California Developments

A Preliminary Employer Victory: California Federal Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Enjoining Enforcement of AB 51

On February 7, 2020, Chief U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller of the Eastern District of California issued a detailed order explaining the court’s January 31, 2020 grant of a preliminary injunction enjoining the State of California from enforcing AB 51.

As we explained in previous coverage, AB 51 was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020, and would have prohibited mandatory workplace arbitration agreements. Under AB 51, employers may not, “as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit, require an applicant or employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure” for Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and Labor Code claims. Violations of the new statute carry hefty consequences, including criminal penalties. READ MORE

AB 51 Update: Preliminary Injunction Granted

On Friday January 31, 2020, Judge Kimberly Mueller of the Eastern District of California granted a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of California Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51) to the extent it applies to arbitration agreements covered by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16. AB 51 makes it unlawful to require workers or job applicants to enter into mandatory arbitration agreements covering claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or the California Labor Code as a condition of employment or to obtain employment benefits. READ MORE

New Year’s Resolutions: Cases To Watch For California Employers in 2020

With the new year comes the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and the Ninth Circuit will issue a number of significant decisions spanning a range of topics in the employment arena.  In addition to the new California laws that have recently come into effect, covered here, California employers should watch these three litigation areas as well: READ MORE

The TRO on AB 51 is Still in Effect Following Oral Argument – With Modifications and Supplemental Briefing On The Way

On Friday, January 10, 2020, Chief United States District Judge Kimberly Mueller of the Eastern District of California heard oral argument on plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.  As a result of clarifications made at the oral argument, the temporary restraining order (TRO) has been modified from its broad applicability to only enjoin defendants from enforcing AB 51 to the extent it applies to arbitration agreements covered by the FAA.  The revised TRO will remain in effect until January 31, 2020, at which point we might have a ruling on the preliminary injunction.  Judge Mueller concluded the oral argument by providing both parties the opportunity to submit supplemental briefing on two issues:  (1)  jurisdiction/standing; and (2)  severability.  As to the latter issue, Judge Mueller indicated she would accept specific proposals related to how the arbitration-related sections of the statute might be severed if she decided to grant the injunction on FAA preemption grounds. READ MORE

New California Employment Laws for 2020

2020 is upon us, and with it, a slew of new employment laws that are now in effect. Read on for a description of 13 key employment laws every employer operating in California should know about going into 2020. For more information on these laws and advice regarding best practices, check out our California Employment Law Update Seminars taking place at our San Francisco office on January 9, 2020 and Silicon Valley office on January 22, 2020. READ MORE

Try To Restrain Yourself: California Is Temporarily Restrained From Enforcing Arbitration Ban

Remember California’s new ban on mandatory workplace arbitration agreements? The Eastern District of California has put it on ice, granting a temporary restraining order against the ban’s enforcement. As a refresher, and as we wrote about here, on October 10, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law California’s latest afront on workplace arbitration—AB 51. Under AB 51, employers may not, “as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit, require an applicant or employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure” for FEHA and Labor Code claims. Violations of the new statute carry hefty consequences, including criminal penalties. Many employers see arbitration agreements as necessary to manage employment disputes and an outright ban on this efficient process strongly affects their bottom line. The ban was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020, but the TRO put enforcement on hold for now. READ MORE

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure: California DFEH Clarifies Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirements

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) has updated its Employer FAQ guidance addressing the new sexual harassment prevention training requirements that were initially set to go into effect on January 1, 2020.  However, an amendment to the bill earlier this year moved the effective date to January 1, 2021.  As we reported when the initial bill was passed last year, the law expands harassment training requirements from employers with fifty or more employees to those with five or more employees, and from requiring training for supervisory employees only to requiring training for non-supervisory employees as well.  The training must be repeated once every two years. READ MORE

AB 9: A New 3 Year Statute of Limitations on FEHA Claims, What This Means for Employers and How To Prepare

Starting January 1, 2020, California employees will have three times as long to file charges alleging discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The new statute of limitations arises from AB 9, which increases the statute of limitations for filing a charge under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) from 1 year to 3 years. AB 9 is certain to have a significant impact on employers in the years that follow, but employers can mitigate the potential burden of this statute by understanding the new law and how to prepare for it. Below is some background and helpful tips for employers. READ MORE

The Golden State Expands Lactation Accommodations For Working Mothers

Mother cares for child

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law SB 142, significantly expanding employers’ obligations to provide break time and lactation room accommodations for working mothers. Following in the footsteps of San Francisco’s Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance, SB 142 imposes a host of new requirements regarding lactation accommodation spaces, policies, and break time: READ MORE

Can’t We Just Agree?: California Codifies It’s Hostility Towards Arbitration With AB 51.

On October 10, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51) prohibiting mandatory workplace arbitration agreements. AB 51 adds Section 12953 to the Government Code and Section 432.6 to the Labor Code. AB 51 applies to contracts entered into or modified after January 1, 2020. READ MORE