California Employment Law Update

Latest from California Employment Law Update

California Governor Gavin Newsom has released a 32-page “Employer Playbook” that’s designed to help employers “plan and prepare for reopening their business and to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.” The Playbook contains general guidance applicable to all industries, such as how to manage an outbreak, record cases, and enforce mask requirements. The Playbook also contains hyperlinks to relevant government contacts and industry-specific guidance. In addition, the Playbook mandates that before reopening, all facilities must: Perform a detailed risk assessment and create a work site-specific COVID-19 prevention plan; Train workers on how to limit the spread of…
For years, federal courts in California have been inundated with wage and hour class actions.  Because these cases often clogged district court dockets for months (and, sometimes, even years) on end, the Central District of California issued the former Local Rule 23-3, which set a 90-day deadline to file a motion for class certification from the filing of a complaint in or removal of an action to federal court.  In 2018, the Ninth Circuit invalidated the 90-day deadline, but judges continue to manage their dockets by imposing shorter than average deadlines to keep cases moving.  And, as a recent Central…
As businesses reopen and employers continue to adjust to the new reality created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to anticipate the types of employment-related claims that may arise. On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 10:00 AM PDT, please join Proskauer’s Labor and Employment Department for a complimentary webinar as we provide an overview of current employment litigation trends that have emerged as a result of the pandemic, an outlook of the types of claims businesses should expect as they reinvent the workplace in the wake of COVID-19, and the proactive steps employers should take to reduce the risk…
Employers may face juries that seek to hold them responsible if an employee contracts COVID-19, the trial consulting firm Dispute Dynamics suggests in its latest study. Dispute Dynamics surveyed 321 individuals, inquiring about their most up-to-date attitudes in the context of being called as a potential juror during/following the pandemic. 46% of the participants indicated that an employer should be held responsible if an employee contracts coronavirus in the workplace, while 26% of participants disagreed. Further, 41% of participants agreed that an important function of juries is to “send a message” to corporations to improve their behavior, while only…
As we previously reported, last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California’s State Public Health Officer cleared the music, film and television industry to resume work no earlier than this Friday, June 12, 2020, subject to county-by-county approval.  On June 10, 2020, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, announced that she was in agreement and authorized the resumption of film and television production in Los Angeles County, effective June 12, 2020. Late yesterday, Dr. Ferrer issued an updated Health Officer Order that officially permits music, film and television production to resume in the nation’s largest entertainment…
California has long been considered one of the “capitals” of the fitness industry as it is home to thousands of gyms and boutique fitness studios.  COVID-19 hit the state’s fitness industry particularly hard when shelter-in-place orders were announced in mid-March and, as we detailed in an article last month, now presents unique reopening challenges. On June 5, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that gyms and other fitness facilities may start to reopen as of today, June 12, 2020, subject to county-specific authorization.  That same day, Gov. Newsom issued a series of comprehensive guidelines for the fitness industry.  Among…
On Friday June 5, Gov. Newsom announced that California has authorized the music, film and television production industries to reopen on or after this coming Friday, June 12, 2020.  The same day, Gov. Newsom announced the reopening of fitness facilities, day camps, and several other industries. Although the State Public Health Officer had been issuing industry-specific reopening protocols, the Public Health Officer directed employers engaged in the music, film and television production industries to follow the guidelines published by the industry-wide labor-management safety committee task force on June 1, 2020.  Those guidelines are discussed here.  The Public Health Officer…
As we discussed in a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter in April, the entertainment industry faces unique challenges as it plans to resume operations.  On May 20, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested that California would release guidelines for reopening the entertainment industry by Memorial Day.  However, to date, California’s Public Health Officer has not released any targeted guidance regarding reopening the industry. The industry took charge and established an industry-wide labor-management safety committee task force, comprised of representatives from SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, IATSE, a collection of studios and a number of other industry stakeholders (the “Task…
The California Chamber of Commerce has just identified 10 recently introduced “job killer” bills that have been proposed by the California legislature. Worth noting are the following: AB 196 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Establishes “Conclusive Presumption” of Injury. Conclusively presumes that contraction of COVID-19 by all “essential workers” is a workplace injury, which will greatly increase the cost of workers’ compensation insurance for employers. AB 1107 (Chu; D-San Jose) Unemployment Insurance Compensation and Tax Increase. Raises employers’ share of payroll taxes to fund an increase in unemployment payments. AB 2999 (Low; D-Campbell) Requires Bereavement Leave. Requires employers to provide 10 days…
As if there weren’t enough to worry about, Los Angeles employers may face an even tougher challenge to prevail at trial in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic, the trial consulting firm Dispute Dynamics suggests in its latest study. On May 4th, Dispute Dynamics surveyed Los Angeles County residents and people nationwide, inquiring about their most up-to-date attitudes in the context of being called as a potential juror during/following the pandemic. Astoundingly, without knowing anything more about the case, 80% of respondents from Los Angeles County said that they would believe an employee over an employer in a dispute, compared…
When courts begin to ramp-up operations and start to impanel juries again for the thousands of backlogged civil and criminal trials, the composition of the jury pool may look different, suggests Dispute Dynamics. Dan Gallipeau and Jill Huntley Taylor at Dispute Dynamics conducted a 300-participant nationwide study last week to determine what, if any, effect COVID-19 might have on the composition of jury pools. Will courts treat fear of the coronavirus as a hardship and excuse jurors?  If so, who is most likely to claim the hardship? The study found notable differences among individuals who stated that they still…
On May 6, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20, which creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption that workers who are still reporting to their employer’s workplace and who test positive for COVID-19 are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.  Specifically, the Order provides that any COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be “presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment” if the following four conditions are satisfied: The employee tested positive or was diagnosed with COVID-19 infection within 14 days after the employee performed work at the employee’s place of employment; The employee’s services were performed…
Employers who have laid off workers due to COVID-19 may soon be required to rehire the laid off workers before they can hire any new employees. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a measure giving specified workers a “right of recall.” Employees who work in stadiums, concert halls, hotels, and airport-affiliated businesses, as well as janitorial workers, may be covered by the ordinance. The Council’s proposal aims to give workers a stronger sense of security and prevent employers from replacing older workers with younger, cheaper workers after the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. Employers opposing the ordinance worry that it will…
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued two new public orders in response to COVID-19’s continued growth and effect on essential businesses. Both of these public orders go into effect on Friday, April 10. The first order contains provisions relating to grocery retail store, drug retail store, and food delivery employees. It mandates: Grocery retail store and drug retail store employers to permit employees to change their schedules if the change is: (1) to provide daycare for the employee’s child; (2) to care for a sick member of the employee’s immediate family or member of its household; or (3)…
On March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new ordinance that would have required Los Angeles employers to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental sick leave relating to COVID-19.  The broadly-worded ordinance provoked opposition from some in the business community.  Last night, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority (“Emergency Order”) that suspends the City Council’s ordinance and created a modified form of supplemental paid sick leave applicable to employers with 500 or more employees in the City of Los Angeles or 2,000 or more in the United…
Tony Oncidi and Cole Lewis analyze the enforceability of an “unlimited” vacation or PTO policy in California in the wake of a new court case (McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation) for publication in Law360. In a groundbreaking decision in McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation Inc., addressing the growing trend of providing unlimited paid time off (but no accrued monetary benefits) to certain exempt employees, the California Court of Appeal’s Second Appellate District has weighed in with some important new restrictions, which could have significant implications once COVID-19 recedes and everyone heads back to work. In the modern employment setting,…