Michael Kelly

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Lessons for California Employers from Viking River (US)

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court waded into the complicated and controversial waters of California’s Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).  At issue was whether pre-dispute arbitration agreements between employers and employees could be enforced to compel PAGA claims into arbitration – California courts had said no.  At stake is a huge loophole which … 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’s COVID-19 Sick Leave: Expanded and Articulated (US)

AB 1867 was signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 9, 2020. The purpose of the bill is to eliminate gaps in coverage so that many more employee have access to paid sick days if they are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 in 2020. This means that the new law applies to … Continue Reading

California Privacy Rights Act Makes it to the November Ballot (US)

As California employers continue to grapple with compliance with employee-related portions of the California Consumer Privacy Act, it is worth keeping an eye on a follow-on law, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which now has enough signatures to be on California’s November 3, 2020 ballot. Of particular concern to employers should be the fact … Continue Reading

California Governor’s Order Creates Workers’ Compensation Presumption For COVID-19 Diagnosis (US)

As California employers prepare for the gradual re-opening of business, they must now take into consideration Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20 executed on May 6, 2020, making any COVID-19 infection diagnosed within two weeks of an individual working outside of their home presumptively work-related. This has the effect for employers of reversing the burden … Continue Reading

Santa Clara County Orders All Entities and Individuals Disclose Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment and Ventilators (US)

Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, issued a new Health Order on April 8, 2020. [https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Documents/order-04-08-20-ppe-disclosure.pdf] This order requires every entity and individual in the county to submit an inventory of qualifying quantities of certain Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) and Ventilators by April 15. The County has provided an online site to report … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Publishes Regulations Clarifying Various Aspects of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (US)

Some questions answered, many still remain On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released new regulations (29 CFR Part 826), attempting to clarify certain provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  As we previously reported here, under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provision of the FFCRA, certain public employers and … Continue Reading

Staying Open in California (and Elsewhere) During Mandatory Coronavirus-Related Closures (US)

At last count, ten counties in Northern California have issued Health Orders dictating the mandatory shut down of all but “Essential Businesses”.  The Counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Sonoma, Monterey, and San Benito.  These Orders are substantially similar and, as drafted, specify numerous exceptions to permit Essential … Continue Reading

California Passes Slew Of Worker-Friendly Laws, Most Notably Banning Mandatory Arbitration of Employment Claims

California Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a new batch of worker-friendly laws sponsored by Democrats in the California Assembly and Senate.  These laws cover a range of topics from arbitration agreements to workplace safety. AB 51 will garner particular attention because not only does it substantially prohibit arbitration agreements, it criminalizes them.  The new law … Continue Reading

California Passes Sweeping New Law Limiting Employer Use Of Independent Contractors (US)

AB 5, and its “ABC test,” expected to have greatest impact in “gig economy” jobs, but impact certain to be even more widely felt After a summer of lobbying and debating, the California Assembly adopted AB 5, a headline-grabbing law purporting to transform the status of gig-economy workers at companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.  … Continue Reading

California Legislature Passes Bill Prohibiting Arbitration Agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements Regarding California Employment Law Claims

On August 22, 2018, the California State Senate passed AB 3080, which, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, would invalidate two types of commonly-used employment contracts that have been the subject of significant dialogue in the vast wake of the #metoo movement. First, the bill proposes to prohibit employers from requiring employees to … 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 “ABC Test” For Independent Contractors Is Anything But Elementary

On April 30, the California Supreme Court adopted in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court the so-called “ABC test” to determine whether individuals are employees or independent contractors for purposes of determining the applicability of California’s Wage Orders.  The Wage Orders govern important employment issues including California’s unique daily overtime regimen and its requirements … Continue Reading

Paid Family Leave On the Rise – California and New York State Both Set to Expand Benefits Starting January 1, 2018

Come January 1, 2018, employees in California and New York will enjoy new and expanded rights to time off work, with pay, to attend to certain family needs.  New York, whose law was enacted in 2016 (see our prior post here), boasts its law as being the nation’s “strongest and most comprehensive” on paid family … Continue Reading

California Latest State to Adopt No-Ask Law

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a salary privacy law prohibiting California employers from seeking or relying on salary history information, including compensation and benefits, about an applicant for employment. Agents of the employer, such as recruiters, are also prohibited from seeking for this information. Further, upon reasonable request, employers must provide … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Marshalls out More Plaintiffs’ PAGA Rights

On July 13, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Williams v. Superior Court. The Court greatly expanded a plaintiff’s discovery rights in the early stages of litigation. For context, Marshalls of CA, LLC, a retailer with approximately 130 stores and more than 16,000 nonexempt employees, was sued by Williams under PAGA. … Continue Reading

California High Court Weighs In On Arbitration, Again

On April 6, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in McGill v. Citibank, once again striking out against arbitration agreements – this time declining to enforce a provision in a credit card account agreement which prevented the cardholder from bringing a claim for an injunction on behalf of the general public. The legal focus … 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

United States Supreme Court Declines to Review California Supreme Court Decision Erecting Barriers Against Arbitrating Private Attorneys General Act Claims

On January 20, the United States Supreme Court denied a motion for certiorari filed by CLS Transportation which was appealing the California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation, about which we blogged in June. While Iskanian generally vindicated employers’ right to enforce class action bans in arbitration agreements, the California Supreme Court distinguished … Continue Reading

Paid Sick Leave Comes to California Next Year….Get Your Policies Ready Now

California Governor Brown signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (the “Act”) which will provide qualifying California employees with paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015. Modeled on a Connecticut law and the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave ordinance, this Act will generally provide employees who work at least 30 days per year … Continue Reading

$324.5 million is Not Enough

United States District Judge Lucy Koh, sitting in San Jose, refused to approve a $324.5 million settlement in a case pitting a class of engineers against high tech giants Adobe Systems, Apple, Google and Intel. The engineers’ claims in the case captioned, In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, stem from a 2010 U.S. Department of … Continue Reading

US Labor Board Blesses Picket Line Crotch Grabbing

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled that Illinois Consolidated Telephone Co. violated the National Labor Relations Act when it suspended striking switchman Eric Walters for making an obscene gesture.  Specifically, Walters grabbed his crotch in a sexual gesture aimed at an employee crossing the picket line.  While the Labor Board did find credible evidence … Continue Reading
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