Labor & Employment Law Blog

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Amidst a wave of non-compete bans sweeping California, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Minnesota and, most recently, the nation via the Federal Trade Commission’s non-compete prohibition, Maine Governor Janet Mills departed from this growing trend and vetoed L.D. 1496, An Act To Prohibit Noncompete Clauses (“L.D. 1496”) in April 2024. If enacted, the L.D. 1496 would have effectively foreclosed employers from entering into non-compete clauses with employees in Maine.
Continue Reading Maine Governor’s Veto of Non-Compete Ban Bucks Growing Trend Among States and Federal Trade Commission

On March 12, 2024, the Ninth Circuit published a decision in Ortiz v. Randstad Inhouse Services, LLC, holding that the Plaintiff Adan Ortiz (“Plaintiff”) qualified as a “transportation worker” under the Federal Arbitration Act, and was thus exempted from mandatory arbitration under the FAA. The district court rejected the employer’s arguments that Plaintiff was bound by the arbitration mandate under the FAA because he performed duties on a purely local basis. This case continues to establish that the scope of the “transportation worker” exemption under the FAA is broader than only those workers that physically move goods or people across
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Finds Shipping Warehouse Employee Qualified as Exempt “Transportation Worker” Under the Federal Arbitration Act

As previously discussed, on June 18, 2024, California’s political leaders announced a tentative deal to reform a number of aspects of California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). On June 27, 2024, the PAGA reform bills, Senate Bill 92 and Assembly Bill 2288, were approved by the California Legislature and on July 1, 2024, Governor Newsom signed both bills into law. The PAGA reform bills contain urgency clauses such that the bills take effect upon signing. Both bills explicitly apply only to PAGA claims filed on or after June 19, 2024, or those PAGA claims for which the required notice
Continue Reading A Closer Look: Unpacking California’s Landmark PAGA Legislation

The Supreme Court will soon hear a wage and hour case with massive implications for employers defending claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Depending on the outcome, the high court’s decision could make it far more difficult for employers to prove a plaintiff/employee is exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements.
Continue Reading New SCOTUS Case Could Make Fair Labor Standards Act Claims More Difficult for Employers to Defend

California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”) requires commercial cannabis entities to obtain a license from California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) to cultivate, distribute, transport, store, manufacture, process, and sell cannabis in the state of California. Since its enactment, MAUCRSA required licensees with 20 or more employees to enter into Labor Peace Agreements (“LPAs”) with “bona fide” labor organizations to receive and renew a license from the DCC, as previously outlined here. LPAs require commercial cannabis licensees and labor organizations to agree to not engage in conduct that would disrupt or interfere with the other’s dealings. In
Continue Reading July 1 Deadline Looms for Cannabis Operators to Maintain and Renew Their Licenses by Entering into Labor Peace Agreements

On June 18, 2024, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas announced a tentative deal to reform a number of aspects of California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). While legislation is yet to be introduced, the publicly announced key components of PAGA reform include an increase in employees’ share of PAGA penalties, caps on penalties for employers who take steps to comply with the Labor Code or fix potential issues after receiving notice of a PAGA claim, and requiring the representative plaintiff to experience every alleged PAGA violation to have standing. This reform, if
Continue Reading PAGA Reimagined: A New Chapter for California’s Employers and Employees

On November 2, 2023, the New York City Council passed a bill[1] requiring the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (“DCWP”), in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (“MOIA”), the New York City Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”), and community and labor organizations, to create and publish a workers’ bill of rights.
Continue Reading New York City Employers Must Display Workers’ Bill of Rights Poster Beginning July 1, 2024

On March 8, 2024, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas dealt a serious blow to the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) efforts to further increase the reach of the National Labor Relations Act (“the NLRA”). Judge J. Campbell Barker struck down a final rule issued by the Board that would have drastically broadened the standard the Board applies to determine when employers are joint-employers for the purposes of federal labor law. The blow was delivered three days before the rule was set to take effect on March 11, 2024 following a 14-day
Continue Reading Federal Judge’s Decision Deals Serious Blow to NLRB’s Joint Employer Rule and Continued Efforts to Expand Who Constitutes an Employer Under the NLRA

In Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, the case’s second appearance before the California Supreme Court in two years, the Supreme Court confirmed that an employer does not incur civil penalties for failing to report unpaid wages, or any other required information on a wage statement, if the employer reasonably believed that it was providing a complete accurate wage statement.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Confirms the “Knowing and Intentional” Standard of California’s Wage Statement Law Requires a “Knowing and Intentional” Violation

On April 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published its Final Rule clarifying the rights of employees to designate a non-employee representative to be present during workplace inspections. Notably, the designated non-employee representative may “accompany” the OSHA investigator during the physical walkaround portion of the inspection but may not “participate” in the inspection. The Final Rule will become effective May 31, 2024.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues Final Rule Clarifying an Employee’s Ability to Have a Non-Employee Representative Present During Inspection

Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed Senate Bill 5935 into law, amending and expanding Washington’s statute restricting the enforceability of noncompetition covenants (Revised Code of Washington 49.2). The amended statute, effective June 6, 2024 and enacted to “facilitat[e] workforce mobility and protect[] employees and independent contractors,” follows a growing trend among states restricting the enforceability of noncompetition covenants and creates additional considerations for employers entering into non-compete agreements with Washington-based employees.
Continue Reading Washington’s Amended Non-Compete Law Creates New Considerations for Employers

On May 14, 2024, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted a petition for interim injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) that was filed by the Regional Director for Region One. Among other things, the court’s order required I.N.S.A, a cannabis company (the “Employer”) to: 1) immediately recognize and bargain collectively with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 1445 (the “Union”) as the collective bargaining representative of its employees even though a majority of workers voted against unionizing; and 2) rehire two pro-union employees who were terminated during the
Continue Reading U.S. District Court Grants 10(j) Injunctive Relief and Requires Employer to Bargain With Union That Lost Secret Ballot Election

On May 16, 2024, the United States Supreme Court resolved a circuit split regarding whether Section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) provides trial courts the discretion to dismiss a lawsuit when all claims are subject to arbitration. In Smith v. Spizzirri, a unanimous Court ruled trial courts do not have discretion to dismiss a lawsuit that involves an arbitrable dispute, and must instead stay the proceedings.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules Trial Courts Must Stay, Not Dismiss, Lawsuits During Arbitration

On May 10, 2024, the Ninth Circuit decided Yuriria Diaz v. Macy’s West Stores, after the employer appealed the district court’s decision ordering arbitration of both an employee’s individual and non-individual claims under the California Private Attorney Generals Act (PAGA). The Ninth Circuit held that even though the arbitration agreement made no mention of PAGA, an employee’s individual PAGA claim was still subject to arbitration because the parties’ intended to arbitrate all employment disputes between them. However the non-individual PAGA claims were not arbitrable, because the parties did not consent to arbitration of those claims.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules That Only Individual PAGA Claims Can Be Compelled to Arbitration

On May 8, 2024, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued a decision reversing a 2021 decision the Board previously vacated after former Board Member William Emanuel, who participated in the ruling, was found to have broken ethics rules by failing to recuse himself from the case. In the decision, the Board held that George Washington University Hospital (“GW Hospital”) violated the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) by unilaterally withdrawing its recognition of a union and refusing to bargain in good faith. See The George Washington Univ. Hosp., L.P., 373 NLRB No. 55 (2024).
Continue Reading NLRB Finds GW Hospital Failed to Bargain in Good Faith in Reversal of Vacated Decision