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.

On July 18, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that Taco Bell had violated California’s meal period and overtime requirements by requiring employees who purchased discounted meals to stay on the premises during their meal period.  The Court held that Taco Bell did not violate California law and affirmed an order granting summary judgment in favor of Taco Bell in a proposed class action suit titled Rodriquez v. Taco Bell Corp. (9th Cir. Case No. 16-15465).

On July 5, 2018, U.S. District Judge John Mendez of the Eastern District of California struck down two provisions of AB 450 (United States v. California (No. 218-cv-490-JAM-KJN)).  Judge Mendez held that the U.S. government is likely to succeed on the merits in challenging parts of AB 450 that barred employers from voluntarily consenting to federal enforcement agents’ access to nonpublic areas of business, and barred employers from voluntarily allowing immigration agents access to employee records.  Further, Judge Mendez struck down the provision prohibiting employers from re-verifying a worker’s employment status, but upheld one part of AB 450, requiring that employers post notice of any inspections of employment eligibility documents.

On June 25, 2018, a California court of appeal offered employers who use rounding systems to calculate employee payroll a reassuring ruling, approving a policy that rounded employee’s time to the nearest quarter hour. In AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v Superior Court (2018) No. B285655, the issue arose out of AHMC Healthcare’s use of a payroll system that automatically rounded employee hours up or down to the nearest quarter hour prior to calculating wages and issuing paychecks (instead of using the employee’s exact check-in and check-out times). Emilio Letona and Jacquelyn Abeyta, both employees of AHMC Healthcare, brought a class-action suit against AHMC Healthcare, Inc. for failure to pay wages and failure to furnish timely and accurate wage statements. The plaintiffs claimed this rounding system was in direct violation of the Labor Code, and presented evidence of time records from San Gabriel Valley Medical Center L.P. (where Letona was employed) and AHMC Anaheim Regional Medical Center L.P. (where Abeyta was employed).

The following cities and counties in California are scheduled to increase minimum wage rates on July 1, 2018.

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).

Employers who are faced with sexual harassment or sexual abuse claims by a current or former employee now have another problem to consider – are the settlement payment and related attorney’s fees incurred in settling the claim deductible?  Unfortunately, the answer to that question may now be no.

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.

Last year, California passed AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act.  Among other provisions, AB 450 requires employers to post a notice, within 72 hours of receiving a Notice of Inspection for I-9 Forms by an immigration agency.  The California Labor Commissioner published a template notice in early February.

Effective January 1, 2018, benefits under Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) and State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) increased for all income levels and the seven-day waiting period for PFL was eliminated.

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