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California Workplace Law Blog

Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory as Heat Wave Arrives in Southern California

Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the risk of heat illness, as temperatures in parts of Southern California climb into the upper 90s today and will continue to rise through the weekend and into early next week.

“California’s heat illness standards are the strongest in the country, and we will continue to work with both labor and management to ensure that workers stay well on the job,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, is a division within the DIR.

“Heat illness can easily be prevented,” said Acting Chief of Cal/OSHA Juliann Sum. “It is essential that employers with outdoor workers adopt a comprehensive approach that protects against a variety of risk factors.”

California’s heat regulation requires all employers with outdoor workers take basic steps to protect outdoor workers:

  •  Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention, including “acclimatization” to get used to the heat.
  • Provide plenty of cool, fresh water and encourage employees to drink water frequently.
  • Provide a shaded area for workers to take a cool down recovery break.
  • Prepare an emergency heat illness prevention plan for the worksite, with training for supervisors and workers on the steps to take if a worker shows signs or symptoms of heat illness.

Special “High Heat” procedures are also required when temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees for construction, landscaping, agricultural, oil and gas extraction, and transportation outdoor worksites. At these times, supervisors must take extra precautions:

  • Observe workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • Remind workers to drink water frequently.
  • Provide close supervision of workers in the first 14 days of their employment (to ensure acclimatization).
  • Have effective communication systems in place to be able to summon emergency assistance if necessary.

Employers are reminded to check the National Weather Service for your local forecast.

Cal/OSHA will inspect worksites in outdoor industries such as agriculture, construction, landscaping, and others throughout the heat season. Through partnerships with various employer and worker organizations in different industries, Cal/OSHA will also provide consultation, outreach and training on heat illness prevention.

Information on the heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on the Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness web page and Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site.  Additional resources include the Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention e-tool.

Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Program provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. For assistance from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Program, employers can call (800) 963-9424.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints, including heat illness, can contact the Cal/OSHA district office in their region to file a confidential report. Recorded messages in English and Spanish detailing resources for California workers are also available toll free at 1-866-924-9757.

California Enacts Paid Sick Leave Law

With the enactment of the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB1522), California has become the second state in the nation, after Connecticut, to mandate employers provide their employees, including part-time and temporary workers, paid sick leave.

The Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 10, 2014, requires that  employers, public or private and regardless of size, permit employees to accrue paid sick time at the rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee is entitled to accrue sick leave if the individual works, in California, for at least 30 days within a year from the commencement of employment starting July 1, 2015. An employer is permitted to limit an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days in each year. Any accrued, unused sick leave beyond the 24 hours or any unused, accrued sick leave must carry over from year to year. Employees can use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.

To continue reading the full article on the Jackson Lewis web site, click here.

Jackson Lewis Listed to California Lawyer’s 2014 California 50 List

National workplace law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. has joined California Lawyer‘s 2014 California 50 List.

The list is comprised of the Golden State’s largest law firms.  In addition to being included, Jackson Lewis was highlighted for having the highest percentage of female partners of any of the 50 firms listed.

For more information on the list, click here.

California High Court Rules that Franchisors are Not Liable for Workplace Injuries Inflicted By Franchisees’ Employees

In a recent opinion with important implications for California businesses, the California Supreme Court held that franchisors are not vicariously liable for the conduct of employees managed by its franchisees.

In Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, et al., the plaintiff, a service employee at a Southern California Domino’s Pizza franchise, alleged that she had been sexually harassed by her supervisor, the store’s Assistant Manager.  She asserted claims against the alleged harasser, the franchisee, and Domino’s Pizza, the franchisor, alleging that, although she (and the alleged harasser) formally were employed by the franchisee, the franchisor was vicariously liable for her injuries.  More specifically, she argued that because the franchisor exercised extensive control over the franchisee’s operations, the franchisee was an “agent” of the franchisor and the franchisor was an “employer” of the franchisee’s employees, subjecting the franchisor to liability for injuries arising out of the employees’ performance of their job duties.  Continue Reading

California Broadens Immigration-Related Retaliation Protections

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law AB 2751, a “clean up” bill that expands the bases and remedies for immigrant-related retaliation, and clarifies the penalty and employee information provisions of AB 263 and SB 666.

AB 263 and SB 666 were enacted last year to protect immigrant workers against unlawful retaliation. These two bills have since operated in conjunction to prohibit employers from engaging in various “immigration-related practices” against employees who had exercised certain rights protected under state labor and employment laws. These “unfair immigration-related practices” included threatening to file or filing a false police report or threatening to contact or contacting immigration authorities in retaliation for some protected activity engaged in by the employee (e.g., filing a workplace complaint). Continue Reading

Sacramento Shareholder David S. Bradshaw Listed in the Sacramento Business Journal’s Best of the Bar 2014

National workplace law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. congratulates Sacramento Office Managing Shareholder David S. Bradshaw for being listed in Sacramento Business Journal‘s Best of the Bar 2014.

The journal designates local attorneys who are nominated by their peers and vetted by a panel of attorneys and serves as a resource for companies and individuals looking to hire an attorney in the Sacramento area.

For more information on the list, click here (subscription required).

California Court of Appeal Holds That Retired Employees Can Also Subject Employers to Waiting Time Penalties

On August 19, 2014, a California Court of Appeal held that the requirements of Labor Code sections 202 and 203 apply not only to employees who quit, but also to employees who retire.  In McLean v. State of California et al., No. C074515 (Cal. Aug. 19, 2014), the plaintiff filed a putative class action lawsuit on behalf of all employees employed by the State of California who retired from their employment between November 2010 and March 2011, who did not receive prompt payment of wages as required by Labor Code section 202.  Among other things, the putative class sought waiting time penalties under Labor Code section 203.  At the trial level, the defendants’ demurrer was sustained without leave to amend because the plain text of Labor Code section 202 requires prompt payment of wages owed only for employees who “quit his or her employment.”  Because the putative class sought penalties for retired employees, the trial court determined that the employer could not have violated Labor Code section 202.  Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal reversed and found that the term “quit” in Labor Code section 202 also encompasses retired employees. Continue Reading

Labor Code Sections 203 and 1190.2 Amended

The California Legislature has returned from its summer recess, with a fairly large number of employment bills to consider before the August 31st deadline.  Although the majority of bills introduced in 2014 remain pending, the Legislature hit the ground running passing several bills on to California Governor Jerry Brown who has either vetoed or signed them into law.

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Cal OSH Board Proposes Revisions to Heat Prevention Regulations

On August 8, 2014, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Cal OSH Board”) proposed revisions to its Heat Prevention Regulations at Title 8, Section 3395 (“Section 3395”).   According to the Cal OSH Board, the revisions are aimed at improving worker safety in all outdoor places of employment and reducing the incidence of heat illness.  Although the proposed revisions have not yet been adopted, outdoor employers should closely watch the Board’s upcoming actions because the revisions may require them to invest significant resources to change their programs, training, and approach to the prevention of heat illness.

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Proposed Amendment to Labor Code: Three-Year Statute of Limitations on Liquidated Damages Claim for Failure to Pay Minimum Wage

Last week, California’s legislature submitted a bill for the Governor’s approval, Assembly Bill 2074, which would amend Labor Code section 1194.2 dealing with the provision of liquidated damages arising out of an employer’s failure to pay minimum wage.

Employees who believe their employer did not pay them all of their wages may bring a civil lawsuit seeking several forms of damages, including liquidated damages for failing to pay minimum wage.  Liquidated damages under Labor Code section 1194.2(a) are comprised of “an amount equal to the wages unlawfully unpaid and interest thereon” (i.e., on top of the unpaid wages and penalties, employees may obtain another set of damages equivalent to the unpaid wages plus interest).

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