California Developments

In the recent election, Californians voted to add an employer-friendly provision to the Labor Code that allows emergency ambulance workers to be on-call during breaks.  California is one of 24 states that allow voters to initiate laws through the petition process.
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When negotiating a settlement agreement in an employment dispute, “no rehire” language is often a standard term.  This language typically bars the litigating employee from seeking re-employment with the former employer.  However, in California, at least one “no rehire” provision was invalidated because it was not narrowly tailored to the employer at issue.
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The Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2), confers federal subject matter removal jurisdiction over purported class actions filed in state court when, among other things, there is an amount-in-controversry (“AIC”) exceeding $5,000,000.  Deciding whether a class action can be properly removed under CAFA typically turns on whether this high jurisdictional threshold can be met.
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In a time when workplace violence seems to be on the rise, many companies have adopted a strict no tolerance policy even for conduct outside the workplace.  In California, however, employers need to be cognizant of the protections afforded individuals that may make such terminations riskier than the company may expect.  One employer got just such a reminder last week when a California jury returned an $18M verdict against it for terminating an employee after he was arrested for threatening his girlfriend outside of the workplace. 
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There may be some changes coming to how California enforces its antidiscrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act.  In February 2017, a bill was introduced in the California Senate proposing to allow local government entities to enforce antidiscrimination statutes. 
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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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