Employer Beware: New California Employment Laws for 2022

*Originally published by CalCPA in the January/February 2022 issue of California CPA.

To borrow from both the Grateful Dead and Miley Cyrus, “… what a long, strange trip it’s been …” and “there’s always gonna be another mountain … ain’t about what’s on the other side, it’s the climb.” Among the lasting 2021 impacts of politics, aberrant weather and wildfires—and COVID-19— is increased regulation of California employers. More than 330 bills introduced in the most recent California legislative session mention “employer,” compared to about 560 bills in 2020. While most bills did not pass the Legislature, many were signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, bringing more rules and risks for employers in our state dealing with COVID-19, workplace safety, wage and hour rules, worker classification, working conditions, leaves of absence, posters, Department of Fair Employment and Housing matters, settlements and nondisparagement agreements, and wage rates.

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State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q4 2021

The fourth quarter of 2021 continued the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this post provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments related to issues such as minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)

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An Employee Whose Individual Claims Are Time-Barred Can Still Pursue a PAGA Action

On July 21, 2021, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, held in Johnson v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., that an aggrieved employee whose individual claim was time-barred had standing to pursue a representative claim under the Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA) on behalf of other allegedly aggrieved employees. The court’s decision was based on its interpretation of the California Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Kim v. Reins, wherein the high court held an aggrieved employee who settled his individual claims nonetheless had standing to maintain a representative PAGA action. This decision is poised to have a significant impact on all employers in California by expanding the scope of individuals with standing to bring a PAGA action.

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Employer Beware: New California Employment Laws for 2021

Among the lasting 2020 impacts of fires, politics and COVID-19, is increased regulation of California employers. More than 563 bills introduced in the last California legislative session mention “employer,” compared to about 300 bills in 2019. While most bills stalled in the Legislature, many were signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, bringing more rules and risks for employers in our state, dealing with workplace safety; sick leave; workers’ compensation; diversity and discrimination; worker classification and wages; privacy; employee leaves; and settlements.

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Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc.: Opening the Door to Non-Compete Agreements Between Businesses in California

In a recent decision, Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc.,[1] the Supreme Court of California opened the door for some restrictive covenants between commercial enterprises, but it left alone California law generally prohibiting post-employment restrictive covenants with employees.
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New California Laws for 2021: What Employers Should Know

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.

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