Summary of Key New California Laws for 2020 (and Beyond): What Employers Should Know

In his first year in office, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed several laws impacting California employers. A summary of some of the key new laws follows. The effective date of the particular new law is indicated in the heading of the Assembly Bill (AB) or Senate Bill (SB).1 The list below is in numerical order by AB or SB.

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No More “No Rehire” Clauses in California Settlement Agreements

In most jurisdictions, it is standard practice to include a “no-rehire” clause when negotiating a settlement agreement in an employment dispute.  “No-rehire” clauses bar the departing employee from seeking future employment with the employer or one of the employer’s related entities.  If the former employee applies for a job with the employer or a related entity, the “no-rehire” clause allows the employer to reject the former employee’s application or require the former employee to withdraw the application for employment.  In some instances, if the former employee is hired inadvertently, the “no-rehire” clause provides the employer a legitimate nondiscriminatory basis to rescind the offer.  Although the use of “no-rehire” clauses is a common practice, California recently prohibited the practice and joined Vermont, which banned “no-rehire” provisions in 2018.

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DOL Final Overtime Rule Takes Effect January 1, 2020

On September 24, 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a revised Final Overtime Rule increasing the minimum salary threshold for overtime exemption to $35,568. The Final Overtime Rule takes effect on January 1, 2020.

The DOL’s Final Overtime Rule increases the weekly salary threshold for minimum wage and overtime exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from $455 to $684 (an increase in the annual minimum salary from $23,600 to $35,568). The Final Overtime Rule also increases the minimum annual exemption salary threshold for highly compensated employees (HCEs) from $100,000 to $107,432.

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Do You Have Independent Contractors in California?

If so, you should be on alert about California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), a bill based on the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex v. Superior Court.* If it becomes law, AB5 will have wide-ranging repercussions for companies that rely on independent contractors in California.

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Landmark Chicago “Fair Workweek” Ordinance Entitles Employees to Pay for Schedule Changes and Lost Work Hours

On July 23, 2019, the Chicago City Council passed the controversial Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance (the Ordinance). Once Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a vocal proponent of the Ordinance, signs it into law, the Ordinance is scheduled to take effect for the majority of covered employers on July 1, 2020.

The Chicago Ordinance covers:
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New Jersey Expands Employment Protections to Medical Marijuana Users

New Jersey recently joined a growing number of states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma and Rhode Island, that afford certain job protections to employees and applicants who use medical marijuana.

On July 2, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law, which significantly amended and expanded the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, N.J.S.A. 24:61-2 et seq.

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