Governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation approving the California Secure Choice Retirement Program (S.B. 1234) (“Secure Choice”), which provides access to retirement savings accounts (“Secure Choice Accounts”) established and maintained by the state of California for the estimated 7.5 million employees in California that currently do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Employees are automatically enrolled in Secure Choice unless they opt out. Employees enrolled in Secure Choice automatically contribute 3 percent of their annual salary or wages to their Secure Choice Accounts, unless they specify a different contribution rate or opt out. Private employers that do not offer employer-sponsored plans are required to enable their employees to make these contributions to their Secure Choice Accounts directly from their paycheck. More>>
New Retirement Plan Requirements for Certain California Employers
Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Class Action Waiver in Arbitration Agreement
On August 22, 2016 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP ruled that class action waivers in arbitration agreements required by employers as a condition of employment are illegal and unenforceable, because they violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The opinion was a split 2-1 decision with a strong dissent by Judge Ikuta, who noted that three other Federal Courts of Appeal have decided that class action waivers in employer promulgated arbitration agreements are valid and enforceable and that several recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have favored individual rather than class-based arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. More>>
City of Los Angeles Doubles Paid Sick Leave Entitlement Effective July 1, 2016
Mayor Eric Garcetti approved Los Angeles’ new sick leave entitlement ordinance on June 2, 2016. The Ordinance will provide employees who work in the City of Los Angeles at least 2 hours per week with the ability to accrue and use up to 48 hours of sick leave per year, twice the amount provided by state law. Enacted as an urgency matter, the new sick leave obligations become effective for employers on July 1, 2016.
Many of the requirements of the Ordinance track California’s existing sick leave law, but the following changes are unique to Los Angeles:
- The Ordinance doubles the amount of sick leave for all employees, regardless of the size of the employer, and requires that employees be permitted to use up to 48 hours of accrued sick leave each year.
Good News For Employers Looking To Avoid Class Actions
June 23, 2014
Today, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, regarding the enforceability of class-action waivers in arbitration agreements. The Court finally acknowledged precedent from the United States Supreme Court and held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts any state law that would preclude an employee from waiving the right to bring a class-action proceeding in arbitration. As a result, employers can require employees to individually arbitrate any claims that are typically asserted on a class-wide basis, such as relief for alleged wage and hour violations. The Court also rejected the argument that the type of class-action waiver at issue in Iskanian was unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act because that statute’s general protection of concerted activity does not bar class-action waivers. More>>
Keep Your Company Up To Date
By: Thomas F. Reed & Whitney B. Kringel
Within the ever-changing employee benefits landscape, there have been several important employee benefit developments recently meriting special attention.
First, in January of 2013 new Regulations were published overhauling the HIPAA Privacy Rules. Among other things, the new rules apply certain parts of the privacy rules to business associates, expand individuals’ rights to access their protected information and requires revisions of business associates’ agreements, privacy notices and privacy policies.
Employers and health funds need to, at a minimum, (i) review their policies and procedures, (ii) re-document their business associate agreements and (iii) review and republish their privacy notices. More>>
New Minimum Wage Bill Signed Into Law
Good News For Employers On Class Action Waivers
Piece-rate Employees Must Receive An Hourly Minimum Wage
New Form I-9 Is Mandatory Starting May 7, 2013
Even If Motivated By Discrimination, Employer Not Liable For Damages If It Can Prove It Would Have Terminated Employee Anyway
What happens when an employer terminates an employee based on a “mix of discriminatory and legitimate reasons”? The California Supreme Court answered that question last week in Harris v. City of Santa Monica. It held that when unlawful discrimination is a substantial factor motivating the termination, the employer is not liable for damages if it can prove that it would have made the same decision absent such discrimination.That doesn’t mean employers get off scot free, however. The Court still held that an employer is subject to declaratory or injunctive relief to stop its discriminatory practices. Also, a plaintiff-employee may recover attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party. More>>