• Posts by Jared W. Slater
    Associate

    Jared W. Slater is an Associate in ECJ's Litigation and Employment Departments.

    Jared's practice focuses on defending labor and employment actions, including claims for wage and hour violations, harassment, and discrimination ...

United States Supreme Court Imposes Stay on OSHA Vaccine Mandate

Following an expedited hearing on January 7, 2022, the United States Supreme Court granted a petition for stay of enforcement of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard that would have been imposed on employers of 100 or more employees.  This stay is, in effect, injunctive relief pending disposition of the numerous businesses, trade groups, and non-profit organizations’ consolidated petitions for review in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court disagreed with the Sixth Circuit’s prior opinion and determined that the applicants’ ...

Los Angeles County Tightens Mask Mandates for Employers

On January 5, 2022, Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health modified its ongoing COVID-19 health order due to drastic increases in cases and resultant hospitalizations related to the Omicron and Delta variants. Among these modifications is an important new requirement which pertains to the wearing of masks by employees. 

Specifically, employers in Los Angeles County must now provide their employees who work indoors and in close contact with other workers or the public with a well-fitting medical-grade mask, surgical mask or higher-level respirator, such as an N95 ...

Mandatory Arbitration Agreements in California: Down, But Possibly Not Out

Businesses and attorneys alike have kept a close eye on the developments surrounding the challenge to California Assembly Bill 51 (now codified as Labor Code section 432.6). Most recently, in a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) did not preempt the new law which bars California employers from utilizing mandatory arbitration agreements or from requiring an employee to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment.  One month after this decision came down, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States filed ...

Recent Private Attorneys General Act Reform Efforts

Since being enacted in 2004, the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has been a proverbial bogeyman for employers in California. Despite having only a one-year look-back period, PAGA claims commonly inflate plaintiff’s demands and judicial decisions to a punitive degree that decimates an employer’s incentive to maintain a business in California. This statute, among other factors, has served to motivate a mass exodus of businesses fleeing to other, more business-friendly states. While PAGA has withstood many challenges and attempted reforms over the years, there is ...

New Private Attorneys General Act Developments

Enacted in 2004, California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations. Although only 25% of the amount recovered can be retained by the aggrieved employees with 75% going to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, PAGA has become a tool commonly used by plaintiffs to attempt to inflate even minor claims beyond reasonable value.  Although the Legislature has made minor changes to the law over the years ...

Following COVID-19 Related Guidance Just Became Easier for Employers

For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have been frustrated by the lack of notice regarding important mandates issues by different public health officials at all levels of state and local government. Senate Bill 336 is designed to make obtaining current information a little easier. 

With the enactment of SB 336, if either the State Department of Public Health or a local health officer issues an order or mandatory guidance related to COVID-19, the respective agency must do the following:

(1) Publish on their internet website the order or mandatory guidance and the date it takes ...

Senate Bill 762: Another Tall Hurdle for Employers Seeking Arbitration

Since the turn of the century, the judicial and legislative branches in California have added barrier after barrier to employers who have consciously sought arbitration; an oft-stated “preferred” method of resolution. The most draconian of these barriers became effective on January 1, 2020, with the enactment of Code of Civil Procedure § 1281.97 et seq.  These statutes provide that if an employer fails to timely pay the fees for the arbitration, the employee would be entitled to either withdraw the claim from the arbitration and proceed in court or otherwise compel arbitration ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Changes To Statutory Covid-19 Exposure Notice and Reporting Requirements 

COVID-19 has had a unique and continued impact on health and safety requirements in the workplace.  As a result, laws are being revised to catch up to the current work climate. Assembly Bill 654, which amends California Labor Code sections 6325 and 6409.6, is one such law. The amendments to these two statutes which initially established California’s COVID-19 notice and reporting requirements went into effect on October 5, 2021 and the statutes themselves shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023.

What Does AB 654 Do?

Amendment to Labor Code § 6325

As a minor amendment to this ...

SB 639: The Hidden Cost of Phasing Out Certificate Programs for Workers With Disabilities

“It is the intent of the Legislature to afford all Californians, regardless of whether they have disabilities, with protections to ensure equal pay and equal treatment in the workplace.” These are the closing words of the preface to Senate Bill 639; a noble goal. However, the good intentions paving the way for this new law – equalizing the monetary playing field for employees with disabilities – may result in more harm than good for some of those very workers.

Before SB 639 was passed, employers could apply to the Industrial Welfare Commission for a special license, renewable ...

New Law Enhances Labor Commissioner’s Ability to Lien Employer Real Property

In 2013 the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1386, which amended Labor Code section 98.2, giving the Labor Commissioner additional means to collect wages and penalties on behalf of workers. Labor Code section 98.2 was modified so that any amount due under a final order by the Labor Commissioner permits the Labor Commissioner to record a Certificate of Lien against the employer’s real property.

Fast forward to September 2021 and the passage of Senate Bill 572.  This bill adds section 90.8 to the Labor Code, which becomes effective January 1, 2022.  This statute will allow ...

Mandatory Arbitration Agreements are Unenforceable in California, Again

In a year of tough decisions for California employers, the Ninth Circuit just issued another mixed bag of legal decisions to navigate, this time regarding the enforceability of mandatory arbitration agreements.

CA Labor Code § 432.6 and Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Bonta

In October, 2019, California passed Assembly Bill 51, which became codified as Labor Code § 432.6, effective January 1, 2020. This law provided that employers could not require employees to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement as a condition of employment. In addition, it created civil and criminal ...

President Biden Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate on Federal and Private Employers

On September 9, 2021, President Biden signed two Executive Orders imposing sweeping new vaccine mandates on federal workers and contractors. This new mandate represents a shift in the White House’s policy on vaccinations, which had previously offered an alternative to those who wish to remain unvaccinated by allowing those individuals to wear masks while on federal property as long as they submitted to regular screening for COVID-19.

All federal employees, contractors and subcontractors employed by the federal government shall be required to provide proof of vaccination ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Supreme Court Issues Retroactive Decision on Calculating Meal and Rest Break Premium Pay

Since 2019, California employers have relied on Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, 40 Cal.App.5th 1239, for the proposition that only hourly wages would be used to calculate “premium pay” for meal or rest breaks under Labor Code section 226.7. In a serious blow to California employers, the California Supreme Court has reversed this ruling and held that non-discretionary bonus payments and commissions must be included in calculating these premium payments in the same manner as calculating for overtime pay. Adding insult to injury, the Court has held that its ruling will ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Supreme Court Signals the End for Rounding Meal Break Time

As technology has advanced, employers routinely rely on electronic timekeeping software to ensure accurate record keeping. Such software often includes a setting to round employees’ time (typically to the nearest quarter hour) and is implemented as a result of either deliberate company policy or through inadvertent default. Regardless, employers should review these policies and settings following the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC.

In Donohue, the Court unequivocally held employers may no longer round an employee’s in and ...

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