Benefits & Compensation

Join us at 3:00 pm Thursday, January 24 for our California Employment & Compensation Update in our new Los Angeles office. A range of topics will be covered during our program which will begin with a panel discussion addressing emerging trends in advancing corporate Diversity & Inclusion goals, followed by your choice of updates on

If you have employee headcount in Canada, be sure to catch up on the top 10 developments from 2018 . . . 

  1. Legalization of recreational marijuana. Across Canada, the legalization of recreational cannabis has had a significant impact on employers, requiring them to implement changes to their workplace policies and procedures. The legalization of recreational

With thanks to Barbara Klementz for authoring this post.

Gender pay gap and pay equity are big discussion topics for companies around the world as more and more countries enact laws intended to close the gender pay gap and as case law develops involving discrimination claims related to pay equity. Beyond strictly legal obligations, many companies also face shareholder and employee pressure for increased transparency around diversity and gender pay.


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2018 was, without a doubt, another extraordinary year for US employers. The #MeToo movement continues to have a tremendous impact on the workplace. In addition, the thorny issue of how to manage contractor classifications in the gig economy continued to evolve and new DOJ enforcement activity is heightening concerns about no-poaching agreements and other antitrust

Not yet! 

At most, it is no longer valid in the Northern District of Texas. On December 14, 2018, a federal District Judge in Fort Worth, Texas, ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA or Obamacare) “Individual Mandate,” requiring individual taxpayers to either purchase health plan coverage containing minimum essential benefits or pay a penalty tax, was unconstitutional and invalid.

On December 30, 2018, Judge Reed O’Connor issued a stay “because many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty” during an appeal. His ruling granted the intervenor states’ request for: 1) final judgment based on his December 14 decision; and 2) a stay of that judgment. The December 30 ruling allows for an immediate appeal to the Fifth Circuit. It also means the ACA will remain in effect during the course of the appeal.


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For many companies, their compensation plan year coincides with the calendar year. So, as we approach the end of 2018, it’s a holly, jolly time to review, revise and plan for implementation of commission and bonus compensation plans for 2019. (And, for those companies on non-calendar year comp cycles, it’s a good time to start on that New Year’s resolution and get ahead.)

We are decking the halls with requests for commission and bonus compensation plan reviews to make it before the ball drops on December 31.


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This month the California Supreme Court reaffirmed that workers’ compensation laws are the exclusive remedy for an employee’s injuries. In King v. CompPartners, the Court ruled that an employee’s tort claims against a utilization review company and a doctor performing a mandatory utilization review were preempted. In so doing, the Court reminded employees that the Court construes the Workers Compensation Act (WCA) liberally and broadly, in favor of awarding workers’ compensation, not in permitting civil litigation.


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The First District Court of Appeal’s August 1, 2018 decision in Nishiki v. Danko Meredith, APC reminds employers of the harsh consequences for failing to timely (and properly) pay an employee’s wages upon resignation or termination.

The Court of Appeal addressed the Superior Court’s order 1) affirming the California Labor Commissioner’s award of $4,250 in “waiting time” penalties (i.e., the statutory penalty under Labor Code section 203 for the time an employee has to wait for the late payment of final wages), and 2) awarding Nishiki attorneys’ fees in the amount of $86,160 following the employer’s unsuccessful appeal from the Labor Commissioner to the Superior Court. On further appeal to the Court of Appeal, the employer argued the waiting time penalties were unwarranted and the attorney fees award was excessive. Though the Court of Appeal reduced the waiting time penalties, it otherwise affirmed the judgment and remanded for the trial court to award Nishiki additional attorneys’ fees incurred in responding to Danko’s appeal to the First District.


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On June 20, our partners Bill Dugan and Meredith Kaufman presented to the New York City chapter of the ACC on Minding the (Gender Pay) Gap. Along with two in-house counsel panelists, Meredith and Bill discussed strategies for complying with equal pay protections under state and local laws and narrowing the pay gap.

One clear