Several new laws in California impact employers in a multitude of operational areas. From leave regulations to workers’ compensation, safety enforcement, wages and more, business leaders have much to research when it comes to compliance. All employers with operations in California should be aware of these new laws, understand how these laws may affect their operations and consult with counsel to address any questions on these new obligations.
On August 19, the Ninth Circuit delivered the latest guidance in the long-running debate over the Federal Arbitration Act’s (FAA) scope. It held that Amazon delivery drivers can move forward with a nationwide class action — in court, not arbitration — because they fall within the FAA’s transportation worker exemption.
The case, Bernadean Rittmann v. Amazon.com, Inc., et al, Case No. 19-35381, dealt with a “last mile” delivery driver through Amazon’s app-based delivery program, Amazon Flex (AmFlex), who occasionally crossed state lines, but completed most deliveries intrastate. Upon starting work, the driver signed an agreement requiring him to bring claims against Amazon in arbitration.
On June 23, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a “Back to Work” Emergency Ordinance guaranteeing reemployment to certain employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance requires covered employers to provide written notice when layoffs occur while also prohibiting discrimination against, and requiring reasonable accommodations for, employees who experience a family care hardship.
As many have now completed several weeks of teleworking, we are acclimating to our new “normal.” While remote working may have seemed like a “dream job” with flexible schedules, casual (sometimes very casual) attire and more efficiency, we have also experienced many unexpected challenges.
Shutdown orders have triggered school closures, limited (if any) travel and nonessential business closures. As a result, the remote working situation has forced many of us to balance work, personal and emotional commitments. Parents and caregivers face stressful situations as they support their children with virtual learning, family members search for ways to support older relatives who may be more vulnerable and everyone seeks answers for the uncertainty we face.
Employees must be paid for time spent waiting for, and undergoing, searches of their bags, packages and personal technology devices, the California Supreme Court ruled February 13, 2020, in Amanda Frlekin, et al. v Apple, Inc., Case No. S243805, answering a question posed to it by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a case involving Apple. This decision marks a signature departure from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, under which time spent undergoing mandatory security screenings is not compensable, the U.S. Supreme Court previously held in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 574 U.S. 27 (2014). This is yet another example of the greater protection that California state laws typically offer employees.