EEOC Issues Guidance on Employers' Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic

On March 19, 2020, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance for employers on responding to legal concerns under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) arising out the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.  The guidance, What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19, addresses common employer concerns about what medical inquiries an employer can make, when it can ask employees to leave the workplace based on such concerns, and under what circumstances an employer can ask for a doctor’s release from such employees before allowing them to return.  Among the key components of the guidance are the following:

Tags: EEOC
San Francisco— First City in California to Announce It Will Provide Paid Sick Leave Benefits for Employees Affected by COVID-19—Others Will Likely Follow

With the rapid spread of the pandemic—COVID-19, employees have been sent home due to business closures, factory shutdowns, temporary lay-offs, and forced quarantines.  Other employees remain home due to their own illness, to care for someone who has fallen ill, or to care for children who can no longer attend school.  Amongst the chaos, many employees are scrambling to survive to pay rent, monthly bills and other expenses without any source of income.

The California Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”), the agency that oversees the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE” or “the Labor Commissioner”), workers’ compensation, and Cal-OSHA (among other things), released guidelines confirming its interpretation of California wage and hour laws potentially applicable to the workplace in light of the spread of COVID-19.

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Issues New Guidance on Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training

In light of recent amendments to SB 1343, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) issued an updated FAQ which sheds light on areas of ambiguity for employers regarding sexual harassment prevention training.   

Keep On Truckin’—California State Court Judge Finds ABC Test Does Not Apply to Owner-Operators; Federal Court Extends TRO In Favor of California Trucking Association

On January 8, a trial court judge in Los Angeles issued an order finding the ABC Test—now used to determine independent contractor status in California—could not be applied to independent contractor truck drivers (“owner-operators”) due to federal pre-emption concerns.  While the decision represents a major victory for trucking companies, it will be subject to challenge.

As the end of the year descends upon us, it is time for workplaces to have their December gatherings, and like everything else in the employment setting these days, employers must be on their guard to not create situations that could lead to potential legal liabilities.  The following is a quick reminder of considerations for holiday parties.

New CA Court of Appeal Decision Provides a Basis for Finding Insurance Coverage of Wage and Hour Lawsuits under Employment Practices Liability Insurance Policies

Liability insurance policies typically provide two forms of coverage:  (1) coverage for the defense of lawsuits alleging claims covered by the policy in question, and (2) coverage for the settlement of claims covered by the policy in question that the insurer and the insured agree to for payment of a judgment against the insured when a judgment is the result of a covered claim against the insured.

What You Need to Know About the AB 5 “Business-to-Business” Exemption

California Assembly Bill 5 (“AB 5”), which codified significant changes to the test for independent contractor status, has caused substantial upheaval for California businesses.  As the statute will likely result in significant litigation over the next several years, California companies are scrambling to guard against its impact where possible.  One potential avenue to do so is the statute’s “business-to-business” exemption.  This alert discusses the requirements businesses must understand if they are to satisfy the criteria of the exemption.

Raising the Bar: DOL Increases Salary Threshold for Federal White Collar Exemptions

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule modifying the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The rule also allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions towards meeting the salary level. The thresholds were last updated in 2004, though the DOL briefly adopted more significant changes—which never took effect—in 2015.

California Expands Time for Employees to Bring Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Actions

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) has always contained a two layered statute of limitations for employees to bring lawsuits against their employers for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.  Formerly, employees had one year to file an administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) from the date of the alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.  If an employee did not comply with this administrative requirement, then the employee’s complaint would be subject to dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.  Even if an employee were to file a timely administrative complaint, they were subject to a one year statute of limitations for filing a civil action from the time they received a right to sue letter from the DFEH.  The Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension Act (“SHARE Act”) has greatly expanded employee rights. (AB 9, 2019).

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