California Employment Law

Commentary on Issues Facing California Employers

In reading all of the online reviews about the Game of Thrones finale, I was struck by one overarching theme – you just can’t please everyone.  In that regard, it reminded me a lot of employment litigation.  Spoiler alert! Some fans thought the ending was too clean and tidy, too happy in some respects, with Sansa crowned Queen of the North, Arya heading off to new adventures (and likely a spinoff), Tyrion running things for the…
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a broad-based law protecting information that identifies California residents, was passed in June 2018 and will take effect in 2020. Dubbed “GDPR Lite,” to denote its similarities to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is expected to be a game-changer for U.S.-based companies that process sensitive data. With detailed disclosure requirements, a grant of extensive rights to individuals to control how their personal information is used, statutory…
The topic of preferred pronouns has been top of mind for me lately. It started with a volunteer mentor day I attended for Step Up (a fabulous group by the way) to mentor high school teens.  In our mentor orientation we were guided to introduce ourselves using our preferred pronouns.  We went around the room and practiced.  My introduction was:  Hi, I’m Nancy.  An employment attorney who helps businesses with their employee issues.  My preferred…
The California Supreme Court decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court continues to change the legal landscape.  On May 2, 2019, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal revived a decade old lawsuit, Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l., applying Dynamex’s ABC test retroactively and dismissing substantial due process concerns.  While dismissing the defendant’s arguments against retroactive application, the 9th Circuit went on to render an extremely employee-friendly decision, solidifying two key points:  first,…
California now has 39 separate minimum wages. First, you have two state minimum wages ($12 for employers with 26 or more employees; $11 for 25 or fewer). Then 27 cities have minimum wage ordinances, many of which have multiple minimum wages for different categories of employers. How can anyone keep up with this all? Easy! Tyreen Torner has made you this handy chart. Isn’t Tyreen the best!?…
In March 2019, the Social Security Administration resumed issuance of Employer Correction Request Notices, commonly referred to as “Social Security No-Match Letters.” The No-Match Letters are being sent to businesses throughout the country that are identified as having a name and Social Security Number (SSN) combination submitted on wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that do not match SSA records. Employers may recall receiving these notices until 2012 when the Obama administration suspended these communications. Employers…
If you had asked me a few years ago about ADA accessibility lawsuits, I would have talked about the importance of ensuring your business’s seating, aisles, and restrooms complied with the ADA accessibility guidelines.  Although plaintiffs continue to file lawsuits alleging barriers to physical accessibility, over the past two years, a new type of accessibility lawsuit has become very common.  Rather than focusing on physical barriers, more and more lawsuits are now being filed…
I attended a seminar at my firm last week that set forth the next big thing in California — the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).  It is California’s version of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you haven’t heard of it (or focused on it), the CCPA is a broad-based law protecting information that identifies California residents (both consumers and employees).  The law includes detailed disclosure requirements, provides individuals with extensive rights…
The phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” applies in many contexts, including California employment law. Here are six ways that employers get into trouble by trying to do favors for their workers. Treating an employee as an independent contractor. Some workers want you to treat them as independent contractors so they aren’t subject to withholding. But even if they agree to it in writing, that doesn’t protect you from liability. First, if the workers change…
I just returned (and yes, detoxed) from the Cornell HR in Hospitality Conference in Las Vegas. I presented on wage-and-hour issues at the FLSA Unconference, and participated in a roundtable where attendees were able to “ask the attorney” all of their burning legal questions.  I also attended a bunch of terrific sessions to gain insight into the most salient topics facing hospitality employers in 2019. Here are some take-aways that I found particularly meaningful (and helpful),…