 hours).

Like the state law, San Diego’s paid sick leave will accrue at one hour for every 30 hours worked and cannot be used until after 90 days of employment. Also like the state law, San Diego’s sick leave initiative allows accrued leave to be front loaded or accrued, and it must be carried over year to year.

Continue Reading Three California Municipalities Enact New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Laws

Last month, a California state appellate court issued a decision that, as the dissent characterized, went “where no one has gone before.”  In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., the court held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – California’s anti-discrimination law – requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to a nondisabled employee who associates with a disabled person.  This troubling and broad interpretation of the law, which effectively would import a caregiver accommodation requirement into the law, has certainly captured the attention of employers even outside this jurisdiction.

Continue Reading Does an Employer have to Accommodate a Nondisabled Employee Because of Another’s Disability? Yes, Says One California State Appellate Court

Last Thursday, Uber settled two closely-watched class actions contesting Uber’s classification of approximately 385,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts as independent contractors as opposed to employees. While the plaintiffs viewed the settlement as a victory, so likely did Uber, as it allows Uber to continue to pursue an on-demand independent contractor service business model.  The court, however, still needs to approve the settlement and whether it will do so is not clear. Continue Reading Uber Aims to Settle Two Class Actions; Approximately 385,000 Uber Drivers in California and Massachusetts to Remain Independent Contractors – At Least for Now

California and New York have each passed laws that will gradually raise their state’s minimum wage rate to $15 per hour.  This is a stunning development coming just four years after a small group of New York fast food workers initiated the call for the increase.  The new laws will impact millions of Americans and put pressure on other jurisdictions and business to make similar increases in other parts of the country.  We briefly break down the new laws below.

Continue Reading California and New York Approve Phased-In $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage, Highest in Country’s History