Posts in Labor and Employment.
Employer’s Delay is Fatal to Enforcement of Arbitration Agreement

On January 4, 2021, a California appellate court held an employer waived its right to enforce an arbitration agreement against a truck driver who filed a wage and hour class action against it, by waiting almost twenty months after the case was filed to make an arbitration demand.  The court held that the delay was unjustified because the employer’s conduct in defending the case in court for that period of time was inconsistent with its right to arbitrate and because such delay prejudiced the employee’s ability to use the benefits and efficiencies of arbitration. Garcia v. Haralambos Beverage Co., No. B296923, 2021 WL 22015 (Cal. Ct. App. Jan. 4, 2021).

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) just announced a “final rule” setting forth the standard for worker classifications – employee versus independent contractor – under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The FLSA establishes federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards for the public and private sectors.  All employers in the United States must abide by the FLSA; however, many states, including California, set forth more stringent requirements for worker classifications. 

 In a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Alito, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the ministerial exception set forth in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 565 U.S. 171 (2012).  (Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, Case Nos. 19-267 and 19-348 (July 8, 2020)(“OLG”)).

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a landmark opinion for the LGBTQ community and civil rights, holding employees are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”).  Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (17–1618, June 15, 2020).

Beginning July 1, 2020, California’s family temporary disability insurance program, also known as the paid family leave program (“PFL”), will provide partial wage replacement benefits for up to eight weeks in any 12-month period, which is an increase from the maximum of six weeks presently available.  The benefits are available for employee who take time off to bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption.  For purposes of new child bonding, California touts the expanded leave benefit as providing each family with a total of four months of PFL – two months per parent.

CalSavers Registration Deadline Extended

In December 2018, California announced the start of its CalSavers retirement savings program.  The program is available to California employees whose employers do not offer a workplace retirement plan, to self-employed individuals, and to others who want to increase their retirement savings.  Through this program, employees working for a participating employer may automatically contribute a portion of their pay to a Roth (post tax) Individual Retirement Account.  Individuals who do not work for a participating employer but want to save under CalSavers can set up recurring contributions. 

Tags: CalSavers

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently signed into law Ordinance No. 186602 and Ordinance No. 186603, which give certain laid-off workers a right of recall (i.e. hire priority).  The ordinances take effect on June 14, 2020, and apply to employees working within the City of Los Angeles. 

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.

  “And Next Up. . . .”  The City of Oakland Enacts Its Own Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On May 12, 2020, the Oakland City Council approved an ordinance establishing emergency paid sick leave for Oakland employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Oakland now joins several other jurisdictions in California in taking action to supplement the emergency sick leave already provided by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The City of Long Beach, California enacted a new supplemental paid sick leave ordinance on May 19, 2020, which is effective immediately.  The ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees nationally and excludes those who are required to provide paid sick leave benefits under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

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