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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California’s law against arbitration remains in doubt after Eastern District Judge Kimberly Mueller extended the TRO issued on December 31, prohibiting the state of California from enforcing the law against agreements covered by the Federal Arbitration Act.  That law, known as AB 51, seeks to prohibit companies in California from requiring arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.
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In the last days of 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that bans employers from discriminating against employees based on hairstyles that are associated with race. In doing so, New Jersey joined New York and California—both of which enacted similar legislation earlier in 2019—in prohibiting hair discrimination in the workplace.
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This month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed several employment-related bills into law. The laws go into effect January 1, 2020, and include an extension to the deadline to file certain state discrimination claims and address harassment training and prevention, as well as mandatory arbitration agreements.
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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court’s ruling in favor of employer Medtronic, Inc. in a lawsuit alleging Medtronic unlawfully terminated employee Jose Valtierra’s employment because he was morbidly obese, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  In doing so, the Court declined to decide whether morbid obesity is a disability, leaving this issue unsettled in the Ninth Circuit.
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The California Labor Code requires employers to reimburse employees for certain expenses, but it’s not always clear which expenses should be reimbursed by the employer, and which expenses should be borne by employees.  Here’s a list of Five Things to Remember About Employee Reimbursements to help California employers navigate this area of the 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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When a franchisor provides a California franchisee with detailed instructions about how to operate the franchise business, but allows the franchisee to manage its own workforce, can the franchisor be held liable for the franchisee’s wage and hour violations?  The California Court of Appeals found the answer to be no.
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