COVID Continuation: California Expands Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Coverage for Employers With Over 500 Employees

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz On September 9, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1867.  AB 1867 amends the Labor Code and requires, among other things, that private employers with 500 or more workers (i.e. those that are excluded from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act) provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave beginning September 19, 2020.  The Purpose of AB 1867: … Continue reading COVID Continuation: California Expands Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Coverage for Employers With Over 500 Employees

Ninth Circuit Permits Ashley Judd to Pursue Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein Due to “Inherent Power Imbalance”

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Bethanie Thau Late last week, the Ninth Circuit reversed dismissal of actress Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against producer and Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein.  Judd’s harassment claim alleges Weinstein derailed Judd’s potential casting in The Lord of the Rings films after she rebuffed his sexual advances during a hotel room business meeting early in Judd’s career.  The revived claim alleges … Continue reading Ninth Circuit Permits Ashley Judd to Pursue Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein Due to “Inherent Power Imbalance”

Board Limits Employer-Friendly Unilateral Change Rule’s Application Following Expiration of CBA

Written by Jonathan Turner and Grant Goeckner 

Spoiler Alert – unless you regularly deal with collective bargaining agreements you may find this a tad wonky.

As we have seen over the time of the current administration, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has applied a more business-friendly approach when deciding cases arising under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  While many of those cases have re-examined prior Board precedents set during the Obama administration, the current Board’s willingness to reverse course is not without limit, as we recently saw in Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. d/b/a KOIN-TV, 369 NLRB No. 61.  In Nexstar, the employer asked the Board to extend the reach of the “contract coverage” rule adopted by the Board in late 2019 in M.V. Transportation, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 66.  That rule set forth a new standard for determining when an employer’s action taken in reliance on contractual provisions under a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) constitutes a “unilateral change” in violation of the NLRA.  Under the new standard, which we discussed in a prior client alert, the Board held that if an employer makes a change to working conditions without bargaining with the union, the Board will first look to whether the plain language of the CBA grants the employer the right to make the change.  If the CBA permits the action, there is no violation of the NLRA.  If the CBA does not, further analysis is needed.  [Full Alert Available Here]. Continue reading “Board Limits Employer-Friendly Unilateral Change Rule’s Application Following Expiration of CBA”

Protecting At-Risk Employees

Employers Cannot Exclude At-Risk Employees, Says EEOC in New Return-to-Work Guidance 

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Carly Epstein

The EEOC recently answered the question whether employers can bar from the workplace employees who, according to the CDC, are at a “higher risk for severe illness” if they get COVID-19.

In the words of the EEOC in its press release: “It is important that employers understand that the ADA does not allow them to act against employees solely because the employee has a CDC-listed underlying medical condition.”

An employer cannot exclude — or take any other adverse action against — an employee solely because he/she falls within the CDC identified high risk category.  Instead, the employer must determine whether the “employee’s disability poses a ‘direct threat’ to his health that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.” Continue reading “Protecting At-Risk Employees”

Workers Comp For COVID-19

Contracting COVID-19 Through Work Is Now Presumed Under California Workers Compensation

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Louise Truong 

On May 6, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20, which provides that any COVID-19 related illness that an employee contracts between March 19, 2020 and July 5, 2020 shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment for workers’ compensation purposes.  This presumption will only apply if all of the following conditions are met: Continue reading “Workers Comp For COVID-19”

No R&R for LA Employers Under New Recall and Retention Ordinances

Two New Los Angeles Ordinances Create New Worker Recall and Retention Protections… For Select Businesses Written by Jeremy Mittman and Bethanie Thau  On May 4, 2020, Mayor Garcetti signed two new city ordinances creating recall and retention protections for non-supervisory workers in certain industries deemed severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and “Safer at Home” declarations by Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti. The COVID-19 Right … Continue reading No R&R for LA Employers Under New Recall and Retention Ordinances

Keeping Food Sector Workers Posted

California Issues Model Notice of Food Sector Worker Paid Sick Leave That Eligible Employers Must Post

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz

On April 16, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20 (the ”Order”), which requires “hiring entities” with at least 500 employees in the United States to provide “food sector workers” who are unable to work for COVID-19-related reasons with up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave.  We previously reported on the Order, which is one of several recent California laws providing paid sick leave to workers who are not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Continue reading “Keeping Food Sector Workers Posted”

Employees Put to the Test

Employers May Test Employees for COVID-19 Before Allowing Their Return to Workplace, EEOC Says Written by Jeremy Mittman and Thea Rogers The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) said in guidance released Thursday that employers may administer COVID-19 testing to employees in order to determine if they have the virus, prior to permitting them to return to the workplace.  The agency stated that this latest … Continue reading Employees Put to the Test

Accommodation Landmines Await

EEOC Issues New Guidance on COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodation and Return-to-Work Issues

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Corey Singer 

On April 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updated guidance for employers, providing further technical assistance about complying with workplace issues during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the EEOC’s new Q&As for employers concern how to handle employees’ accommodation requests in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  For instance, the agency advised that employers may ask questions or request medical documentation to determine if the employee has a “disability” under the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”).  Employers also may forgo or shorten the “interactive process” and grant the accommodation requests, if necessary. Continue reading “Accommodation Landmines Await”

Order Up!

California Provides Supplemental Paid Sick Leave For Food Sector Workers

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz

On April 16, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20 (the ”Order”), which requires “hiring entities” with at least 500 employees in the United States to provide “food sector workers” with up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave related to COVID-19.  The Order, effective April 16, 2020, is the second recent law in California providing paid sick leave to workers not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”)(which requires employers with  fewer than  500 employees provide paid sick leave).  We previously reported on the Los Angeles emergency ordinance providing similar paid sick leave provisions for employees of larger employers not covered by the FFCRA.

Although the Order explicitly addresses “food sector workers”,  it is not necessarily limited to workers in the food industry.  The Order may apply to employers across all industries, if those employers have workers engaged in food services.  Consequently, all employers should carefully scrutinize the provisions of the Order to determine if they apply.  Here is what employers need to know about the Order: Continue reading “Order Up!”