California Industrial Welfare Commission

Effective January 1, 2016, California employers face a Labor Commissioner with significantly enhanced authority to enforce judgments for unpaid wages under California’s Fair Day’s Pay Act.

The new law seeks to prevent “wage theft” by authorizing the Labor Commissioner to issue stop work orders against employers (and successor employers) who have judgments against them for nonpayment of wages, to issue levies against employers’ bank accounts and accounts receivable, and to place liens against employers’ real and personal property.

The law also imposes criminal and personal liability against certain individuals acting on behalf of an employer, including owners, officers, directors, or managing agents, for various Labor Code violations. The law’s key provisions are highlighted below.


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On October 5, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill confirming that employees in the health care industry can waive one of their two meal periods when working a shift of over eight hours in a workday. This law clarifies confusion caused by a recently decided appellate case, Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, 234 Cal.App.4th 285 (C.A. 4th, 2015) (review granted). The Gerard case is currently under review by the California Supreme Court.
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Employers received a welcome development late last week when the California Supreme Court decided to review the controversial Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (SC S222732/B249546 rev. granted 1/28/15) regarding misclassification of independent contractors. This case is important since it arguably created a different definition of “employee” for determining if an individual is misclassified as an independent contractor with respect to violations of the California Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Orders.  The Court will consider the following issue:
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