CA Governor Newsom Signs Flurry of New Laws

Written by Jeremy Mittman This month, California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted a flurry of new laws that directly impact California employers. Here’s a breakdown of the laws (all of which go into effect on January 1, 2022), and what you need to know: SB 331: Broadly Prohibits Non-Disclosure Clauses in Settlement Agreements Senate Bill 331 expands the limit on non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements to … Continue reading CA Governor Newsom Signs Flurry of New Laws

Mandatory Arbitration Is On the Ropes Again In California

Ninth Circuit Partially Upholds AB-51’s Attack on Mandatory Arbitration Written by Stephen Rossi and Teresa Greider California’s “AB-51” is a controversial law that limits employers’ ability to enter into arbitration agreements with employees, and provides possible civil and criminal penalties for employers that make arbitration agreements a mandatory condition of employment. In February 2020, a District Court in California issued a preliminary injunction barring the … Continue reading Mandatory Arbitration Is On the Ropes Again In California

California’s Prop 22 Concerning “Gig Economy” Drivers Ruled Unconstitutional by California Court

Written by Jeremy Mittman The dust is nowhere near settled in the battle over independent contractors in California. In the latest development, a California Superior Court judge ruled last week that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional and unenforceable. Prop 22, which was passed by California voters last November, allows certain “gig economy” workers (app-based delivery and transportation drivers) to be classified as independent contractors instead of … Continue reading California’s Prop 22 Concerning “Gig Economy” Drivers Ruled Unconstitutional by California Court

FDA Fully Approves Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine, Removing Potential Hurdle to Mandatory Vaccination Policies

Written by Jeremy Mittman Employers can breathe a bit easier when considering whether or not to adopt a mandatory vaccination policy to apply to their workforces. On August 23, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine full approval, elevating it from its previous Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) status. As most know by now, the Pfizer vaccine is the first of … Continue reading FDA Fully Approves Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine, Removing Potential Hurdle to Mandatory Vaccination Policies

California Supreme Court Holds That Rest And Meal Period Premiums Must Be Calculated In The Same Manner As Overtime Payments

Written by Jeremy Mittman & Corey Singer On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court settled a longstanding question in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, 2021 WL 2965438, about how an employer must calculate the extra hour of premium pay that California non-exempt employees are owed if a compliant meal or rest break is not provided.  In a significant reversal of prior court rulings, … Continue reading California Supreme Court Holds That Rest And Meal Period Premiums Must Be Calculated In The Same Manner As Overtime Payments

EEOC Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations: Yes, Employers Can Require Them

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Thea Rogers On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued much anticipated guidance to employers regarding whether employers can mandate that their employees receive COVID-19 vaccinations.  The key takeaway from this guidance is that employers can require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in order to return to the workplace.  Furthermore, neither the COVID-19 vaccination nor its administration … Continue reading EEOC Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations: Yes, Employers Can Require Them

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”