California Developments

Los Angeles Mayor Issues Emergency Order Establishing COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

On April 7, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an emergency order providing supplemental paid sick leave to certain employees working within the City of Los Angeles for a variety of reasons related to COVID-19 (the “Order”). Notably, Mayor Garcetti issued the Order after declining to sign the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) approved by the Los Angeles City Council (“City Council”) on March 27. Our previous post summarizing the City Council’s Ordinance is located here: https://blogs.orrick.com/employment/. READ MORE

Minimizing Employer Liability in the Face of OSHA-Related Claims

Employers’ obligation to provide safe workplaces for employees is hardly new.  The current COVID-19 pandemic, however, has forced health and safety at work to be top-of-mind across U.S. industries in ways not previously contemplated.  Over the past several weeks, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued important guidance regarding COVID-19, focusing specifically on what employers can and should do to ensure their workplaces are safe.  Not only is compliance with OSHA’s guidelines important from the standpoint of ensuring worker safety, but failing to do so also can lead to legal risk and liability, as evidenced by a recent OSHA investigation involving Amazon, litigation filed this week, and an April 8 OSHA press release explaining how workers can file OSHA whistleblower claims. READ MORE

COVID-19 Update: Department of Labor Issues Further FFCRA Guidance

On Thursday March 26, the Department of Labor issued additional guidance about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The new guidance addresses a variety of topics including how the FFCRA applies to remote working, intermittent leave, worksite closures, reduction of hours and furloughs.

This week, the DOL also issued a fact sheet for employees and a fact sheet for employers. The required poster can be found here as well as FAQs about notice requirements. The DOL plans to implement formal FFCRA regulations in April.

Stay tuned for updates and check out our FFCRA FAQs here.

CARES Act: What Do Employers Need to Know?

On Friday afternoon, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The Act addresses the coronavirus pandemic by directing funds to address the strains on the health care system as well as alleviate the intense economic stress facing the country’s employers and workers. The President has stated that he will sign the bill immediately. This post focuses on those provisions that may impact employers. Below are answers to some questions that we expect employers will have about the CARES Act.

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Employers Need to Know

On March 18, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The FFCRA is effective April 1, 2020. The Department of Labor also issued guidance and detailed FAQs, addressing various hypotheticals.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about provisions of the FFCRA that are of particular importance to employers: the emergency expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and emergency paid sick leave. READ MORE

California Executive Order Allows Businesses To Assert An “Unforeseeable Business Circumstances” Exception to California WARN Act For Events Caused By COVID-19; Notice Must Be As Soon As Practical.

California maintains its own “mini” WARN Act, Labor Code section 1400, et seq., which requires employers with 75 or more employees to give 60 days’ notice prior to mass layoffs, substantial relocations, or termination of operations at a covered establishment.  Unlike the federal WARN Act, California’s statute also applies to furloughs as few as three weeks, according to a 2017 Court of Appeal decision in Int’l. Bhd. of Boilermakers, etc. v. NASSCO Holdings Inc., 17 Cal. App. 5th 1105, 226 (2017).  Also, unlike the federal WARN Act, California does not have an unforeseeable business circumstances or natural disaster exception to the 60-days’ notice requirement. READ MORE

COVID-19 Update: Senate Passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or H.R. 6201. The approved legislation has been sent to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. On Monday evening, the House passed its amended and final version of the bipartisan legislation, which we outline below. Stay tuned for updates as the approved legislation awaits the President’s signature. READ MORE

Ninth Circuit Issues A Second En Banc Decision Regarding Prior Salary Considerations In Rizo v. Yovino Re-Do

In yet another development in the closely watched case of Rizo v. Yovino, the en banc Ninth Circuit ruled that employers may not defeat a plaintiff’s prima facie case under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) by arguing prior pay is a “factor other than sex” within the meaning of the statute. By doing so, the Ninth Circuit reaches the same result as the previous opinion penned by the late Judge Stephen Reinhardt before his passing in 2018, including overruling Kouba v. Allstate, a prior Ninth Circuit opinion that held that prior pay could justify pay differentials in combination with other factors, and if relied upon reasonably and to effectuate a business policy. The majority opinion further holds that as a matter of statutory interpretation, a “factor other than sex” within the meaning of the EPA must be “job related,” yet it also makes clear that the EPA does not prohibit employers from considering prior pay in making starting pay offers (and in this regard differentiates the opinion from California’s salary history ban). Two separate concurring opinions agree with the result, but they criticize the majority opinion for giving too narrow a reading of the EPA’s fourth “catch all” defense and for embracing a view of prior pay that puts the Ninth Circuit at odds with other circuits and guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). READ MORE

Federal Court in California Declines Gig Economy Companies’ Bid to Stop Enforcement of AB 5

Several groups have launched legal attacks on California’s new independent contractor  misclassification law AB 5 since it went into effect on January 1, 2020.  While some groups had early success, United States District Court Judge Dolly Gee denied a request by Uber and Postmates to preliminarily enjoin enforcement of AB 5 against them while their constitutional challenge to the law plays out, in Olson, et al. v. State of California, et al. READ MORE

Coming to a Ballot Near You: Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act

This November, Californians may get the chance to vote on a ballot measure that would address some of the fallout from the new independent contractor law known as AB 5. The proposed ballot measure is called the “Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act.” The ballot measure would allow Californians to vote to protect their right to work as independent contractors with rideshare and delivery network companies throughout the state. READ MORE