California Employment Beat

On May 6, 2024, the California Supreme Court issued a significant ruling in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. (Case No. S279397). The decision provides much-needed clarity on California’s wage statement requirements and also held that employers can assert a good faith defense to wage statement claims under appropriate circumstances.

Labor Code section 226 states that California employers must provide employees with accurate itemized wage statements. Employees can seek statutory penalties if an employer fails to provide accurate itemized wage statements and such failure is “knowing and intentional”. (Lab. Code, section 226, subd. (e)(1).). While the statutory penalties are capped at $4,000 per employee (in addition to the employees’ associated attorneys’ fees and costs), the aggregated wage statement penalties can add up quickly in the class action context.Continue Reading Key victory for California employers: California Supreme Court accepts good faith defense to wage statement violations

For the past 20 years, the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has been a thorn to employer’s side in California. In 2004, PAGA, a California state law, was enacted to create a private right of action for workers to file representative actions on behalf of themselves and other workers based on specific labor code violations. The purpose behind enacting such legislation was to give authority to “aggrieved employees” to enforce the law, thereby alleviating the strain on California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). This private right of action empowered workers with the authority to enforce California’s numerous labor laws that the LWDA purportedly did not have resources to pursue. Successful PAGA litigants recover 25 percent of monetary penalties for state labor law violations, while the remaining 75 percent of penalties go to the LWDA. The statute also allows plaintiffs’ lawyers to recover attorneys’ fees if they prevail on a PAGA lawsuit.   Continue Reading Is this the end of PAGA?

California’s new law that creates a separate minimum wage applicable only to fast food restaurant employees took effect on April 1, 2024. Under Labor Code Section 1475 (LC 1475), this minimum wage is $20 per hour. It represents a significant increase from the current statewide minimum wage of $16 that went into effect at the beginning of the year. Many local jurisdictions within the state already have a minimum wage above $16 per hour, but none as high as $20 per hour. Continue Reading California’s new minimum wage for fast food restaurants took effect this month

Widely known as “Ban the Box” laws, California is among the many jurisdictions that have adopted laws limiting the use of criminal background checks in evaluating job candidates. Enacted in 2018, California’s Fair Chance Act generally prohibits employers, with five or more employees, from asking a job candidate about their conviction history before making a conditional job offer. Among other requirements, the Fair Chance Act also places an affirmative duty on employers to provide requisite notices to candidates and to evaluate several factors before withdrawing a job offer due to a candidate’s criminal history. Employers must also provide candidates with the opportunity to explain or provide mitigating information before making a final decision to rescind a job offer. In October 2023, California amended the Fair Chance Act to bolster these notice and evaluation requirements. The 2023 amendment also increased potential employer liability for failure to properly notify and evaluate a job candidate’s criminal history. Proposed legislation in California aims to place stringent requirements on when employers can request a criminal background check in the first instance and how the information obtained must be evaluated. Continue Reading Proposed California legislation may effectively ban criminal background checks

Governor Gavin Newsom signed S.B. 525 into law adding new minimum wage requirements to Sections 1182.14 and 1182.15 of the California Labor Code. These new sections establish five comprehensive minimum wage schedules for “covered health care employees”, which includes contracted and subcontracted employees. Effective June 1, 2024, “covered health care facilities” will be required to implement the applicable minimum wage schedule, depending on the nature of the employer, as set forth by the law. In general, the law preempts any local ordinances setting wages for healthcare workers. To determine the law’s applicability, health care providers across California must consider (1) whether they meet the definition of a “covered health care facility” and, if so, (2) who within their workforce meets the definition of a “covered health care employee”.Continue Reading California enacts increase in the minimum wage for covered health care employees

We previously alerted employers to California employment law bills that were still alive toward the end of the most recent legislative session. That session ended on September 14, 2023 and Governor Newsom had until October 14, 2023 to either sign, approve without signing, or veto the bills that survived. Below is an update on the fate of these employment law bills so employers will know which ones are slated to become law. The Governor vetoed several noteworthy bills that would have expanded the state’s protected classes, employee work-from-home rights and CalWARN notice requirements. On the other hand, the Governor signed multiple significant employment law bills into law, including those creating increased paid sick leave requirements, expanded re-hiring rights, a new reproductive loss leave, and a new requirement that employers establish a workplace violence prevention plan. Unless otherwise noted, the approved bills will take effect January 1, 2024.Continue Reading California employment law legislative update: bills that will become law in 2024 and beyond

The California Legislature had until September 14, 2023, to pass bills in the current Legislative Session before these bills are sent to Governor Newsom to either sign, approve without signing, or veto each bill by October 14, 2023. Several key bills relate specifically to employment law, including expansion of paid sick leave, CalWARN notice requirements

The deadline for California’s Governor to sign, approve without signing, or veto bills on his desk was September 30, 2022. We have compiled a comprehensive list of the major new laws and obligations that employers in the Golden State should know. As always, it is wise to consult with counsel to ensure that workplace policies

On October 10, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved Senate Bill 331 which, effective January 1, 2022, significantly expands restrictions relating to non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in many settlement and separation agreements.

First, Senate Bill 331 expands the existing prohibitions on non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in settlement agreements. Existing law, under section 1001 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, already prohibits settlement agreements from having non-disclosure or non-disparagement provisions that prevent the disclosure of facts relating to a claim filed in a civil or administrative action regarding sex-based claims, including sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, or related retaliation. Effective January 1, 2022, this amendment expands the prohibition on non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions that prevent the disclosure of facts relating to a claim, outside of sex-based claims, to include discrimination, harassment, or retaliation claims based on any protected category under section 12940 of the Government Code, such as race, religion, national origin, and disability.
Continue Reading California expands restrictions on non-disclosure provisions

It’s that time of the year again! The deadline for California Governor Gavin Newsom to sign, approve without signing, or veto bills on his desk was October 10, 2021. Now that the dust has settled, we have compiled a comprehensive list of bills signed by the governor that will impact employers. We also highlight bills