Minimum Wage, Maximum Headache: California’s Minimum Wage Hits $10 in 2016. Are You Prepared?

As you brace for the New Year, don’t forget that California’s minimum wage will reach $10 per hour on January 1, 2016.  This latest increase is the final stage of the two-step legislation that increased the minimum wage from $8 to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014, and now to $10 per hour effective January 1, 2016.

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Down The Arbitration Rabbit Hole: Ninth Circuit Refuses To Enforce Employee’s Waiver Of PAGA Claims

On September 28, 2015, the Ninth Circuit held in Shukri Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc. that the FAA does not preempt the rule that the California Supreme Court enunciated in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation that California law bars the waiver of Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) claims.  As a result, California employers will likely see an increase in the filing of PAGA cases as employees use them as a vehicle for representative actions outside of arbitration.

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California Supreme Court May Limit The Scope Of PAGA Plaintiffs’ Access to Statewide Discovery

The California Supreme Court is poised to clarify what limits may apply to burdensome discovery demands in litigation under California’s Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), which allows employees to bring non-class representative actions against employers on behalf of themselves and other “aggrieved employees” for alleged violations of the Labor Code.

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Not All Class Actions Are Created Equal Under CAFA, Says the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit recently delivered a setback to defendants seeking to remove cases to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) when it interpreted the statute narrowly to exclude consideration of non-class claims in determining the jurisdictional amount in controversy in Yocupicio v. PAE Grp., LLC, No. 15-55878, 2015 WL 4568722 (9th Cir. 2015).

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The Gay Marriage Decision: Support for Title VII Employment Discrimination Claims?

Following the excitement of the same-sex marriage decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26th, the question remains how much the Opinion may impact Title VII employment discrimination claims.  Based on our reading of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, and the many states that have passed legislation protecting employees from sexual-orientation discrimination, we recommend that employers revisit and update their anti-discrimination policies.

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It Pays to Play: Judge Finds Costs Still Recoverable By Prevailing Employers in FEHA Cases Post-Williams

On May 4, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District, holding that unsuccessful FEHA plaintiffs should not be ordered to pay the defendant’s ordinary litigation costs unless, “plaintiff brought or continued litigating the action without an objective basis for believing it had potential merit” (also called “the Christianburg standard”). (2015) 61 Cal. 4th 97, 99-100.  Prior to Williams, the Christianburg standard applied when defendants sought attorneys’ fees after prevailing on the merits of a FEHA claim, but there was a split in authority regarding whether the higher threshold in Christianburg applied to awards of ordinary costs under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1032.  Williams resolved the split and held that FEHA constitutes an exception to section 1032 and that defendants must meet the higher threshold in Christianburg before the court can exercise its discretion in awarding costs.

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Emergence of Transgender Status Issues in Workplace Raises Compliance Questions for Employers

Transgender issues have been grabbing headlines in recent months—perhaps most notably with Bruce Jenner’s televised announcement about his gender transition.  Beyond the bright lights of pop culture, a wave of litigation and legislation is causing employers to pay closer attention to transgender discrimination and related issues.  As we noted in August of last year, there is an increasing trend toward protecting gender identity and transgender status.  This post provides an update and a high-level overview of the landscape in this emerging area and offers some tips for employers to minimize risk.

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Show Me The Money: Yes, Even Corporate Officers Can Collect Dodd-Frank Bounty Awards

On March 2, 2015, the SEC announced a whistleblower bounty award of between $475,000 and $575,000, its 15th under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program.  While the SEC’s order is scant on detail, it does disclose that the award will go to a corporate officer, making it the first award to go to an officer under the program.  This award is in keeping with the SEC’s approach to demonstrate in the relatively small number of awards made to date that a broad range of individuals can get bounties for providing original information of corporate wrongdoing under Dodd-Frank.

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Employers Should Act Now to Avoid Potential Data Minefields: The OFCCP’s New Proposed Rules for Collecting Compensation Data from Federal Contractors

On August 8, 2014, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (“OFCCP”) proposed new annual reporting requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors.  The proposal requires additional pay information and will become effective in early 2015, unless the OFCCP decides to amend them.

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San Francisco Employers Beware: New Extensive Restrictions on Use of Criminal Background Information

The use of criminal background checks when hiring employees has become even more limited in San Francisco. On August 13, 2014, the recently passed Fair Chance Ordinance (Ordinance) becomes operative requiring employers doing business in San Francisco and employing 20 or more workers, regardless of location, to limit the use of an applicant’s criminal history. Read More