The new year brought some good news for California employers. On January 1, 2024, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller issued a decision permanently enjoining California state officials from enforcing AB 51, the contested law that sought to prohibit employers from “forcing” job applicants or employees to enter into pre-dispute employment arbitration agreements covering certain discrimination and retaliation claims. The permanent injunction reaffirmed the ability of employers to mandate arbitration for most employment disputes.

This decision comes less than a year after the Ninth Circuit found that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts AB 51 in Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Bonta. As noted in our blog post on the Bonta decision, the Ninth Circuit ultimately upheld a temporary injunction against AB 51, allowing California employers to continue to use employment arbitration agreements while the matter was litigated, and which—given Judge Mueller’s permanent injunction—now can continue indefinitely.

The Lead Up: Recap of the AB 51 Litigation Battle

Here is a quick summary of the AB 51 litigation leading up to the January 1, 2024 permanent injunction:

  • In December 2019, Judge Mueller issued a temporary restraining order, prohibiting California from enforcing AB 51.
  • In September 2021, the Ninth Circuit struck down Judge Mueller’s decision to temporarily restrain California from enforcing AB 51, holding that AB 51 was not largely preempted by the FAA.
  • In August 2022, the Ninth Circuit withdrew its September 2021 decision and voted to take another look at the case through a panel rehearing.
  • In February 2023, the Ninth Circuit, backtracking on their September 2021 decision, held that AB 51 is preempted by the FAA because the deterring penalties that AB 51 imposes on employers is antithetical to the FAA’s policy of favoring arbitration agreements.

Continue Reading End of the AB 51 Saga: California Employers Can and Should Continue Using Arbitration Agreements

Special thanks to co-authors Thomas Asmar, Victor Flores, Denise Glagau, Christopher Guldberg, Jen Kirk, Maura Ann McBreen, Lindsay Minnis, Kela Shang, Aimee Soodan and Brian Wydajewski.

As many readers likely know, last fall California doubled-down on the state’s hostility to noncompete agreements. Assembly Bill 1076 codified the landmark 2008 Edward v. Arthur Andersen decision that invalidated all employment noncompetes, including narrowly tailored ones, unless they satisfy a statutory exception.
   
AB 1076 also added new Business & Professions Code §16600.1, requiring California employers to notify current (and certain former) employees that any noncompete agreement or clause to which they may be subject is void (unless it falls within one of the limited statutory exceptions).

Individualized written notice must be sent by February 14, 2024 or significant penalties may apply.Continue Reading Don’t Miss California’s Noncompete Notice Requirement (Deadline 2/14/24) |Review Equity Award Agreements & Other Employment-Related Contracts ASAP

Special thanks to co-presenters Teresa Michaud and Bradford Newman.

California’s CLE Compliance Deadline Is Approaching…    
We can help!

If your last name starts with H-M, you are probably well aware that your CLE compliance deadline is right around the corner – February 1, 2024. In addition to the general credit requirement, the state of California requires all attorneys to complete:

  • At least four hours of legal ethics
  • At least one hour on competence issues
  • At least two hours on the elimination of bias in the legal profession and society. Of the two hours, at least one hour must focus on implicit bias and the promotion of bias-reducing strategies.

Our lawyers will offer three virtual sessions, focused on key considerations for AI development and utilization, to help you meet your CLE requirements. These sessions will also offer CLE credit in the states of Illinois, Texas, and New York. Participants requesting CLE for other states will receive uniform CLE certificates. 

Please register and let us know which individual session(s) you plan to attend. We look forward to your participation!


Promoting Unity: Overcoming the Risks of Bias and Prejudice in the Workplace

Tuesday, January 16, 2024 | 1:00 – 2:00 pm Pacific
1 hour Elimination of Bias credit (pending approval)Continue Reading California AI CLE Series

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
You signed a noncompete,
That may not be true.

Last year, California lawmakers double-downed on the state’s hostility to noncompete agreements. One of the new provisions requires written notice to current and former employees that their noncompete is void – unless an exception applies – by Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2024).

Two New Bills Restricting Noncompetes in California

First, as covered in our Legislative Reference Guide, SB 699 extends the reach of the state’s ban on noncompetes to contracts signed out of state; creates a private right of action for employees whose agreements include restrictive covenants and provides for attorney fees for any current, former, or even prospective employee who successfully brings suit against an employer’s use of those restrictive covenants.

Second, AB 1076, codifies the 2008 Edward v. Arthur Andersen decision that invalidated all employment noncompetes, including narrowly tailored ones, unless they satisfy a statutory exception. In addition, impacting your Valentine’s Day plans, the legislation requires California employers to individually notify current and former employees employed since January 1, 2022 in writing by February 14, 2024 that their noncompete clauses are void. Individualized notice is required to the employee’s last known mailing and email addresses.Continue Reading No Love Lost: California’s Continued Crackdown on Noncompetes Requires Breakup Letters Sent Before Valentine’s Day

In this 75-minute “quick hits” style session, our team reviewed the challenges we helped California employers overcome in 2023 and the key legislative changes coming in 2024.

Among other topics, we discussed:

  • Best
  • On January 1, 2024, businesses must post updated Privacy Policies under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which requires annual updates of disclosures and fully applies in the job applicant and employment context since January 1, 2023.

    With respect to job applicants and employees, businesses subject to the CCPA are required to:

    1. Issue detailed privacy notices with prescribed disclosures, terminology, and organization;
    2. Respond to data subject requests from employees and job candidates for copies of information about them, correction, and deletion;
    3. Offer opt-out rights regarding disclosures of information to service providers, vendors, or others, except to the extent they implement qualified agreements that contain particularly prescribed clauses; and
    4. Offer opt-out rights regarding the use of sensitive information except to the extent they have determined they use sensitive personal information only within the scope of statutory exceptions.

    If employers sell, share for cross-context behavioral advertising, or use or disclose sensitive personal information outside of limited purposes, numerous additional compliance obligations apply. For more: see also our related previous post: Employers Must Prepare Now for New California Employee Privacy Rights.

    Key recommendations to heed now

    Continue Reading Looking ahead to 2024: California privacy law action items for employers

    It is an unprecedented time for California companies’ privacy law obligations. The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) took effect on January 1, 2023 with a twelve-month look-back that also applies to the personal data of employees and business contacts. The California Privacy Protection Agency recently finalized regulations and has kicked off a new phase of rulemaking including on

    Does your holiday wish list include CLE credit and a quick tutorial on what to expect in California labor and employment law next year?

    Excellent!

    Join us for our virtual California 2023-2024 Employment Law Update on Wednesday, December 13 @ 1PM PT.

    2023 has been a year of dramatic change for California employers, but have

    In 2023, we helped US employers overcome a host of new challenges across the employment law landscape. Many companies started the year with difficult cost-cutting decisions and hybrid work challenges. More recently, employers faced challenges around intense political discourse boiling over in the workplace. We’ve worked hard to keep our clients ahead of the curve on these

    Happy Halloween from the EEOC! The federal agency’s 2022 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection is now open.

    • The deadline for submitting and certifying 2022 data is December 5, 2023

    Covered employers

    By way of reminder