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On January 10, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its final rule that revises its guidance regarding the standard for assessing whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The final rule rescinds the DOL’s previous final rule that was published at the end of President Trump’s term of office in January 2021. As we previously reported in the wake of the issuance of the Department of Labor’s October 13, 2022 proposed rule, the final rule returns to a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis akin to the “Economic Reality Test.” This new final rule ultimately
Continue Reading The Department of Labor Issues New Final Rule for Independent Contractor Classification

For companies doing business in California, it’s important to be aware of the January 18, 2024 California Supreme Court decision in Estrada v. Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc.*, which examined whether trial courts can strike PAGA claims on manageability grounds. PAGA, or the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, created new enforcement and procedural standards to the California Labor Code’s wage and hour provisions. While the law has been viewed as pro-plaintiff, the decision in Estrada can be seen as underscoring that point of view.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Concludes PAGA Actions Cannot be Dismissed as Unmanageable

The District of Columbia will soon require employers to disclose pay ranges in job postings after Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Wage Transparency Omnibus Amendment Act of 2023 into law on Friday January 12, 2024. When it goes into effect on June 30, 2024, the District will join a growing number of states with wage transparency laws, including Illinois, California, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington State.
Continue Reading DC Joins the Wage Transparency Movement

On November 17, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a new law that further limits the terms employers may include in release agreements relating to claims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The law took effect immediately and further broadens the restrictions on release agreements already contained in New York General Obligations Law Section 5-336 (“Section 5-336”).
Continue Reading New York Amends Its Release Agreement Law for the Third Time

Chicago’s recent enactment of its Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”) marks some of the country’s most progressive paid time off legislation and also imposes robust requirements upon Chicago employers. On November 9, 2023, Chicago’s City Council passed the Ordinance, effective December 31, 2023, touting it as a benefit to low-wage workers previously lacking vacation time.
Continue Reading Chicago’s Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance Ushers in Some of the Nation’s Most Generous Employee Leave Entitlements

On September 15, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law that made dramatic changes to the enforceability of invention assignment provisions in employment agreements and likely in related agreements including offer letters and Confidentiality, Information and Invention Assignment Agreements (CIIAAs). The law took effect immediately and adds New York to a growing list of states with laws placing limits on invention assignment provisions.
Continue Reading Necessity Is the Mother of Invention – But New York Law Says Employers Better Not Take the Credit

On October 8, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill No. 497, the “Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act.” The new law amends California Labor Code sections 98.6, 1102.5, and 1197.5 to create a “rebuttable presumption of retaliation” if an employee experiences an adverse employment action within 90 days of engaging in any protected activity covered by the specified sections. This new law, which will become effective on January 1, 2024, also entitles a prevailing plaintiff civil penalties for each violation.
Continue Reading New California Law Makes It Easier for Employees to Establish Retaliation Claims for Alleged Labor Code Violations

President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order devised to establish minimum risk practices for use of generative artificial intelligence (“AI”) with focus on rights and safety of people, with many consequences for employers. Businesses should be aware of these directives to agencies, especially as they may result in new regulations, agency guidance and enforcements that apply to their workers. 
Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know about the White House’s Executive Order on AI

In Harstein v. Hyatt Corp., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Hyatt Corporation (“Hyatt”) violated California law, which requires the payment of all wages at separation, when one of its hotels failed to pay employees their accrued vacation pay after furloughing them in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Provides Critical Guidance on Events Triggering Waiting Time Penalties

On October 26, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) released a final rule which vastly broadens the standard for determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and makes it easier for the Board to find a joint employer relationship. This updated standard rescinds and replaces the prior standard under the 2020 final rule, discussed in our blogs here and here. The new final rule makes three key changes:
Continue Reading Who’s a Joint Employer Now? New NLRB Rule Drastically Expands Joint Employer Definition

Beginning on January 1, 2024, pursuant to House Bill 2068, Illinois employers located across thirty-eight (38) counties and townships will be required to provide employees with a “pre-tax commuter benefit.” This is one of a number of new Illinois laws impacting employers going into effect at the start of the new year.
Continue Reading Time to Prepare for the New Year: Illinois’ Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits Law Goes into Effect in 2024

On September 6, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law that prohibits employers from requiring employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings the “primary purpose” of which is to communicate the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters, including relating to joining a labor organization. The law became effective immediately, and is another step in the small, but growing number of states, that are campaigning against so-called “captive audience” meetings. 
Continue Reading New York State Bans Employers from Holding Mandatory “Captive Audience” Meetings

California has passed two new items of legislation, Senate Bill 699 and Assembly Bill 1076, which will further regulate and restrict the enforcement of employment non-compete agreements in California, and expand the scope of remedies for those affected by them. These new laws will become effective on January 1, 2024, and now is the time for employers to assess and revise their employment-related agreements and restrictive covenants accordingly. As detailed below, they also require employers to notify employees and certain former employees by February 15, 2024 that certain non-compete provisions are void. The two new laws are detailed below.
Continue Reading California Strengthens Non-Competition Law

In a recent 2-1 decision in Quickway Transportation, Inc., 372 NLRB No. 127 (2023), the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) reversed the Administrative Law Judge and ordered a trucking company to re-open its terminal and restore the status quo ante when it held that the company’s decision to terminate all of its recently unionized truck drivers and close the terminal violated sections 8(a)(3) and 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”). While this decision does not overturn existing Board precedent, as might be expected given the spate of recent decisions that we previously reported and discussed here
Continue Reading Think Twice Before Closing the Shop Doors

On October 10, 2023, California Governor Newsom signed into law S.B. 365, a bill that amends California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1294. The new law provides that when a party appeals an order denying a motion to compel arbitration (an order which is immediately appealable), the trial court is not obligated to stay the action during the pendency of the appeal. The law marks a major shift in California civil procedure law.
Continue Reading New California Law Prohibits Automatic Stay of Trial Court Action When Appealing Denial of a Motion to Compel Arbitration