California Workplace Law Blog

Insight & Commentary on California Workplace Law Issues & Developments

On June 25th the California State Senate passed a resolution to place a proposition on the November ballot to repeal Proposition 209 and amend the state constitution. Proposition 209 passed in 1996 and amended the state constitution to prohibit state governmental institutions from considering race, gender, or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, contracting, and education. If approved by voters, this constitutional amendment would remove language prohibiting public universities, schools, and government agencies…
As we recently reported, the privacy-right activist group that sponsored the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) – Californians for Consumer Privacy – is pushing for an even more stringent privacy bill, the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”). The CRPA has now qualified for the November 3, 2020 ballot, gathering more than 600,000 valid signatures as required, according to the memorandum circulated by the California Secretary of State. If California voters approve the initiative in November, the CPRA…
On June 23, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an emergency ordinance temporarily creating a right to reemployment for certain employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance, titled “Back to Work” emergency ordinance, requires that as certain employers reopen,  they must first seek to rehire the employee who previously held the position or a similar position before offering the position to another individual. This ordinance takes effect upon signature of…
California has adopted the first nighttime work safety standards in the nation which apply to agricultural workers who harvest, operate vehicles, and other tasks between sunset and sunrise. The new safety standards are being implemented to address potential workplace hazards caused by poor visibility and require employers to, at a minimum, evaluate each outdoor worksite to determine required lighting levels. Employers may also need to implement protective measures to improve the visibility of workers by…
As businesses reopen, employers will almost certainly be faced with the potential of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace. In addition to the industry-specific guidance for reopening that the State of California has issued, the California Department of Public Health (the Department) recently issued guidance for employers responding to a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace. The guidance is intended to apply to all workplaces experiencing a workplace COVID-19 outbreak, exclusive of healthcare, congregate living, and…
On June 18th the California Department of Public Health issued guidance broadly mandating that individuals in California wear face coverings in most circumstances.  This new state guidance follows face-covering mandates previously issued by many California cities and counties. The state guidance specifies that individuals engaged in work whether at the workplace or offsite must wear face coverings when: Interacting with any member of the public in-person, Working in a space visited by the public, even…
Requirements for recording and reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses are unique in California, with the state having more stringent obligations than federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) around both reporting of “serious injuries” and what constitutes a work-related injury or illness. To complicate the matter further for California employers, the State of California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal OSHA”) recently issued guidance on recording and reporting of…
The start of the year brings a lot of new laws and in the past few years the increase of the State of California’s minimum wage. This year the state minimum wage has increased to $12.00 for employers with 25 employees or less, and $13.00 for employers with 26 employees or more. These rates are scheduled to increase annually until they reach $15.00 in 2022 for larger employers and 2023 for those with 25 employees…
On June 8, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the employer’s petition for certiorari in OTO, LLC v. Kho. As background, in 2019, the California Supreme Court ruled in OTO that the arbitration agreement at issue was not enforceable because the agreement was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The procedural unconscionability finding generally focused on the manner in which the agreement was presented to the employee. Substantive unconscionability focused on, among other things, the wavier…
California is known for having a multitude of leaves available to employees from sick leave to organ donation leave. Despite this, California has not mandated employers provide bereavement leave for employees. Many businesses do include unpaid leave for employees to attend funerals and other related services, but such leave is not required under state law. This may change by the end of the year if Assembly Bill 2999, the Bereavement Leave Act of 2020 (the…