Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom approved Assembly Bill 685, which imposes enhanced notice and recordkeeping obligations on employers and expands Cal/OSHA’s enforcement powers. These provisions are set to expire January 1, 2023.

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On September 30, 2020, California enacted SB 973, which requires large private employers to report specific pay data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) by March 31, 2021, and annually thereafter. SB 973 is designed to identify hidden yet persistent racial and gender pay gaps that can result from unconscious biases or historical inequities. The rule allows for effective enforcement of equal pay or anti-discrimination laws. As of February 16, 2021, employers can now submit their 2020 pay data at the Pay Reporting Portal.

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As the coronavirus vaccine becomes more widely available over the next few months, many employers grapple with the question of whether to mandate the vaccine. Following EEOC guidelines, some employers plan to require it as a condition to returning to the workplace (i.e., nursing homes). In contrast, others prefer to “encourage” vaccinations, leaving the ultimate decision to employees. In an effort to minimize health risks and provide peace of mind to employees returning to the workplace, some employers are asking whether they can offer incentives to encourage employees who get the vaccine.

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As part of his State of the State address on January 11, 2021, Governor Cuomo announced changes in the calculation of unemployment benefits for part-time workers in New York.

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The Department of Labor has issued new tipping regulations, to take effect on March 1, that make a few significant changes, some of which may be advantageous to hospitality employers.

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On Thursday, the California Supreme Court ruled that California’s “ABC” test for determining independent contractor status applies retroactively. As a result, employers may be held to a standard not even in effect at the time they made worker classification decisions. The Supreme Court in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. delivered a long-awaited opinion finding that the “ABC test” for independent contractor classification, adopted in its 2018 Dynamex decision, applies retroactively to all pending cases that arose before April 30, 2018. This new ruling will weigh heavily in currently pending misclassification lawsuits where the employer applied pre-Dynamex classification standards.

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After much confusion sparked by a press release from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health earlier this week, LACDPH just issued its second Revised Temporary Targeted Safer at Home Health Officer Order in less than 24 hours.

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On December 16, 2020, the EEOC updated its COVID-19 guidance to include guidelines pertaining to mandatory vaccinations in the workplace. The EEOC stated that the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination is not a “medical examination” under the ADA, and thus private employers may require employees to be vaccinated as a condition to continued employment, or, at the very least, as a condition to returning to the workplace.

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California recently adopted stringent COVID-19 workplace standards, known as the “Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations”, that immediately went into effect on November 30, 2020.

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2020 forced millions of employers to adapt their business models to allow employees to work from home and it looks as if this trend will continue indefinitely for many employers. With this in mind, employers should be aware of certain unintended consequences of having a workforce that telecommutes, namely the creation of additional repositories of electronic data that may be discoverable later in litigation. Given that this is the new normal, businesses should take this opportunity to review and update their data retention and litigation hold policies to ensure that they are meeting their obligations and setting themselves up to be successful should this data be needed in the future. Here are four simple steps you can take now to update your protocols.

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