Employers in California continue to grapple with how to interpret Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order directing all California residents to stay home, except as needed “to maintain the continuity of operations of the federal government critical infrastructure sectors.”  Since the Order came out, the state has issued and updated its list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” who are exempted from the stay-at-home restrictions for purposes of reporting to work.
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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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In Corona Regional Medical Center v. Sali, No. 18-1262 (May 3, 2019), the Supreme Court recently dismissed a petition for a writ of certiorari that would have resolved a circuit split as to whether expert testimony must be admissible to be considered at the class certification stage.  As a result, the Ninth Circuit remains one of only two circuits that have ruled workers are not required to submit admissible evidence to support a motion for class certification.  In contrast, the Second, Third, Fifth, and Seventh Circuits have all held that expert testimony must be admissible to be considered at the class certification stage.
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