California Peculiarities Employment Law Blog

What Makes California Employment Law Different ... and How to Deal With It

Seyfarth Synopsis: Back in January 2020, a federal district court enjoined the State of California from enforcing AB 5, a law about classification of independent contractors, against interstate motor carriers (see our prior piece here). Now, in a split 2-1 decision, a Ninth Circuit panel has reversed the district court, and held that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”) does not preempt AB 5. The panel’s decision could be subject to a rehearing en banc by the full Ninth Circuit, and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court will likely be asked to address the circuit…
Seyfarth Synopsis: California has long prohibited sexual harassment in various types of relationships, including employment relationships, and in other professional and business relationships which have elements of power imbalance. Although the right to sue for sexual harassment in business and professional relationships has been part of the fabric of California law for decades, in recent years, the legislature has taken steps to highlight those rights by enacting new legislation and clarifying the types of relationships from which actionable sexual harassment may arise. Sexual Harassment Prohibited in Non-Employment Relationships In November 2018, California amended and clarified Civil Code section 51.9 with…
Seyfarth Synopsis: In a surprise move, and despite vetoing a strikingly similar measure only months ago when the pandemic was closer to its zenith, Governor Newsom on April 16, 2021 signed a measure requiring hospitality employers to give preference in hiring to workers previously laid off due to the pandemic. Last year, large swaths of employers breathed a big sigh of relief when Governor Newsom vetoed AB 3216, which would have required certain hospitality employers—hotels, private clubs, event centers, and airport hospitality services—to offer preferential hiring to employees laid off because of the pandemic. We followed the legislative journey…
Seyfarth Synopsis: Businesses at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) may need to make significant changes to employee health benefits under San Francisco’s Healthy Airport Ordinance by April 1, 2021. These FAQs cover employers’ most-pressing questions regarding the Ordinance and its implications for employers. The seatbelt sign has been on for San Francisco employers for quite some time. Loyal readers know the City of San Francisco’s long and storied history of passing peculiar ordinances imposing obligations upon employers that neither federal nor state laws mandate. Even though SFO is beyond the boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco…
Seyfarth Synopsis: During the COVID-19 pandemic, California grocery, drug store, and other front-line workers have continued to sell essential products, stock shelves, clean buildings, and otherwise keep our economy moving. Several cities and counties have taken action—often in hap-hazard ways—to force the employers of these workers to provide them with premium pay, commonly called “hazard pay” or “hero pay.” Within the last week alone, ordinances took effect in six jurisdictions, including San Jose, San Francisco, and Irvine. The Broad Landscape Roughly 47 cities and counties in California have considered ordinances providing additional pay to grocery and drug store employees, as…
Seyfarth Synopsis: On March 18, 2021, the California Senate voted to revive and expand the Covid-19 related supplemental paid sick leave law that expired on December 31, 2020. Governor Newsom is expected to sign the legislation soon. The law will become effective immediately once signed, with a short grace period for compliance, and will apply retroactively to January 1, 2021 (thereby requiring back payments). The new law will expand the scope of covered employers, as well as the covered reasons for taking the leave. The new law is set to expire September 30, 2021. Refresher On The Recent History of…
Seyfarth Synopsis: On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) provided some much needed clarity in its updated COVID-19 Related Guidance. The Guidance answers many pressing questions for employers regarding COVID-19, including the all-important question: Can employers mandate their employees to get a vaccine? In short, yes, California employers may require their employees to receive a FDA-approved vaccination for COVID-19. But there are caveats. Notably, any policy or practice mandating employees be vaccinated must comply with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). How To Comply with FEHA When Mandating COVID-19 Vaccinations Do Not…
Seyfarth Synopsis: Headlining the number of employment-related bills California legislators introduced by the February 19th deadline are those that would extend COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave and provide other leaves and accommodations. After last year’s pandemic-caused truncation of the 2020 legislative session—in which the governor signed only 372 new laws, the fewest since 1967—many expected the introduction of a large number of bills. Yet “only” 1,560 bills were introduced in the Assembly this year, the lowest number in six years—though there is no shortage of labor and employment-related bills. Below, we summarize the most significant labor and employment bills introduced,…
Seyfarth Synopsis: In 2020, California enacted SB 1383 which, as of January 1, 2021, amended Government Code section 12945.2 to expand the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). These changes will require employers who have been subject to the CFRA to ensure their policies are up to date, as well as bringing new employers into the family of businesses who must comply with the CFRA’s requirements. Will my company now be subject to the CFRA? The biggest change is the expansion of the CFRA’s coverage to a new class of employers. Before, the CFRA applied only to companies with 50 or…
By Annette Tyman, Michael Childers, and Shardé Skahan Seyfarth Synopsis: On February 1, 2021, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing released key information regarding the recently enacted Pay Data Reporting Law.  Materials include a template of the pay report, along with user guidance. With the first filing of the California Pay Report just around the corner on March 31st, employers have been anxiously awaiting additional guidance from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) regarding the reporting template and implementation requirements of California’s recently enacted Pay Data Reporting Law (SB 973), codified at Government Code section