Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

We are proud to announce the release of our latest Quarterly Newsletter, which may be found here.

This quarterly covers topics including:

  • Anticipated changes in labor law under the Biden Administration,
  • The latest Assembly and Senate Bills for California,
  • Minimum Wage updates, and
  • Classification of independent contractors.

Our newsletter summarizes key developments in the employment law arena on a quarterly basis, with a focus on how these developments may impact the hospitality industry and your operations. As you may have noticed, the legal landscape changes on a far more frequent basis than four times a year. So, when a particularly significant development occurs, we immediately publish a “Legal Alert” and make it available to each of our clients and subscribers. If you would like to stay abreast of legal developments in real-time, and receive our legal updates in a more timely fashion, we invite you to follow us on Instagram @stokeswagner.

THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.

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Return-To-Work Protocols

March 15, 2021  •  Christina Tantoy

Category: Legal Updates

For several months, employees who were exposed to or in “close contact” with a COVID-19 case were required to quarantine/isolate from the workplace for 14 days. As the vaccine’s availability increases and more workers become fully vaccinated, guidance relating to these quarantine/isolation protocols will loosen.

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The U.S. Department of Labor has delayed for at least 60 days implementation of changes to the tip credit rules that would have taken effect on March 1. This delay cites the January 20, 2021, memorandum “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” which directed the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies to consider delaying the effective dates of all regulations that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect.

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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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