Labor Law Update: Your Labor of Love

*Originally published by CalCPA in the January/February 2020 issue of California CPA.

More than 300 bills introduced in the 2019 California Legislative session mention “employer,” compared to 589 bills in 2018. While most bills bogged down or died in the Legislature, many of the bills—which likely would have been vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown—were signed into law by first-term Gov. Gavin Newsom, ushering in a new wave of more regulation of employers in the Golden State.

The following are essential elements of many key state Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) that became law Jan. 1 (unless otherwise noted) and affect private employers.

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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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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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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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Supreme Court Gives Employers Another Tool to Fend Off Class Actions

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an arbitration agreement cannot be read as permitting class arbitration unless the agreement clearly and explicitly so provides; it is not enough that the agreement is susceptible to the interpretation that it permits class arbitration. This holding gives employers another tool to fend off class actions and compel alleged class claims to individual arbitration.

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Arbitration Provisions: Applicable to Independent Contractors or Not?

A group of security workers for the National Football League urged Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. of the Southern District of New York to deny the NFL’s motion to arbitrate the group’s claims, arguing they never agreed to arbitrate statutory employment rights with the league. In Foran, et al. v. National Football League, et al., the group of security workers sued the NFL in November 2018 for unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), among other claims, alleging the NFL misclassified them as independent contractors. The NFL moved to compel arbitration arguing the security workers’ claims are covered by the arbitration provision in their independent contractor agreements. The plaintiffs, in opposition, contend that unless the arbitration provision specifically includes a waiver of statutory claims under the FLSA, the NFL cannot compel arbitration of the claims. The motion remains pending before Judge Carter.

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