Unemployment insurance is a joint federal-state program, administered separately by each state following guidelines established by federal law. On March 12, 2020, the Department of Labor issued advisory guidance for state workforce agencies, suggesting ways in which the states might relax program requirements and expand benefit eligibility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Employers in the difficult position of making workplace reductions because of COVID-19-related business losses should spare a moment for consideration of layoff notice obligations under the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act of 1988, 29 U.S.C. § 2100 et seq. and its state counterparts (so-called “mini-WARN” laws). The “unforeseen business circumstances” exception in federal WARN and most analogous state laws may excuse strict compliance with notification requirements, but employers should take the time now to analyze the applicability of this exception rather than make assumptions about it.
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The competing interests of the business community and tipped workers continue to inform public policy decisions about the minimum wage.  We have previously written about increases in the minimum wage on the state, county and municipal level.  Most recently, the cities of Chicago and Denver tackled this issue and joined the many jurisdictions across the country to approve increases to their minimum wage.
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California Labor Code §2802 requires employers to reimburse employees for all “necessary expenditures” incurred by an employee in the discharge of his or her duties. Business travel expenses fall into this category, as do uniforms, and even the portion of personal cell phone costs that can be attributed to business use.
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The First Appellate District’s recent decision in Subcontracting Concepts, LLC v. DeMelo, A152205 (April 10, 2019) applies well-established unconscionability principles to an arbitration agreement signed by an employee of an independent contractor. The doctrine of unconscionability refers to an absence of meaningful choice with respect to the terms of a contract, usually the result of unequal bargaining power between the parties.
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Voters in Michigan, Utah and Missouri passed marijuana-related ballot measures in the November 2018 elections.  Each of these measures recognizes that marijuana remains a controlled substance, and illegal, under federal law, and that authorized users, growers, physicians, and any others who properly support or participate in these programs will be shielded from liability only under state law.
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n AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B285655 (June 25, 2018), California’s Second District Court of Appeals upheld an employer’s use of a payroll system that automatically rounds employee time up or down to the nearest quarter hour.  Although the California Supreme Court has not yet addressed this issue, AHMC Healthcare aligns with decisions from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, many federal district courts, and California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals, which also upheld time-rounding practices.
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Driven by the wave of publicity surrounding sexual harassment allegations against prominent artists, executives, news anchors, filmmakers and legislators, and the ensuing #MeToo movement, legislators in California and several other states recently have introduced bills designed to prevent such harassment.  We summarize four bills introduced in the California Senate and Assembly in January 2018. 
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Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 365 NLRB No. 161 (Dec. 15, 2017), is one of several decisions issued this month by the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) new Republican majority which reverse Obama-era precedent. Raytheon overrules the Board’s decision E.I. du Pont de Nemours, 364 NLRB No. 113 (2016), which limited the changes employers can make unilaterally in a union environment.
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