Post-COVID or Long-COVID As a Disability

What is Post-COVID condition? According to the CDC, although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Even people who did not have COVID-19 symptoms in the days or weeks after they were infected can have post-COVID conditions.  This prolonged after-effects of COVID may have different names such as long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, long-term effects of COVID, or chronic COVID. Regardless of the name, the effect is the same; that is, for some people the road to recovery from COVID-19 will take longer than the anticipated 2 weeks.  Some of the reported symptoms include: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath Tiredness or fatigue Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”) Cough Chest or stomach pain Headache Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations) Joint or muscle pain … Continue reading

In: California Leave Law, Employment Law, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

California Supreme Court Clarifies Proper Way to Pay Meal Period and Rest Break Premiums

The California Supreme Court, in the case of Jessica Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC recently clarified the correct way to calculate meal period and rest break premium pay . . . and it’s not how most California businesses were calculating it.  What are Meal Period and Rest Break Premiums? California Labor Code Section 226.7 requires employers to pay employees “one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday” that an employee was not provided with a meal or rest period.  Unfortunately, many employers are not aware of this requirement to pay a meal and rest period premium if employees are not able to take their meal breaks and rest breaks. Before we discuss the correct way to pay the premiums, let’s review the basic meal and rest break rules in California. What are the Rest Break Rules in California? In California, the Wage Orders require employers to authorize and permit non-exempt employees to take a 10-minute, uninterrupted, rest period for each four-hour work period or major fraction thereof. The Division of Labor Standards … Continue reading

In: California Civil Litigation, Employment Law, New Laws, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Employee Pay: On-Call Shifts and Reporting Time Pay

Putting employees on-call or requiring them to call in before shifts could raise employee pay issues.  Businesses that experience fluctuations in foot traffic, calls, or demand, face the difficulty of predicting employee schedules. Since needs change quickly, it could be difficult to anticipate how many employees the business needs on any given day or part of the day. Many businesses choose to address this difficulty by scheduling employees for on-call shifts to ensure that there are workers on stand-by who are ready to step in on short notice if the need arises.  Depending on your business’s particular rules and practices related to these on-call shifts, you may have employee pay violations if on-call employees are not paid “reporting time” pay. A California Court of Appeal in the case of Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., addressed the question of what it means to “report to work” for purposes of determining whether the employee is owed “reporting time pay” under the wage order (Wage Order 7 that governs the mercantile industry in this case). In that case, Tilly’s scheduled its employees for a … 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 consideration in order … 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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New Law 2018 –Immigration Enforcement

Immigration was a hot topic this year and starting January 1, 2018, employers will see increased obligations as they relate to employees’ immigration status.  Earlier this month, Governor Brown signed AB 450 into law. Beginning January 1, 2018, employers will have the following obligations as they relate to immigration enforcement agents and the workplace: 1. No access without a warrant: Employers, and others acting on their behalf, may not voluntarily consent to immigration enforcement agents entering nonpublic areas of a place of labor without a warrant. For example, if you own a restaurant, immigration enforcement agents are free to enter the dining room but may not enter the kitchen or back office without a warrant permitting them to do so. Penalties for violating this requirement are $2,000 to $5,000 for the first violating incident and $5,000 to $10,000 for each subsequent violation. 2. No inspection of records without warrant or subpoena: Employers, and others acting on their behalf, may not voluntarily provide immigration enforcement agents the ability to access, review, or obtain the employer’s employee records without a subpoena or … Continue reading

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What is Wrongful Termination?

Employment is At-Will with Exceptions The vast majority of employers and workers in California have heard the term “at-will” employment.  Employers often interpret at-will employment to mean that employees could be terminated at the employer’s will.  Workers often interpret it to mean it that employers may not terminate an employee without a reason or notice or for unfair reasons. The legal standards are somewhere in the middle. In California, “at-will” employment means that an employer may terminate the employment relationship for any reason or for no reason at all.  On the flip side, employees may also quit for any reason or for no reason at all with or without notice.  However, on the employer side, there are certain restrictions or exceptions to the “for any reason or for no reason at all.”  That is, employers may not terminate (or make conditions such that an employee has no other choice but to quit) for a wrongful reason.  In other words, employers may terminate the relationship so long as the reason for the termination is not discriminatory, in breach of a contractual … Continue reading

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Equal Pay Day

April 4, 2017, is “Equal Pay Day,” which is an apt time to remind employers of the risks that lurk beneath unexamined practices, subconscious biases, and general human fallibility. By the numbers: 20% = average wage gap between men and women in the United States. (Institute for Women’s Policy Research) 58% = companies that track salaries in comparable roles by gender. (LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company) I’m surprised the number is that high because I have yet to come across a company that conducted a pay audit by gender before coming to me. 1,075 = charges filed with the EEOC under the federal Equal Pay Act in 2016. (EEOC) $8.1 Million = benefits paid out as a result of charges for Equal Pay Act violations with the EEOC in 2016. (EEOC) Why are we still talking about pay gaps in 2017? Fortune.com provides a short outline of why the gender pay gap still exists, citing the “motherhood penalty;” deficits in negotiation; and employer bias. Our company doesn’t engage in pay discrimination. If you have done a pay audit and can … Continue reading

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Job Application Questions – Arrest and Criminal Records

I’ve received a number of calls from colleagues who are California criminal defense attorneys whose clients have run into employment problems because of their criminal arrest records. As an employer do you know what job application questions you can and can’t ask when it comes to arrests and criminal records? California Labor Code section 432.7 makes it illegal for any employer to request job applications to disclose, or considering as a factor in determining any condition of employment, information concerning: An arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction; Referral to, or participation in, a pretrial or posttrial diversion program; Conviction that has been expunged, sealed or dismissed; Marijuana possession convictions two or more years old; or Misdemeanor convictions for which probation was completed or otherwise discharged and the case has been dismissed. Employers may ask an employee or applicant for information about arrests for which the employee or applicant is out on bail or on his own recognizance pending trial. There are additional exceptions for a health facility employer to ask applicants who will work with patients … Continue reading

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