Staying true to form, earlier this month San Francisco passed the nation’s first fully-paid parental leave law known as the Paid Parental Leave for Bonding with New Child Ordinance (“Paid Parental Leave Ordinance”). California’s Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) program currently provides six weeks of partially-paid leave at 55 percent of an employee’s pay, up to $1,129 per week. The Paid Parental Leave Ordinance mandates that employers pay the difference up to a weekly maximum, meaning most employees will receive six weeks of bonding leave at full pay. Unlike PFL, which is funded through employee contributions to state disability insurance, benefits under the Paid Parental Leave Ordinance are employer-funded.
Julia C. Riechert
Julia Collins Riechert is a partner in the Silicon Valley office. Julia defends companies in class action, multi-plaintiff and single plaintiff wage-and-hour lawsuits under California and federal law. She has experience litigating a wide variety of wage-and hour claims, such as claims of misclassification and for unpaid wages, off-the-clock work, meal and rest break penalties, expense reimbursement and vacation pay. She has assisted in successfully defeating class certification in wage-and-hour class actions, including for companies in the retail and technology industries, among others.
Julia represents companies and individual defendants in single and multi-plaintiff lawsuits alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as disability and leave of absence. She has handled many government agency charges for her clients, as well as government audits. She has also helped clients resolve pre-litigation matters arising from employment terminations.
Julia also has extensive experience advising companies on employee terminations, workplace investigations, discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints, compensation practices, performance management, meal and rest breaks, exempt/non-exempt classification, commission plans, independent contractor classification and policy implementation. She also regularly provides training for company workforces, including California’s mandatory sexual harassment training and management training on key employment issues and mitigating risk.
Julia’s clients have included retailers such as Gap, Gymboree, Chico’s, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., and Diane Von Furstenberg Studio, L.P. She has also represented many technology clients, including Genentech, Apple, Varian, Intuit, NVIDIA, Juniper Networks, VMware and Electronic Arts. She has also worked with a variety of start-up, private and new economy companies such as GitHub, Instacart and Lyft.
Julia also performs pro bono work, including employment law training for small business owners and advising non-profit organizations on a variety of employment issues. She was also part of a team that obtained summary judgment for The Humane Society of the United States, upholding a California statute banning cruel animal trapping.
The proliferation of paid sick leave (PSL) laws has been well-documented in the last few years. California’s PSL statute has received particular attention in this blog, but Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon have also adopted similar state-wide legislation. And it is not just the states that are rolling out requirements for PSL; dozens of cities and counties have also adopted PSL ordinances (oftentimes in states that already have similar laws in place). Major municipal adopters include New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Newark, and Philadelphia.
The California legislature played an active role in 2015 by enacting new rules and amendments in many employment areas. The following covers some of the key highlights, some of which became effective on January 1, 2016.
Baseball season is well underway as fans fill themselves up on hot dogs and beers, don their rally caps for some late-inning luck, and cheer for their favorite players. Meanwhile, a class action against Major League Baseball by former minor league players has been trotting through federal court. In Senne v. MLB, No. 3:14-cv-00608-JCS (N.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 2014), ECF No. 1, the plaintiffs cry foul in alleging that “paying their dues” on the way to the big leagues isn’t paying the bills. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that MLB and all 30 of its teams have violated the FLSA by not paying the minor leaguers overtime and minimum wage.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Council recently issued new California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) regulations that take effect July 1, 2015. The new revisions are intended to clarify confusing rules and align the regulations more closely with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) regulations (where the statutes are consistent), though differences still remain between CFRA and FMLA.
A recent federal district court decision denying a motion for class certification of wage-and-hour claims reflects continuing disagreement among courts in California regarding the suitability for class treatment of meal and rest break claims when an employer has no written break policy.
In Richey v. Autonation, Inc., issued January 29, 2015, the California Supreme Court reinstated an arbitration award against the plaintiff and confirmed that employers retain the right to terminate employees who violate company policy even while they are on a leave of absence under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
The National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel’s Office has again signaled its commitment to expanding the scope of the current test for joint employment. In a move that could have implications for a broad array of franchise relationships, on December 19, 2014, the General Counsel of the NLRB announced that it has issued complaints against both McDonald’s franchisees and McDonald’s USA, the franchisor, as a joint employer. The decision to name McDonald’s as a respondent is consistent with the General Counsel’s recent advocacy that the current joint employment standard is too narrow.
On October 8, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk. In Busk, plaintiffs allege that, under the FLSA, their employer should have compensated them and other warehouse employees for time spent passing through the employer’s security clearance at the end of their shifts, including their time spent waiting in line to be searched. Busk is an important case to watch because the Court may provide employers with wide-ranging guidance on what pre-work or post-work tasks are compensable.