Karen Wentzel

Subscribe to all posts by Karen Wentzel

Employers Beware:  Take-Home COVID Cases are on the Rise (US)

You’ve just been informed that an employee who apparently contracted COVID-19 from an exposure in your workplace brought the virus home, and now his spouse, who is in a high-risk category, has contracted the virus and is in the hospital.  Do you as the employer face potential liability for the spouse’s illness? More than two … Continue Reading

What Employers Need to Know about California’s 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law (US)

On February 19, 2022, California employers with more than 25 employees must begin complying with California’s latest paid sick leave legislation (Senate Bill 114 to be codified as Cal. Labor Code § 248.6) and provide supplemental paid sick leave to covered employees who are unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 related reasons. While … Continue Reading

California Legislature Enacts New Employment Laws To Take Effect in 2022 (US)

The California Legislature increased the complexity of employment law in the Golden State by enacting several employment laws that will soon take effect.  Below we summarize key aspects of the more significant new legislation. Intentional Failure to Pay Wages May Constitute the Felony of “Grand Theft” (Assembly Bill 1003) Under current law, employers who wrongfully … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Panel Reinstates Restrictions on California Employment Arbitration Agreements (US)

In October 2019, California enacted a new law, AB 51, that on its face prohibits mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts. As expected, the law was immediately challenged in federal court. In the latest installment of the law’s journey through the courts, a split Ninth Circuit panel vacated a 2020 preliminary injunction that had forestalled … Continue Reading

California Agency Withdraws Proposed Revised Mask Regulation (US)

Less than a week after adopting a controversial proposal that would have required vaccinated employees to wear masks any time they were in a room with an unvaccinated person, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to withdraw the proposal. The Board plans to consider a new proposal at its next regular meeting … Continue Reading

California Agency Says Masks Stay On At Work – At Least for Now (US)

On June 3, 2021, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) took the first step towards adopting revised regulations relating to COVID-19 in the workplace. These revisions include updates to requirements for face coverings, physical distancing, and other preventive measures for both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers. The rules will apply in almost every workplace … Continue Reading

Dynamex is Retroactive Says the California Supreme Court  – The Independent Contractor Law Now Looks Back and Forward (US)

The range of employers who may be liable for the misclassification of workers just got bigger. On January 14, 2021, the California Supreme Court decided that the decision in  Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 (Dynamex) applies retroactively to all non-final cases that predate the April 2018 Dynamex decision. Dynamex … Continue Reading

Doing Business In California – When Can an Out-of-State Employer’s Non-Compete Provision Stand?

Most companies doing business in California are aware of California’s long-standing public policy in favor of employee mobility over an employer’s ability to impose a provision prohibiting an employee from going to work for a competitor post-termination, which is embedded in California Business & Professions Code Section 16600.  Particularly where the employer is headquartered outside … Continue Reading

Minutes Count: California Supreme Court Rejects De Minimis Doctrine for Wage Claim

On July 26, 2018, the California Supreme Court ruled in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation that the federal de minimis doctrine does not apply to a California employee’s class action wage claims.  This ruling will have widespread impact, particularly on those employers with large numbers of non-exempt employees such as retailers and food service providers, as … Continue Reading

California’s New Candor: Disclosing Rehiring Ineligibility for Employees Terminated for Harassment

Your company did the right thing: One of your employees reported a violation of your company’s sexual harassment policy, HR did an investigation and found the report credible, and the alleged harasser’s employment was terminated.  The employee is gone, but what do you do if the terminated employee’s potential new employer calls for a reference … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Expands Reach of Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Protections

Adding to an existing split among the federal appeals courts, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on March 8, 2017 that employees who make internal reports about suspected violations of the federal securities laws and other anti-fraud statutes are covered by the “whistleblower” protections of the Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank), even if … Continue Reading

The Politics of ‘Talking Politics’ in the Workplace: Some Basic Steps for Navigating Political Speech at Work

Tis the season for political debates. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it soon will.  You’ll go into the break room at work and a group of people will be arguing in increasingly heated tones:  should it be Hillary or Bernie?  Trump or Cruz?  Is Bernie too old?  Hillary not “man enough”?  What about … Continue Reading

EMPLOYEE STRESSED OUT BY MANAGER IS NOT DISABLED AND MAY BE TERMINATED

Stress can be a common workplace complaint, and such complaints are often attributed to managers—perhaps unsurprisingly given the managerial role of meeting performance goals. A recent case found that such narrow and particularized stress is not a disability recognized under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Aside from the reason for the plaintiff’s stress, … Continue Reading
LexBlog