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California employers breathed a bit easier once a federal judge pressed the indefinite pause button on the newly enacted law aimed at preventing employers from utilizing mandatory arbitration agreements. Now, a few weeks later, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller issued an order fully explaining her reasons for granting the preliminary injunction that blocked AB 51. The 36-page order, issued on February 7, said that that the law not only would have placed arbitration agreements on unequal footing with other contracts, but it would have interfered with the stated objectives of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

It has become somewhat of an annual tradition in California: with every new year comes a further increase in the state’s minimum wage. And this year is no different. In 2020, the new state minimum wage for employers of 26 or more employees is now $13.00 per hour, and the state minimum wage for employers of 25 or fewer employees just increased to $12.00 per hour.

A coalition of business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce just filed a lawsuit against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other state officials seeking to block AB 51, a recently passed statute which will make it unlawful for California employers to require employees to sign arbitration agreements beginning January 1, 2020.

A recent decision by the California First District Court of Appeal held that mandatory service charges frequently used by hospitality employers may constitute “gratuities” under California law that need to be paid to employees. 

The U.S. Supreme Court just did something that was more than just a bit out of character—it rejected the opportunity to find that California had once again overstepped its bounds by creating judicial rules disfavoring arbitration. It did so by rejecting the highly watched petition for certiorari that arose from Ramos v. Winston & Strawn. The October 7 determination not to take up the case for review means that we will have to live with the current state of affairs for the time being, but we now have a solid game plan for crafting arbitration agreements that comply with state law.

Between pumpkin carving and cookie baking, Californians now have one more thing to add to their holiday to-do lists: reviewing their standard settlement agreements to remove any no-rehire provisions. California employers have until the end of the year to revise their agreements to comply with AB 749, the legislation signed into effect by Governor Gavin Newsom October 12. What do California employers need to know about this new law?

When it comes to paying your arbitration fees in whole and on time, the stakes for California employers just got more serious. Under legislation just signed by Governor Newsom, a drafting party that fails to pay arbitration fees and costs in employment or consumer disputes is subject to some fairly significant ramifications. They include not being able to compel arbitration and being forced back into court. Did that get your attention? Read on to get the full details.

Following San Francisco’s lead, California will soon significantly expand the obligation of most employers to provide break time and a location to express breast milk. The new law, just signed into effect by Governor Newsom on October 10, 2019, will become effective January 1, 2020. What do California employers need to know about their new obligations?

A big focus of the #MeToo movement over the last several years has been on efforts to increase the statute of limitations for bringing sexual harassment claims. Governor Newsom just signed into law Assembly Bill 9 (Reyes), which will extend the deadline for filing an employment-related administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by two years. Under existing law, individual employees have one year to file an administrative charge with DFEH (which is an administrative precursor to filing a civil lawsuit in court). AB 9 will extend that administrative filing period to three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. However, while the proposal was couched as a “sexual harassment” bill, it actually extends the statute of limitations for all employment claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), not just sexual harassment claims. 

It’s been a long legislative year. And this being Governor Newsom’s first term in office, many observers have been anxiously awaiting to see what approach he takes when it comes to labor and employment legislation. Now all of the flurry of activity is behind us and hundreds of bills now sit his desk for either a signature or a veto.

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