California has always kept employers on their toes when it comes to changing employment laws. This year is no exception. Here is our roundup of the top 10 developments California employers need to know. (And scroll down to see what’s on the horizon!)

  1. Minimum Wage Increases

Effective January 1, 2022, the California state minimum wage increased to $15.00 per hour ($14.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees). As a result, the minimum monthly salary for California exempt employees increased to $5,200, or $62,400 on an annual basis (which is two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment).

For computer software employees, their minimum hourly rate of pay increased to $50.00 and the minimum monthly salary increased to $8,679.16 ($104,149.81 annually).  And for licensed physicians and surgeons, the minimum hourly rate of pay increased to $91.07 .

Some counties and cities have imposed their own higher minimum wage rates, including Los Angeles, where a $15 minimum wage for all employers took effect in July 2021. The following local minimum wages took effect on January 1, 2022, regardless of employer size:


Continue Reading Top 10 California Employment Law Updates for 2022

We are pleased to share a recent Bloomberg Law article, “Gig Economy Companies Brace for Crucial Year as Challenges Mount,” with commentary from Mike Brewer. The article discusses the gig economy facing another year of upheaval as the Biden administration eyes actions to address worker rights, court battles continuing to play out across the country,

Many thanks to Lothar Determann and Jonathan Tam for this post.

Some of your job applicants and employees in California may be alarmed if you tell them you sell their personal information. But you will have to say you sell their personal information if you disclose their personal information to third parties after January 1, 2022 without including certain data processing clauses in your contracts, as required by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). So we recommend reviewing these contracts to ensure they include the prescribed clauses if you wish to avoid being a “seller” of personal information.

You should also get ready to field data access, deletion, correction, portability and other requests from your employees and other personnel in California starting January 1, 2023. This will require implementing new protocols and training up your human resources and compliance teams. We also recommend tightening up your data retention and deletion protocols to limit the amount of information you have to review when handling data subject requests.

Do you use employee monitoring software or algorithms to help you evaluate job applicants? You should ensure that your use of these and similar tools address upcoming requirements regarding automated decision-making, risk assessments and the use of sensitive personal information. Note that the CCPA also currently requires employers to issue privacy notices to their California employees pursuant to a California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) amendment that took effect on December 16, 2020.

There is an HR exception under the CCPA but it is not comprehensive and expires January 1, 2023. When the CCPA originally passed in 2018, it included a limited, temporary carve-out for personal information of job applicants, employees, independent contractors and other personnel, who only needed to receive a brief “notice at collection.” The CPRA extended the limited carve-out until January 1, 2023 and immediately expanded the list of disclosures that employers have to provide to employees and candidates at or before the time of collecting their personal information.[1] Such “notices at collection” must include details about the types of personal information collected, the purposes for which the information is collected, and how long the personal information is retained or the criteria for determining the same. The California Attorney General’s CCPA Regulations also require notices at collection to indicate whether the business sells California residents’ personal information and a notice of the their right to opt-out of sales if so, and a link to the business’s privacy policy.[2] You should begin to address these requirements immediately if you have not done so already.


Continue Reading Employers Must Prepare Now For New California Employee Privacy Rights

Special thanks to Jessica Nall, Lothar Determann and Teresa Michaud

If your last name starts with A-G, you are probably well aware that your CLE compliance deadline is right around the corner – February 1, 2022. In addition to the general credit, the state of California requires all attorneys to complete:

  • At least

To mitigate against a 47% increase in the seven-day average COVID-19 case rate and a 14% increase in hospitalizations, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the return of an indoor mask mandate — which will apply irrespective of vaccine status in many locations — starting December 15 and lasting until January 15. California is implementing this change because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and increased travel and mixing of households during the holiday season.

So, just as things were starting to relax a bit in some parts of the state, the California Department of Public Health mask mandate once again tightens up face covering requirements for California employers. What do California employers need to know now?

Who & Where: A number of California counties — including Los Angeles, Ventura, Sacramento, and most of the San Francisco Bay Area – already have their own indoor mask mandates that were implemented in the summer and have no end dates. The new mandate does not supersede these existing orders, and thus will primarily change things for employers in San Diego County, Orange County, the Inland Empire, swaths of the Central Valley, and rural Northern California.

What & When: California employers must comply with the new order by requiring both employees and customers to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, from December 15, 2021 to January 15, 2021.

In addition to masking, the state will now require those without proof of vaccination attending events with more than 1,000 people to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day. The previous guidelines required a test within 72 hours. The state will also recommend those who travel in or out of California get tested for COVID-19 within three to five days.

What else are employers asking?

Some employers have questioned whether the mandate covers office settings where workers are 100% vaccinated. The answer is: “it depends.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the CDPH clarified that the new indoor mask mandate only applies to local jurisdictions that do not already have an existing mask requirement in place as of December 13, 2021. Thus, for example, because San Francisco already has an indoor mask mandate that allows stable cohorts of 100% vaccinated people to forego masks in indoor settings like workspaces and gyms, the CDPH clarification enables employers in San Francisco to continue allowing their fully vaccinated stable cohorts to go without masks if they otherwise meet the requirements of the San Francisco health order. (In the Bay Area, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Sonoma counties have adopted similar exemptions and thus the same analysis applies.) Note that some counties and cities with mask mandates do not permit vaccinated persons to forgo masks indoors, and in such locations, the local order applies, but vaccinated employees must still wear masks.


Continue Reading Breaking News – Mask Up California! New Statewide Mandate Effective December 15

Special thanks to Melissa Allchin and Lothar Determann.

Our California Employer Update webinar is designed to ensure that California in-house counsel are up to speed on the top employment law developments of 2021 and are prepared for what’s on the horizon in 2022.

With our “quick hits” format, we provide a content-rich presentation complete

On October 6, 2021, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the country (Ordinance No. 187219, the “Ordinance”), requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons to enter a wide range of private establishments–more than just bars, wineries, or breweries. Employers who are covered by the Ordinance–which is similar to ordinances in New York, West Hollywood, and San Francisco–will have to quickly determine what changes they’ll need to make in order to meet the Ordinance’s requirements less than a month from now.

Here’s what businesses need to know now about the Ordinance.

Where does this matter?

The Ordinance applies to businesses operating within the city limits of Los Angeles, but not those in unincorporated areas of L.A. County.  North Hollywood?  Yes!  Santa Monica? No!


Continue Reading No Shoes, No Shirt, No Jab = No Entry: Proof of Full Vaccination Required in Los Angeles for Patrons to Enter Private Establishments

So much for the summer of freedom. As anticipated, the seven Bay Area counties of  San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, and Sonoma  plus, the city of Berkeley, announced today that they are now mandating that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — wear

Pressure is mounting on U.S. and multinational employers to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees, as the Delta variant spreads voraciously, spiking infections and hospitalizations across the country and forcing employers to once again shutter worksites or change their workplace safety protocols. But can (and should) employers mandate vaccination?

Vaccine mandates received strong support on Thursday, July 29 when President Biden announced that all civilian federal employees and onsite contractors either must be vaccinated or submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements, and restrictions on travel. The same day, the U.S. Treasury Department released a policy statement directing state and local governments to use funds from the $350 billion American Rescue Plan to incentivize vaccines by offering $100 to individuals who get vaccinated.

Separately, more than 600 universities have announced mandates for students or employees. And state and local governments have joined in, with California and New York City announcing mandates this week for government employees and certain healthcare workers, and the federal Department of Veterans Affairs announcing that frontline VA health care employees must get vaccinated or face termination.

Large employers are joining the fray, with global technology companies, financial institutions, healthcare systems, retailers, transportation companies and media companies recently announcing that vaccination will be required for everyone in their workplaces.

So can private employers adopt mandatory vaccination policies? What follows is a framework for understanding whether such an approach is permissible both in and outside the US, as well as some of the key considerations for such policies.

Bottom line: in the US, private employers can legally mandate vaccines under federal law, subject to the legal considerations outlined below. State law, however, differs by jurisdiction, with some states authorizing vaccine mandates while at least one has banned them.  For illustrative purposes, we discuss California law in the framework below.


Continue Reading Mandating COVID-19 Vaccination? Before You Act, Consider These Key Issues For US and Multinational Employers

A proposed bill in California seeks to protect workers against nondisclosure agreements and empower them to speak out about alleged acts of discrimination, including racism. Senate Bill 331, known as the Silenced No More Act, was introduced in February 2021 and seeks to expand protections against confidential settlements to cover all forms of harassment or discrimination under California law, including on the basis of race, ancestry, religion or gender identity. If passed, the law will impose greater restrictions on companies’ freedom to contract settlement and non-disparagement agreements.

New Obligations if SB 331 Passes

  1. SB 331 will expand the existing prohibition of provisions that prohibit discussing sexual harassment in the workplace to discussing any type of harassment (i.e., race, age, religious harassment). (See discussion of SB 820 below.)
  2. The law will prohibit non-disparagement agreements that prohibit the disclosure of information about unlawful acts in the workplace.
  3. The law also will create new obligations, such as the requirement to notify the employee that the employee has a right to consult an attorney regarding the agreement and giving the employee “a reasonable time period of not less than five business days” in which to do so.

Several Employer-Friendly Changes to Observe

  1. The law clarifies that including a general release or waiver of all claims in an agreement related to an employee’s separation from employment does not violate the statute.
  2. It verifies that the law does not prohibit a provision that precludes the disclosure of the amount paid in settlement of a claim.
  3. It confirms that employers may protect trade secrets, proprietary information, or confidential information that does not involve unlawful acts in the workplace.


Continue Reading #MeToo 2.0: New California Bill Proposes Greater Restrictions on Confidentiality and Non-Disparagement Agreements