As a follow-up to Executive Order N-33-20, on March 20, Governor Newsom’s office released a 14-page report which provides additional guidance regarding “essential business operations” in California. Originally, the Governor’s Executive Order directed California workers to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website to determine whether they qualify as essential to one of 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors. The 14-page report narrows “essential business operations” to workers in 13 sectors: (1) Healthcare/Public Health, (2) Emergency Services; (3) Food and Agriculture, (4) Energy, (5) Water and Wastewater, (6) Transportation and Logistics, (7) Communications and Information Technology (8) Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions, (9) Critical Manufacturing, (10) Hazardous Materials, (11) Financial Services, (12) Chemical, (13) and Defense Industrial Base. READ MORE
As innovative companies push the boundaries of technology, they need lawyers who can apply today’s employment regulations to tomorrow’s business. To help her clients stay ahead, Kristina Pham offers clarity and precise guidance.
Kristina represents employers ranging from Fortune 500 employers to start-ups across all industries in multi-plaintiff, single plaintiff and class action lawsuits involving discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination claims. For example, on behalf of Twitter, she successfully helped fight off class action claims alleging gender discrimination in 2018. She also has extensive experience in wage and hour litigation and audits.
Kristina also counsels clients on the latest employment developments, helping them remain in compliance so they can avoid litigation before it arises. As a member of the firm’s Alternative Workforce Task Force, and the Sexual Harassment Task Force, she can offer immediate guidance on these critical employment areas.
In addition to her practice, Kristina uses her skills to enhance diversity and improve the community. She currently serves as Chair of the Silicon Valley Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (SV-APABA) Scholarship Committee and member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. While at Berkeley Law, she participated in the Education, Defense and Justice for Youth Clinic, where she represented clients facing expulsion or incarceration. She also directed the Alternative Dispute Resolution team, and was instrumental in leading several Berkeley Law students to victories at the national level.
Prior to law school, Kristina was a special education teacher in San Jose, CA.
Posts by: Kristina Pham
On March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will defer the physical presence requirements associated with I-9s. Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. The new process is only for employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9. However, if newly hired employees or existing employees are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or lockdown protocols, DHS will evaluate on a case-by-case basis. READ MORE
On the evening of March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newson issued Executive Order N-33-20, which requires all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except “as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors,” as outlined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). This order, which applies to 40 million California residents, is intended to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). In issuing the Order, Governor Newsom suggested that 56 percent of Californians (more than 25 million people) could be infected over the next eight weeks. Although the Order states it is to go into effect immediately and shall stay in effect until further notice, Governor Newsom also emphasized this is “not a permanent state.” READ MORE
On February 26, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board unveiled the final version of its rule for determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. The Final Rule, which can be found here and which will take effect on April 27, 2020, will return to the “substantial direct and immediate control” standard. READ MORE
On January 12, 2020, the Department of Labor announced a final rule to revise and update its regulations to assist in determining joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Notably, the final rule recognizes two potential scenarios where an employee may have one or more joint employers. READ MORE
On September 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 5 (A.B. 5). A.B. 5 relates to whether workers are employees or independent contractors. With this bill the California Legislature codified the ABC test set forth by the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, 4 Cal. 5th 903 (2018) and expanded its applicability. It expands the ABC test for independent contractor vs. employee classification to the California Labor Code and the California Unemployment Insurance Code.
A.B. 5 adds section 2750.3 and amends section 3351 to the California Labor Code and amends sections 605.5 and 621 to the California Unemployment Insurance Code.
Dynamex and the ABC test
For the last 30 years, California courts have addressed independent contractor v. employee classification using the test set forth in S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations, 48 Cal. 3d 341 (1989). Under the Borello test, determining whether a worker was an employee or an independent contractor hinged on a number of factors and primarily focused on the alleged employer’s control over the manner and means by which the work is performed. On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court decided Dynamex, announcing a significant departure from the Borello test. The Dynamex decision adopted the so-called 3-part “ABC” test for determining whether an individual is considered an independent contractor or an employee under the wage orders, which govern many aspects of wages and working conditions in covered industries. Under the new 3-part ABC test, a worker is properly considered an independent contractor to whom a wage order does not apply only where the hirer establishes:
- The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work;
- The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
- The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.
For more background information on the Dynamex decision, please see our May 9, 2018 blog post.
A.B. 5 codifies and expands the Dynamex 3-part ABC test, making it apply not only to claims arising out of the wage orders, but also apply to the California Labor Code and Unemployment Insurance Code. The new law also includes a provision that empowers the California Attorney General and city attorneys of cities with populations greater than 750,000 to seek injunctive relief to prevent the continued misclassification of employees as independent contractors. See California Labor Code section 2750.3(j).
In passing the bill, the legislature stated that it intended “to ensure workers who are currently exploited by being misclassified as independent contractors instead of recognized as employees have the basic rights and protections they deserve under the law, including a minimum wage, workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job, unemployment insurance, paid sick leave, and paid family leave.” The legislature further stated that “by codifying the California Supreme Court’s landmark, unanimous Dynamex decision, this act restores these important protections to potentially several million workers who have been denied these basic workplace rights that all employees are entitled to under the law.”
A.B. 5 includes carveout exemptions from the ABC test for various occupations and business relationships (such as lawyers, veterinarians, commercial fishermen, investment advisors, licensed private investigators and specified professional services providers) if the hiring entity can prove the specific requirements for exemption are met. See Cal. Lab. Code section 2750.3 (b)-(h). If the exemption applies, the Borello test governs the worker classification issue.
The application of the ABC test to the California Labor Code and Unemployment Insurance Code takes effect on January 1, 2020, with the applicability to workers’ compensation going into effect on July 1, 2020.
Under A.B. 5, the number of individuals who are considered employees in California for purposes of the wage orders, California Labor Code, and Unemployment Insurance Code will almost certainly increase. Now is the time to review your company’s practices related to independent contractors and talk to counsel for advice. We will continue to monitor any developments and are here to help.
On April 29, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion letter finding that “on-demand” service providers working for a virtual marketplace company are independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The opinion letter comes almost two years after the DOL withdrew informal guidance on independent contractors issued under the Obama administration, in which the DOL concluded that “most workers are employees under the FLSA.” The new opinion letter signals an approach more friendly to “gig economy” virtual marketplace companies (or “VMCs”), online and/or smartphone-based referral services that connect consumers with service providers providing a wide variety of services, such as transportation, delivery, shopping, moving, cleaning, plumbing, painting, and household services. READ MORE
On December 21, 2018, the Department of Labor issued two opinion letters regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The first opinion letter explains that an employer failed to comply with the FLSA’s overtime requirements when it designated a standard regular rate of pay for overtime purposes and the actual regular rate of pay exceeded that amount. The second opinion letter found that certain members of a religious organization were not employees under the FLSA, but, even if considered employees, qualified for the ministerial exception. This blog post explores both letters. READ MORE
On October 15, 2017, the #MeToo movement began in earnest following a tweet by actress Alyssa Milano. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, the Orrick Employment Law and Litigation Blog will analyze the effects of the movement from the employment perspective. Part 1 reviewed the movement’s impact on sexual harassment claims in the workplace, Part 2 below focuses on the legislative reaction to the movement, and Part 3 discusses how employers have responded to #MeToo. READ MORE
With school back in session, employees may be asking for time off to go to their children’s school activities. Employers should know that several states and the District of Columbia require or encourage employers to provide employees with school-related time off. It is time to make sure employers are compliant with these laws. READ MORE