Posts from September 2020.
AB 2257: California Rewrites Independent Contractor Law…Again

As promised, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2257 which effectively rewrites Assembly Bill 5, the flawed law which sought to codify and clarify the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court and took effect on January 1, 2020.  AB 2257 became effective upon signature.

At approximately 14 pages in length, neither employees nor employers are likely to find AB 2257 any less confusing than its predecessor.  It does, however, make it easier for several categories of professions to work as independent contractors if certain conditions are ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FDA Proposes Rule for Food Traceability

On September 21, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration announced a proposed rule to establish additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for companies who manufacture, process, pack, or store foods that the FDA has included on its Food Traceability List. This is an effort by the agency to help control outbreaks of foodborne illness.

The Food Traceability List was first created in 2014 and currently includes: shell eggs, cheeses, nut butters, cucumbers, fresh herbs, leafy greens, melons, peppers, sprouts, tomatoes, fruits and vegetables, bivalve mollusks (oysters ...

Insureds Seek Coverage For Breaches Under Traditional Policies

There have been a number of high-profile insurance coverage cases arising from losses due to cyber fraud – especially data breaches, "spoofing'' and payment instruction fraud. While cyber insurance is specifically designed to address these kinds of losses, insureds covered under traditional insurance products such as commercial general liability, errors and omission and crime poli­cies have continued to seek coverage under those policies for cyber-related losses.

For example, in a case filed on Nov. 15, Target seeks recovery for its cyber fraud-related losses from its ...

New Law Extends Workers' Compensation Benefits To COVID-19 Victims

Governor Newsom has signed Senate Bill 1159, a law that effectively codifies and expands his earlier Executive Order N-62-20, which had expired on July 5, 2020. Effective immediately, this bill defines “injury” for an employee to include illness or death resulting from COVID-19 under specified circumstances. In particular, the employee must have tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after the employee performed services at the employee’s place of employment and the work must have been performed on or after March 19, 2020, and on or before July 5 ...

Reminder: Certain COVID-19-Related Layoffs and Shutdowns Require Cal-Warn Act Notice

When considering an employee layoff or business shutdown, as we reported here, employers should keep in mind that longer layoffs in California will trigger Cal-WARN Act rules. Unlike its federal counterpart, California’s WARN Act has no exception for unforeseen business circumstances and requires every facility that employs or employed 75 or more persons within the last 12 months to give 60 days’ written notice to the employees and certain government officials before any mass layoff that will result in a loss of employment for 50 or more people in any 30 day period. Cal-WARN also ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Will The FDA Enforce Its New Nutrition Labeling Rule? 

On September 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced additional flexibility for manufacturers to comply with the agency’s updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts labeling requirements. Those requirements go into effect on January 1, 2021. 

The Nutrition and Supplement Facts labeling requirement marks a significant change in requirements for conventional foods and dietary supplements to provide updated nutrition information on the label to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices. The final rule updates the list of nutrients that are ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Enacts COVID-19 Reporting Requirements for Employers

On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB-685, which creates new COVID-19 reporting requirements for employers, increases mandatory public disclosure of COVID-19 outbreaks, and expands the powers of Cal/OSHA to cite and shut down employers with worksite infections in a streamlined process.

The law requires all public and private employers that find out about workplace exposure to COVID-19 to provide written notification to employees and contractors who were on the premises at the same worksite during the infectious period within one business day of ...

California Enacts Small Business Bills

On September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed three bills into law that were designed to provide support for small businesses, including restaurants and other food and beverage companies. 

SB 1447 authorizes a $100 million hiring tax credit program for qualified small businesses. The hiring credit will be equal to $1,000 for each net increase in qualified employees, up to $100,000 for each qualified small business employer.  To qualify for the credit, the business’ gross income must have declined at least 50% over this time last year.

AB 1577 excludes Paycheck ...

Posted in The Real Dirt
Not a Fraudulent Transfer...Even With Intent To Defraud?

Until a recent appellate ruling, it appeared that, under California law, if a debtor made a transfer without receiving “reasonably equivalent value” in exchange, that transfer, by itself, could be — but need not be — a basis for finding there was “actual fraud” rendering the transfer voidable under the California Uniform Voidable Transfer Act (“UVTA”).

Not anymore. In Universal Home Improvement, Inc., et al. v. Robertson, et al., 51 Cal. App. 5th 116 (June 24, 2020, modified July 21, 2020), the 1st District Court of Appeal held that, “[t]he ‘badges of fraud’ do ...

Appellate Rulings Depart From Treaty Interpretation Norms 

International treaties and conventions such as the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, November 15, 1965, 20 U.S.T. 361, T.I.A.S. No. 6638 (“the Hague Service Convention”), and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, June 10, 1958, 21 U.S.T. 2517, T.I.A.S. No. 6998 (“the New York Convention”) are considered to be federal law and hence prevail over inconsistent state common law. U.S. Const., art. VI, cl. 2: American Ins. Assoc. v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396 (2003). For ...

California Expands Sick Leave and Mandates Handwashing Breaks for Food Sector Employees

On September 9, 2020, California Governor Newsom signed AB-1867 as emergency legislation, meaning the law became effective upon his signature, with no waiting period. The law has three distinct parts: it expands California’s supplemental sick leave provisions for food sector workers, creates a new handwashing break requirement for food sector employees, and creates a pilot mediation program for small employers.

AB-1867 is part of California’s larger effort to fill perceived gaps in paid sick leave mandates due to COVID-19.  In April 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Riverside County First to Implement California Home Cooking Legislation

In September 2018, the California legislature passed AB-626, The Homemade Food Operations Act. The law was passed with widespread bipartisan support. AB-626 created a framework under which small-scale home cooks could legally sell food made in their kitchens to the public. The law defines a microenterprise home kitchen as a “food facility that is operated by a resident in a private home where food is stored, handled, and prepared for, and may be served to consumers” with no more than one full-time employee. Microenterprise home kitchens could generate up to $50,000 in gross ...

California’s DFEH Issues Online Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors

By January 1, 2021, all California employers with five or more employees are required to have provided interactive harassment prevention training to all employees in California, both supervisory and non-supervisory. 

Recently, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released supervisory on-line harassment prevention training, which can be found here. Supervisory employees must receive at least two hours interactive harassment prevention training, which must be provided every two years, and within six months of hire or promotion to supervisory ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Made in USA Proposed Rule: FTC Commissioners’ Statements Show Rift as Comment Period Closes

On June 22, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission issued a proposed Made in USA Rule regulating how businesses can advertise that their products are made in the U.S., and giving the agency discretion to impose civil penalties.

The FTC’s Made in the U.S.A. enforcement program is based on Section 5 of the FTC Act, which governs deceptive acts and practices in commerce. It applies to a host of advertising and other claims about the U.S. origin of products. In 1994, Congress codified Section 5a, titled “Labels on products”. Section 5a applies to “a product with a ‘Made in U.S.” label ...

California’s New Reopening Plan

On August 31, 2020, California introduced a statewide blueprint for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic designed to provide clear guidance and timelines for which industries may safely open. 

The new system is color-coded and has four tiers, with Tier 1 being the highest risk of community disease transmission and Tier 4 the lowest risk. The four tiers are based on two factors: (1) the county’s positivity rate; and (2) the daily new cases for each 100,000 residents.

The tiers are outlined below:

  • Tier 1 (purple/widespread): higher than 8% testing positivity rate; more than 7 daily ...
Can Companies Be Liable If Third-Party Contractors Suffer Data Breaches?

The California Consumer Privacy Act became effective on Jan. 1. Included among its provisions is the grant of a private right of action on behalf of any consumer “whose nonencrypted and nonredacted personal information … is subject to an unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft or disclosure as a result of the business’s violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices.” Civil Code Section 1798.150.

An interesting question is whether a company may face liability under this statute (or based on common law theories) where one ...

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