California Developments

The California Public Health Department issued Guidance recommending that all Californians wear cloth face coverings when in public for essential activities.  San Diego County took that guidance one step further, however, and issued an addendum to its public health order, requiring that certain employees wear cloth face coverings.  The San Diego order also requires covered businesses to follow new posting guidelines, and recommends that all San Diegans heed California’s Statewide Face Coverings Guidance.
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In the face of unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, employers have been forced to balance the need to mitigate current health risks against the need to protect their future financial viability.  Last week, the Los Angeles City Council made navigating that balance more difficult for some employers.
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The Ninth Circuit recently overturned a district court’s grant of class certification on a wage statement claim under California Labor Code §226 because there were no “real-world consequences” stemming from the alleged misidentification of the employer’s name on the wage statement.
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Yesterday, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order mandating that all California residents remain at home, except those needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.  The Order is open ended and will continue to be in place until the Governor orders otherwise. What does this mean for California businesses?
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, many employers are grappling with the need to immediately shut down operations.  This raises the question whether employers must pay out all wages (including paid time off) when employees are temporarily laid off or furloughed. In California, they might.
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No doubt recognizing the unprecedented impact on business, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order suspending the notice requirements under the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Cal. Lab. Code §§ 1401(a), 1402, 1403. The Executive Order suspends existing law that could have otherwise required employers to provide 60 days’ notice before instituting mass layoffs, relocations, or terminations, and could potentially have imposed steep penalties on employers who failed to do so.  Certain notice obligations remain, however, under the Executive Order.
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Effective January 1, 2020, organ donors in California are entitled to an additional 30 business days of unpaid leave.  AB 1223 extends the maximum leave time available to employees who participate in an organ donation program.  This law applies to private employers with 15 or more employees. 
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Earlier today, Eastern District of California Judge Kimberly Mueller granted a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the state of California from enforcing AB 51, which sought to prohibit companies in California from requiring arbitration agreements as a condition of employment. 
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