California’s FAST Recovery Act: A Game-Changer

On September 5, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 257, a controversial and far-reaching law that will have a major impact on California fast food employers and is likely to shape the way the state regulates other industries in the future.

AB 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act or FAST Recovery Act, regulates nearly all fast food restaurants in the state and is poised to dramatically shake up regulation of the industry and impose standards far beyond the already high standards set for minimum wages and working conditions as enshrined by ...

Are You High?! AB 2188 Seeks To Protect Marijuana Users In The Workplace  

Assembly Bill 2188 has been sent to Governor Newsom for signature. If signed, AB 2188 will serve to further protect workers who use marijuana when off work from discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, AB 2188 will make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalizing a person, for either:

(1) The person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace; or

(2) An employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have nonpsychoactive cannabis ...

California Court of Appeals Provides Guidance on Wage Order Seating Requirements

Among other protections and rights, employees are entitled to the use of suitable seats when the “nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats” pursuant to the Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders. As recently as 2016, the California Supreme Court detailed a fact-intensive framework and multi-factor test to assist employers with the determination of when the nature of the work permits the use of seats.  However, the question of how to determine whether an employee was in fact “provided” suitable seating by his or her employer remained unresolved.

Update: Challenge to California’s Arbitration Agreement Law Marches On

Employers throughout California have been keenly awaiting the final decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the United States Chamber of Commerce’s challenge to California Labor Code section 432.6, which is designed to prohibit employers from enforcing mandatory arbitration agreements or requiring them as a condition of employment.

In our last report, the 9th Circuit was awaiting the decision from the United States Supreme Court in the Moriana v. Viking River Cruises case, which also addressed the applicability of the Federal Arbitration Act’s ...

Another Minimum Wage Increase? There’s a Referendum for That

As we reported on June 30, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to adopt a Healthcare Workers Minimum Wage Ordinance, which was designed to increase the minimum wage for workers of private healthcare facilities in Los Angeles to $25.00 per hour (the “ LA Ordinance”). The Ordinance would have gone into effect on August 13, 2022, but for a referendum petition against the ordinance filed on August 10, 2022. Similar ordinances have been passed in Long Beach, Monterey Park, and Downey. Like the LA Ordinance, the ordinance in Downey is also the subject of a referendum.

As a ...

Posted in Legal Bites
GAO Report: Federal Regulation of Food-Related Issues Is Fractured

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) issued a July 2022 report to urging federal agencies to better coordinate regulatory guidance on food-related challenges, including diet-related chronic health conditions and food safety. 

With regard to chronic health conditions related to diet and food, the report found that regulatory efforts were fragmented and ineffective.  Last year, in September 2021, GAO recommended that Congress consider identifying and directing a federal entity to lead a strategy on diet-related efforts, but the recommendation was not ...

LA City Council Puts Controversial Homeless Hotel Measure on March Ballot

In a move that has hospitality industry leaders expressing concerns about safety and a negative effect on tourism, on August 5, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council considered a proposal that would force hotels to rent vacant rooms to homeless people in exchange for government vouchers.

The ordinance was proposed by UNITE HERE Local 11, a labor union representing workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers.  The ordinance began as an initiative petition and was secured by enough signatures to require the Council to vote on the measure.  The ...

Insurance Coverage For Claims Involving The Misuse Of Biometric Information 

As the use of biometric information for verification purposes becomes widespread, employers and others should be aware of statutes which regulate the collection, storage and dissemination of this data. In this regard, there have been several lawsuits involving the use or storage of biometric information which have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (Civil Code sections 1978.100 et seq.) defines biometric information as follows:

Biometric information” means an individual’s physiological, biological, or behavioral ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Court Permanently Dismisses Misrepresentation Lawsuit Regarding Kellogg’s Strawberry Pop-Tarts

Kellogg successfully defeated a fraud and misrepresentation lawsuit concerning its popular Pop-Tarts product when a judge in the Southern District of New York granted its motion to dismiss. Plaintiff Elizabeth Russett filed a putative class action in the Southern District of New York alleging that Kellogg had, among other things, committed fraud and violated multiple consumer protection statutes by misrepresenting the amount of strawberries present in its Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tart.

Plaintiff’s allegations were based on the claim that Kellogg misled its customers by ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Judge Permits Revised 100% Tuna Claim Against Subway To Proceed On Select Misrepresentation Theories

After succeeding in having “100% tuna” claims dismissed, Subway experienced a setback when a judge in the Northern District of California permitted certain revised claims about Subway Restaurants, Inc.’s tuna products to proceed. Plaintiffs Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin filed a putative class action complaint against the sandwich maker and multiple affiliates, alleging that they committed fraud and violated several California consumer statutes by claiming, among other things, that its tuna fish products were “100% tuna” and contained “100% skipjack and ...

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