Last month, a court in the N.D. of California denied class certification to a group of Chipotle workers who alleged that the burrito chain maintained unlawful English-only workplaces in the state of California.  Guzman v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Case No. 17-cv-02606 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2020).  The opinion is a textbook example of how a lack of uniform written policies can, in some instances, benefit employers defending pattern and practice lawsuits.  Separately, the case also provides occasion to review the EEOC’s stance on English-Only policies.
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In a unanimous decision in Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Srvs., the Ninth Circuit overturned a California district court’s ruling in a wage and hour class action under the California Labor Code that granted Nike’s motion for summary judgement after applying the federal de minimis doctrine.
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A new Virginia law will require employers to provide current or former employees with copies of certain employment-related documents upon request. Effective July 1, 2019, Virginia employers must provide a copy of a limited set of employment documents to employees upon receipt of a written request for such information from the employee, her attorney or an authorized insurer.
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On May 2, 2019, the Ninth Circuit ruled in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, holding that the new independent contractor test established by the California Supreme Court in its 2018 decision in Dynamex v. Superior Court applies retroactively to franchisors. As a result of this decision, employers and franchisors who have classified workers as independent contractors may see an increase in wage and hour class actions alleging that the workers are or have been misclassified. Additionally, the decision has serious implications for any California companies that operate under a franchise business mode
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Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) governs petitions for interlocutory appeals of orders that grant or deny class certification and requires that a petition for permission to appeal must be filed “within 14 days after the order is entered.” It makes no mention of motions for reconsideration.
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The current trend at both the state and federal levels is moving in the direction of mandatory paid family leave.  For example, in recent years, 6 states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have enacted mandatory paid family leave benefits for employees.  Moreover, at least 18 other states are currently considering some form of paid family leave legislation.
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Recently-introduced federal legislation could have a significant impact on equal pay class actions. On January 30, 2019, Democratic legislators reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R.7), which provides for various changes to the Equal Pay Act of 1963.  Earlier versions of this bill, which was originally introduced in 1997, have all died in Congress. However, on February 26, 2019, the House Committee on Education and Labor voted in favor of H.R.7, which means the legislation will now be presented to the full House for a vote.
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