Presently, an employee alleging harassment, discrimination, or other claim under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) has one year from the alleged act to file a complaint with the Department of Faith Employment and Housing (“DFEH”). Filing such a complaint is a prerequisite to filing a civil action. The employee can either request that the DFEH immediately issue a Right to Sue Notice, or can opt to have the DFEH investigate the claim, which can take a year or even longer if the parties elect to participate in the DFEH’s mediation program. The employee will receive a Right to Sue Notice at the conclusion of the DFEH’s investigation. The employee then has one year to file a lawsuit.

On October 10, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newson signed AB9, also known as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension (SHARE) Act. The SHARE Act extends the one-year deadline to file a DFEH complaint to three years. Because the employee has one year to file a lawsuit after receiving the Right to Suit Notice, it could be four years or more before the potential lawsuit is filed.

The AB9 extension was purportedly designed to protect #MeToo litigants but extends to all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation prohibited by FEHA. Former Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the same legislation last year, reasoning that the one-year statute of limitations “not only encourages prompt resolution while memories and evidence are fresh, but also ensures that unwelcome behavior is promptly reported and halted.”

AB 9 will not revive claims that already have lapsed under the current one-year rule. It appears that claims that were set to expire in the coming months may have an extended life.

Please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you normally work with any questions.

California employers may face harsh consequences for failing to pay arbitration fees on time under a bill (Senate Bill 707) signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 13, 2019. The new law go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Under the new law, if an employer fails to pay fees required for the commencement or continuation of an arbitration within 30 days of the payment’s due date, the employer’s conduct is deemed a material breach of the arbitration agreement.

Please find the rest of this article on the Jackson Lewis Publications page here.

California has joined a number of states in passing legislation purporting to prohibit mandatory arbitration agreements for sexual harassment and other claims. Such laws have gained popularity in the wake of the #MeToo movement, but are subject to challenge under Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preemption principles.

Under Assembly Bill 51, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 10, 2019, California employers might be prohibited from requiring employees to sign new mandatory arbitration agreements concerning disputes arising under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or California Labor Code — that is, if the FAA does not apply.

Please find the full article on the Jackson Lewis Publications page here.

A new California law, Senate Bill 142 (“SB 142”), effective January 1, 2020, expands on existing Labor Code requirements for employee lactation accommodations and provides significant new consequences to employers for non-compliance.  Under pre-existing law (Cal. Labor Code 1030 et seq.), employers were required to make reasonable efforts to provide a private location, other than a bathroom, in close proximity to the employee’s work area, for employees to express milk in private and to provide reasonable break time to express milk.

SB 142 amends Cal. Labor Code section 1031 to require the following features for private lactation spaces:

  • Must be safe, clean and free of hazardous materials;
  • Contain a surface to place a breast pump and personal items;
  • Contain a place to sit; and
  • Have access to electricity or alternative devices (e.g., extension cords or charging stations) needed to operate a breast pump.

Please find the rest of this article on our Disability, Leave and Health Management blog here.

A new California law requires large insurers to report on the demographics of their governing boards and the amounts they spend with businesses owned by minorities, women, LGBT individuals, veterans, and disabled veterans. Under the new law, Senate Bill 534 (SB 534), reporting will be required on a biennial basis beginning on July 1, 2020.

SB 534 permanently replaces and expands on the required disclosures under a previous law that expired on January 1, 2019.

Please find the rest of this article on the Jackson Lewis publications page here.

Set to take effect January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), considered one of the most expansive U.S. privacy laws to date, places limitations on the collection and sale of a consumer’s personal information and provides consumers certain rights with respect to their personal information.

Organizations should be doing their best to determine if they have CCPA obligations directly as a business, because they control or are controlled by a business, or because they have contractual obligations flowing from a business.

Please find the rest of this article on the Jackson Lewis publications page here.

The California Assembly has passed a bill that would expand the California Family Rights Acts to apply to flight crew employees. Assembly Bill 1748 (AB 1748) has passed through the assembly, and is awaiting the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom.

As the law currently stands, the often atypical work schedules of many flight deck and cabin crew members of air carriers renders them ineligible for protected leave under the California Family Rights Act due to the work hour requirements of CFRA.  The new law will effectively amend California Government Code section 12945.2 to conform to the FMLA service requirement for airline flight employees.

Under this law, flight deck and cabin crew members of air carriers will be eligible for protected leave under the California Family Rights Act so long as they:

  1. They have worked or been paid for not less than 60 percent of the applicable total monthly guarantee or equivalent annualized over the proceeding 12 month period; and
  2. have worked or been paid for not less than 504 hours during the 12 months prior to their leave.

The new law will further authorize California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing to adopt regulations to calculate leave available to flight crew employees under these provisions. We will continue to monitor and provide updates on AB 1748.

With the future of the EEOC’s pay data collection efforts unclear, California’s effort to legislate its own race- and sex-based pay data reporting requirements likewise has stalled, for now.

Since July, California’s Senate Bill 171 (requiring private employers with at least 100 employees to submit an annual report of employee pay data broken down by race, ethnicity, and sex within specified job categories) has stalled.

Please find the rest of this article on our Pay Equity Advisor blog here.

On Wednesday, September 17, 2019, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB 5), limiting when businesses can classify employees as independent contractors.  The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.  For further information, please click this link.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to discuss the bill and to assist employers in determining whether and how their particular business will be affected.

Putting an end to employees’ backdoor attempts to recover unpaid wages in Private Attorneys General Act-only actions under California Labor Code Section 558, the California Supreme Court has ruled against allowing such claims. ZB, N.A., et al. v. Superior Court, No. S246711 (Sept. 12, 2019).

This is surprising, as the Court provided this much-needed guidance on its own in a case where the question originally presented was whether claims for unpaid wages under Section 558 could be compelled to arbitration.

Please find the rest of this article on the Jackson Lewis Publications page here.