Employment Law Alerts

Supreme Court Rejects Principle of Narrow Construction for FLSA Exemptions

Posted on April 12, 2018 at 10:53 AM

In a new decision, Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro et al., the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected over 50 years of precedent requiring FLSA exemptions to be narrowly construed against the employers seeking to assert them. Instead, the Court held that because the FLSA gives no textual indication that its exemptions should be construed narrowly, they should be given a “fair reading.” While the ruling determined that service advisers employed at car dealerships are exempt from overtime under the FLSA, the Court’s decision signals a far broader application of many FLSA exemptions.

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California Supreme Court Rules on How to Calculate Overtime on Flat Sum Bonuses

Posted on March 20, 2018 at 9:06 AM

In an employee-friendly decision, the California Supreme Court has ruled that when a nonexempt employee receives a nondiscretionary “flat sum bonus” covering a single pay period, the overtime rate is based on the employee’s regular, non-overtime hours in the pay period, rather than the total hours. The new case is Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of California (S232607, March 5, 2018).

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California's "Immigrant Worker Protection Act" in Effect; DLSE Issues Notice Template and Guidance

Posted on February 28, 2018 at 9:28 AM

California’s A.B. 450, the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” took effect on Jan. 1, 2018, imposing strict new obligations on all California employers during immigration enforcement actions and when receiving a Notice of Inspection (NOI) from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding I-9 forms and other employment records. Employers should pay close attention to their new obligations under A.B. 450, particularly as ICE has signaled that it will be responding to this new law with increased raids and inspections at California workplaces. Joint guidance on A.B. 450 recently issued by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the California attorney general, as well as a notice template from the DLSE, should assist employers with their compliance efforts.

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SCOTUS Rejects SEC's Expanded Definition of Whistleblower

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 2:25 PM

In Digital Realty Trust Inc. v. Somers, the U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously overruled a Ninth Circuit decision that had relied on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) broad interpretation of the definition of a whistleblower under the Dodd-Franks Act.

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Court Rules Grubhub Driver Was Independent Contractor; What's the Impact for the Gig Economy?

Posted on February 15, 2018 at 1:59 PM

In a long-awaited decision, a federal district court in California has ruled that a driver for food delivery app Grubhub was an independent contractor and not an employee under California law. While the ruling in Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc. is expected to have an impact on other “gig economy” companies that offer customers an opportunity to connect with goods or services through smartphone apps, the case is not the last word on worker classification.

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The NLRB Pendulum Has Swung

Posted on December 20, 2017 at 10:59 AM

In our October 11, 2017 Employment Law Alert, The NLRB Pendulum Is About to Swing, we indicated that with a Republican majority for the first time in over decade, the National Labor Relations Board was poised to overturn a number of “labor-friendly” cases that were decided during the Obama Administration. That process was set in motion on December 1, 2017, when new NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb issued GC Memorandum 18-02 (the “Memorandum”), setting out a broad agenda to revisit many Obama-era decisions. The Memorandum instructed the Board’s Regional Offices to seek “alternative analysis” from the NLRB's Division of Advice on a range of issues before issuing Complaints, including on matters involving joint employer status, employee handbook rules, and more.

Last week, the reversals began – and since then, the Board has issued five new cases, all decided by a 3-2 majority along party lines. The latest decision came in just under the wire before Republican appointee Board Chair Miscimarra’s term expired on Saturday, December 16.  While the NLRB pendulum will continue to swing, we may see a short lull until a new Board member is confirmed to replace Chair Miscimarra.

In the meantime, here’s an overview of the new reversals.

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California's New Salary History Inquiry Ban: What Employers Can - and Cannot - Do

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 11:10 AM

As we discussed in our recent Alert, Governor Brown recently signed into law A.B. 168, which adds section 432.3 to the California Labor Code to prohibit all public and private employers, regardless of size, from requesting a job applicant’s salary history. The law takes effect on January 1, 2018. The rationale behind it, and similar laws in some states and cities across the nation, is that basing current pay on past compensation perpetuates gender and race-based pay inequities. 

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New California Workplace Laws for 2018 and How to Get Ready

Posted on October 19, 2017 at 1:48 PM

Governor Brown has signed into law a number of significant employment-related bills that will impact California workplaces. Here’s a summary of key laws taking effect on January 1, 2018, along with best practices to get ready -- and ensure compliance. 

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5 Tips to Prevent Workplace Sexual Harassment

Posted on October 16, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Sexual harassment in the workplace can take a serious toll on the victims, and can throw a company into turmoil – especially when the harasser is a high-level employee such as a founder or CEO.  The latest in a string of high-profile examples is Harvey Weinstein, who founded and ran the entertainment company that fired him after allegations surfaced in the news that he sexually harassed female employees and other women in the film industry over decades.

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The NLRB Pendulum Is About to Swing

Posted on October 11, 2017 at 9:50 AM

With recent Senate confirmations of the Trump Administration’s nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, the Board will have a Republican majority for the first time in over a decade. And when the nominee for General Counsel is confirmed, the table will be set for the Board to overturn a number of cases and rules that were decided and implemented during the Obama Administration, when the Board issued a string of union- and employee-friendly rules and decisions.

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