Free Webinar: New California Employment Laws Going Into Effect in 2021 (some already have)

As a California business owner or advisor, you may have been juggling the challenges of keeping the business afloat, keeping employees safe, and keeping updated on the new regulations that seem to appear every day.

To help with that last task, this free webinar will address the new California employment laws that recently went into effect and/or will go into effect in 2021.
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CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act” became law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act was passed in an effort to help small businesses continue operations and retain workers as the country meets the challenge of curbing the devastation of COVID-19 and the resulting impact such efforts have had, and will continue to have, on the economy. The CARES Act is an extensive piece of legislation. This post will focus on providing a summary of the main provisions related to the Paycheck Protection Program available to businesses with less than 500 employees. What is the Paycheck Protection Program? The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to administer and work with lenders to provide forgivable loans to small businesses through June 30, 2020, to be used by borrowers for certain permissible purposes related to payroll costs and certain necessary business expenses. Who qualifies for the Paycheck Protection Program? To qualify for the Paycheck Protection Loan, the borrower must be: 1. A businesses with not more than 500 employees; Includes, individuals who … Continue reading

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Employee Arbitration Agreements No Longer OK Under New Law?

Updated 1/3/20: A federal court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the implementation of AB51. That law makes it illegal for employers to make it mandatory for employees to enter into arbitration agreements. A new law in California attacks employee arbitration agreements and prohibits anyone from requiring an applicant for employment or any employee to waive their right to sue for a violation of any provision of the Fair Employment and Housing Act “FEHA” (California’s anti-discrimination laws) as a condition of employment, continued employment, or receipt of any employment-related benefit. These waivers usually exist in an arbitration agreement. Employers also can not retaliate, discriminate against, or terminate someone’s employment for refusing to sign an arbitration agreement. The new law applies to contracts signed after January 1, 2020. However, it specifically does not apply to arbitration agreements that are valid under the Federal Arbitration Act, negotiated severance agreements, or post-dispute settlement agreements. Practical Tip: There will be plenty of litigation on this new law, but until we have the courts’ interpretations of the new prohibitions, what should employers do? 1) If you don’t have an arbitration agreement, or aren’t quite sure what one is, you should still have one. 2) If you have an arbitration agreement, have it reviewed by counsel before you … Continue reading

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AB5 – New Independent Contractor Law

Watch my FREE AB5 WEBINAR on-demand to learn about “AB5 and the ABC Test for independent contractors.” What You Will Learn In this AB5 webinar you will learn about: The new ABC test for independent contractors. Which professions/categories of workers are exempt from the ABC test. How to keep those excepted categories independent contractors. Consequences for misclassifying workers, including individual liability. What you can do to minimize exposure. Did You Get a Letter from the EDD? California companies received a letter from the EDD about AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) and the ABC test in Dynamex v. Superior Court. Many business owners are hearing about the expansion of the new independent contractor test for the first time just days before the law went into for the New Year on January 1, 2020. Are you trying to wrap your head around the new AB5 rules and asking the following questions? Do I have to convert independent contractors to employees? Can I keep independent contractors as contractors? How do I keep independent contractors a contractors? What are the risks of misclassifying independent contractors? Background AB 5 was the big bill to watch this year. … Continue reading

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Race Discrimination Includes Hair Discrimination

The Governor of California approved SB 188, known as the CROWN Act, in July 2019 to amend anti-discrimination laws in the areas of education, employment, and housing. Hair As a Proxy for Race In the employment context, the bill noted that in U.S. society, hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race and that hair today remains a proxy for race. Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group. Thus, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination. California’s Anti-Discrimination Law To review, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is unlawful to engage in specified discriminatory employment practices, including hiring, promotion, and termination based on certain protected characteristics, including race, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification or applicable security regulations. FEHA also prohibits housing discrimination based on specified personal characteristics, including race. … Continue reading

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New Independent Contractor Test: 3 Clarifications from the Court of Appeal

If your business uses independent contractors at all, you have probably heard about Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court and the new “ABC Test” to analyze whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. You were probably worried about whether your independent contractors pass the ABC Test. You are justified in worrying because the new test makes it much more difficult for someone to be classified as an independent contractor. This then opens the door for claims of misclassification, for missed meal break and rest break penalties, and unpaid overtime because that’s what you paid your hourly workers but not your independent contractors. Your business may be sitting on a 5 to 6-figure time bomb.   ABC Test Recap If you have not heard about Dynamex or the ABC Test, or if you need a recap, here it is. Under this new independent contractor test, a worker is properly considered an independent contractor to whom the applicable wage order does not apply if the hiring entity establishes all of the following: (A) that the worker is free … Continue reading

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New California Employment Laws 2019

This is the time of year that Californians, especially California businesses, learn of the slew of new laws that will go into effect in the coming year.  This year is not any different and the new laws are reflective of the social discussions around sexual harassment over the course of the last couple of years. California employers now have a number of laws that will require changes in your documents, training requirements, and how you do business, to name a few.  Below is a list of new laws that I thought were the most interesting and relevant by category, although there is inevitably some overlap. Contracts 1. Employers will be prohibited, with certain exceptions, from requiring an employee to execute a release of a claim or right under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or to sign a nondisparagement agreement or other document that purports to deny the employee the right to disclose information about unlawful acts in the workplace, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment.  This is applicable when the release is provided in exchange for a raise … Continue reading

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Salary History and Equal Pay Laws Clarified

News of the Pay Privacy law prohibiting reliance on an applicant’s salary history in determining employment and pay hit the business world at the end of 2017 and went into effect in January 2018.  Since pay is a large factor in the hiring decision, the new law raised many questions among business owners who are especially concerned about complying with California employment laws.  Some of the common questions related to the salary history requirements and equal pay were: Is it legal to ask an applicant about their desired salary or salary requirement?   Am I liable if an applicant voluntarily gives me their salary history or what they made a their last job?   If an applicant voluntarily discloses their salary history, can I take that information into consideration?   What about a current employee, I already know what they make, so can I take their salary into consideration to determine raises or pay for a new or different position? The conflict between California labor and employment laws and the practical questions that business owners must ask and take into … Continue reading

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New Independent Contractor Test Could be Game Changer

The California Supreme Court recently published an opinion that describes a new independent contractor test that is broader than the current independent contractor test.  The “Borello” multi-factor test has been applied for decades, and this new test makes it harder for businesses to properly classify a worker as an independent contractor. This opinion will affect many businesses that hire independent contractors within the State of California. The main take away from this opinion, Dynamex Operations W. v. Super. Ct., Cal. is this: There is a new independent contractor test for purposes of the obligations imposed by a wage order. Here is a breakdown to help understand the preceding statement: What are wage orders? In California, employment laws are spelled out in different places, including statutes, case law, and wage orders. This case specifically addresses the obligations that are imposed on employers by the wage orders that apply to different industries. These wage orders address issues such as the payment of wages (minimum wage), regulating meal and rest breaks, and the number of hours worked (overtime pay), for example. Since these wage … Continue reading

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Tip Pools – Law Changes (Again)

Two years ago, the Ninth Circuit held that employers may not share tips from tip pools to back of the house staff who aren’t in the “chain of service.”  Last month, this rule was revised by federal law.  This means that California employers in the restaurant, hotel, and other service industries where tips are common place, may now distribute tips to those who were previously excluded, such as cooks and dishwashers.  This is a welcome change that many of my clients who own restaurants and hotels believe is the fairer rule. Below is a recap on what this means for California employers: Tip pooling policies may now provide that back of the house employees can share in  tip pools. This means that tip pooling policies may now require tip pools to be distributed not only to bussers but also to cooks and dishwashers, for example.  This practice was prohibited in the last 2 years. Certain employees are still prohibited from being paid from tip pools. Owners, managers, or supervisors of the business may not share in tip pools.  Employers should … Continue reading

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