California’s unfriendly business environment took another unprecedented step this week, with Governor Jerry Brown raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2022.  Governor Brown signed SB 3 into law on April 4, 2016. 

The new law annually increases the state minimum wage starting January 2017.  California’s minimum wage currently is $10.00 per hour.  California employers opposed the bill arguing the minimum wage increases will make it even more difficult for in-state producers to compete with out-of-state employers; employer advocacy groups also argued the bill will result in more employers leaving the state. 
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The California Court of Appeal ruled that an automobile dealership that translated a sales contract into Spanish, but neglected to include the arbitration clause in the translated agreement, could not enforce the arbitration agreement. Ramos v. Westlake Services, LLC, A141353. Although the case involved a commercial transaction, it has important implications for employers who use arbitration agreements with employees whose primary language is other than English.
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On October 6, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 358 (“SB 358”), a law that substantially eases California employees’ burden in proving gender-based pay claims. This law also increases the number of years that employers must retain employee records, and creates additional protections for employees who wish to discuss or disclose their wages.
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An arbitration clause in a consumer agreement was enforceable, including the class action waiver, despite four supposedly one-sided arbitration provisions in the agreement, the California Supreme Court has held. Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC, No. S199119 (Aug. 3, 2015). The much-anticipated decision has significant implications for arbitration agreements between employers and employees.
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