Posts in Labor and Employment.
Government Watchdog Advises Division of U.S. Treasury Department Against Use of GPS Cell Phone Data Without a Warrant

In a recent letter to members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, dated February 18, 2021, the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (the “Inspector General”) outlined a potential disagreement with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service (“Criminal Investigations”) regarding the need for a search warrant to utilize databases containing cell phone users’ GPS data.  On one hand, the Inspector General indicated that courts may use “similar logic” to expand a 2018 Supreme Court decision requiring a search warrant to access cell-site location information to likewise apply to GPS data provided to applications operated by third parties.  On the other hand, the letter provides the stated position of Criminal Investigations, which asserts that “Cell Site Location Information [] is distinct from [] opt-in app data,” in apparent reference to the division’s prior claim that GPS data collected by cell phone applications does not require a search warrant because it has been “voluntarily” provided to a third-party.

Union-Backed Challenge to Proposition 22 Rejected by California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court has rejected an emergency constitutional challenge filed by drivers for Uber, Lyft and other app-based companies and various unions requesting that the Court declare the voter-approved Proposition 22 unconstitutional.  Proposition 22 (“Prop 22”) permits some app-based gig ride-hailing and delivery companies to continue to classify workers as independent contractors despite California’s adoption of the stringent ABC test for worker classification (discussed here).  The union-backed challenge to Prop 22 was not decided on the merits and continued legal activity challenging Prop 22 is expected.  The lawsuit is entitled Hector Castellanos, et al. v. State of California, et al., Case Number S266551.

On September 2, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Frlekin v. Apple, Inc. (Case No. 15-17382) that Apple must compensate a certified class of California non-exempt employees for time spent waiting for, and submitting to, bag searches required by Apple’s policies. 

This decision underscores the need for employers to be vigilant in ensuring compliance with California’s complex framework of wage and hour laws, and, perhaps more importantly, the importance of minimizing class action exposure through carefully-drafted arbitration agreements.

On Friday, May 29, 2020, the California Department of Public Health approved Los Angeles County’s variance request to move further into Stage Two of the California Resiliency Roadmap, allowing Los Angeles County restaurants to provide in-person dining service and hair salons and barbershops to reopen.

California’s Policy Against Non-Compete Agreements Does Not Necessarily Shield An Employee’s Actions During His Or Her Employment

In Techno Lite, Inc. v. Emcod, LLC, the California Court of Appeal recently affirmed the finding that an employee can be liable for fraud when said employee violates his promise not to compete with his employer while still employed.  Though public policy in California places strict limitations on non-compete agreements after an employee has left employment, this shield was never meant to become a sword by which an employee could undermine his employer with impunity even before his employment ends.

Several recent decisions have addressed the applicability of California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, known colloquially as the “anti-SLAPP” law, which provides a procedure by which a defendant can secure the early dismissal of lawsuits that are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights.  Under the anti-SLAPP law, defendants are permitted to file a special motion to strike claims “arising from any act…in furtherance of that person’s right of petition or free speech.” 

Tags: SLAPP

The California Supreme Court recently issued the latest in a series of decisions concerning the applicability of Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16 (the “anti-SLAPP law”), which was designed to enable early dismissal of lawsuits that are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights. 

Ninth Circuit Voids “No Re-Hire” Provision in Settlement Agreement Between Employer and Former Employee

In Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group, et al., a divided Ninth Circuit panel held that a settlement agreement between a doctor and his former employer violated Cal. Prof. & Bus. Code § 16600 because a “no re-hire” provision of the agreement placed a “restraint of a substantial character” on the doctor’s medical practice.

Employers Using Third Party Payroll Providers May be Held Liable for Unpaid Taxes

Many employers outsource some or all of their payroll and related tax duties to third party payroll service providers.  These related tax duties may include withholding, reporting, and paying over certain employment (i.e. FICA, Medicare, SDI) and income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Employment Development Department (EDD).

IRS Posts 2018 W-4 and Encourages Taxpayers to Use New Withholding Calculator

Recently, both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) have issued news releases encouraging taxpayers to plan ahead and to withhold the correct amount of taxes from their paychecks in 2018 to account for recent changes in federal tax law. 

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