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>>
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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.
Immediate Amendments to California’s New Sick Leave Law
Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 304 on Monday July 13, 2015, amending the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. The Amendment went into effect immediately and changes key provisions of the law regarding calculation of the rate of pay, method of accrual of paid leave, and recordkeeping.
California’s new sick leave law went into full effect on July 1, 2015, requiring employers to provide three days of annual paid sick leave to virtually all employees. But the law left many questions unanswered regarding exactly how to implement the new requirements, particularly for exempt employees and for employers with existing paid time off policies. More>>
New “Quickie” NLRB Election Regulations on Union Representation Go Into Effect April 14, 2015
On March 31, 2015, President Obama vetoed a congressional resolution which sought to overturn new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules, calling for expedited elections as to whether an employer’s employees will be represented by a labor union. Congress had criticized the new NLRB rules as creating “ambush” elections which do not give the employer sufficient time to communicate its message and educate employees about the disadvantages of union representation.
The new NLRB election rules will now go into effect on April 14, 2015. The new rules will shorten the time between the filing of an election petition by a union seeking to represent an employer’s employees and the election date. More>>
California’s New Sick Leave Law Mandates Notice Using State Form Starting January 1st
California’s new sick leave law will require employers to provide three days of annual paid sick leave to virtually all employees beginning on July 1, 2015. However, the new law actually takes effect January 1, 2015, and imposes two immediate requirements upon employers:
Posting Requirement: By January 1, 2015, employers must post the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) poster regarding paid sick leave. The poster can be found here, and printed on standard letter-sized printer paper. If your company uses “all in one” labor compliance posters, be sure to confirm with your provider of such posters that the 2015 version includes the new DLSE sick leave notice. More>>
New California Law Requires Training to Prevent Workplace Bullying
California employers will soon be required to train supervisory employees on the subject of workplace bullying. On September 9, 2014, Governor Brown approved a bill that requires employers to add this subject to the biennial anti-harassment training they are already required to provide to supervisory employees.
Currently, California employers with 50 or more employees must provide training to all supervisory employees every two years regarding prevention of sexual and other unlawful harassment, and prevention of unlawful discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Starting January 1, 2015, the training will also have to address the prevention of “abusive conduct.”
At first blush, employers might not view the addition of such training as particularly significant. More>>
Employers Must Provide Three Days of Paid Sick Leave Each Year, Starting July 1, 2015
Beginning July 1, 2015, a new law will require California employers to provide virtually all of their employees with at least three days of annual paid sick leave. Signed by Governor Brown on September 3, 2014, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 is very broad, applying to both exempt and non-exempt employees who work in California for 30 days or more each year. Covered employees will accrue sick time at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
Employers may limit an employee’s use of sick time to 24 hours per year, but accrued sick time carries over to the following year of employment. More>>
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>>