Written by Jeremy Mittman and Tiana Bey On September 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed two laws designed to protect California workers exposed or potentially exposed to COVID-19 at the workplace: Senate Bill (“SB”) 1159 and Assembly Bill (“AB”) 685. Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 Under SB 1159, California established a new rebuttable presumption that requires employers to treat a COVID-19 related illness or death of an employee as a workplace injury … Continue reading COVID-19 Workplace Outbreaks in California: Now Covered by Workers’ Compensation and Subject to Detailed Employee and Health Department Notification Obligations
In this video, MSK attorney Thea Rogers discusses the hot topic issues that employers should considering while preparing safe and compliant return-to-office plans. Continue reading MSK Minute: Thea Rogers Discusses Best Practices For Employers Preparing to Reopen the Workplace
In this video, MSK attorney Hilary Feybush discusses the most recent update to return to workplace guidance issued by the EEOC, which covers questions relating to an employer’s obligation to provide accommodations to “high risk” employees and other considerations for a safe return to the office. Continue reading MSK Minute: Hilary Feybush Discusses New EEOC Return to Workplace Guidance
In this video, MSK partner Jonathan Turner discusses The California Executive Order that created a rebuttable presumption, for purposes of receiving workers’ compensation benefits, that employees who test positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus while at work. Jonathan addresses whether employers should challenge this presumption, and the unforeseen implications that could potentially arise, including whether an employee’s family member could sue the employer for contracting … Continue reading MSK Minute: Jonathan Turner Discusses COVID-19 & Liability Regarding Employee Family Members
In this video, MSK partner Jeremy Mittman addresses how employers can effectively implement workplace screening and testing as they plan to reopen from COVID-related closures. Continue reading MSK Minute: Jeremy Mittman Covers Workplace Screening
UPDATE: President Trump Signs Families First Coronavirus Response Act
President Donald Trump signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” (H.R. 6201) on March 18, 2020, shortly after the Senate voted to approve the bill. The bill will take effect on April 2, 2020. For those who read our earlier post, the House of Representatives made a number of amendments on March 16, 2020 to the version of the bill it passed two days prior.
Why This Matters
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Fort Bend County v. Davis. The message received loud and clear for employers is that timing is everything when it comes to discrimination cases and the use of claim-processing rules, embedded in Title VII, as an affirmative defense. Employers would be well served to ‘watch the clock’ and avoid losing the opportunity to receive an early dismissal. The Court ruled that federal courts can hear discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act if employers do not timely raise the defense that workers failed to first file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or state enforcement agencies, as Title VII requires, before filing suit in federal court. Title VII is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, or religion. Continue reading “Timing Is Everything”
Why This Matters
On May 14, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) released an advice memorandum declaring that Uber drivers are independent contractors (not employees) and are, therefore, not eligible to unionize. The memo, dated April 16, 2019, said the drivers are independent contractors under the NLRB’s recently-adopted SuperShuttle test (see here), because they have “significant entrepreneurial opportunity” while driving for Uber. The NLRB’s standard only applies in the labor context. It does not apply to California wage claims and lawsuits, where the California Supreme Court has adopted the ABC Test set forth in Dynamex (see here). Continue reading “Hit The Road, Jack: Uber Drivers are Independent Contractors According to NLRB”
On April 23, 2019, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill into law extending the Healthy Workplaces Act, Tennessee’s workplace bullying prevention law, to private employers. The law went into effect immediately upon signing. Tennessee’s anti-bullying law encourages employers to adopt policies to address and prevent “abusive conduct” in the workplace. The law defines “abusive conduct” as “acts or omissions that would cause a reasonable person, based on the severity, nature, and frequency of the conduct, to believe that an employee was subject to an abusive work environment.” Continue reading “A Sign of the Times? Tennessee Expands Anti-Bullying Law to Private Employers”
Why This Matters
The day after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court applies retroactively (see here), California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) released an opinion letter concluding that Dynamex’s ABC test applies to both IWC Wage Order claims and certain Labor Code provisions that enforce Wage Order requirements. The California Court of Appeals has ruled that Dynamex applies only to claims brought under the IWC Wage Orders (see here) and the DLSE’s recent opinion letter seems to expand what that means.
While California state and federal courts are not bound by DLSE opinion letters (meaning they could reach a different conclusion as to exactly which California Labor Code claims fall under Dynamex), the DLSE’s opinion letter reflects the way that agency will be interpreting Dynamex moving forward. This will impact employers who face DLSE wage claims where employees contend they were improperly classified as independent contractors. Continue reading “The Ever-Expanding Dynamex Decision”