In late May, California announced new amendments to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) strengthening the protections afforded to applicants and employees, including those who are undocumented, on the basis of national origin. The changes go into effect July 1, 2018. The new regulations significantly broaden the definition of “national origin” as well as conduct that constitutes discrimination based on national origin.

Continue Reading California Expands National Origin Protections In The Workplace

Originally posted in the Daily Journal.

The California Supreme Court recently made a sweeping change to California’s gig economy. In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, the Supreme Court ruled that in deciding whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, the employer must begin by presuming that the worker is an employee or an independent contractor, the employer must begin by presuming that the worker is a common law employee.

Although the Dynamex ruling is limited to classifying workers under California’s wage orders, its practical effect will be much broader. Employers commonly use one definition of employee for wages, hours and working conditions, including employee benefit plan eligibility. The impact of the Dynamex decision on employee benefit plans that are subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 is an open question. It will turn on the language found in each of those plans.

Click here to read on about the impact of the decision on employee benefit plans.

The Dynamex Case: A New Threat to Franchising? alerts franchisors to the California Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County.

Although not a franchise case, the decision cites two cases that used the ABC test to determine that franchisees were employees of a franchisor, not independent contractors. Assuming the Dynamex test is applied to franchising, it could have far-reaching consequences for our franchise clients with operations in California.

Please click here to read more. Thanks to Ann Hurwitz and Emily Harbison for preparing this alert.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

May 13 is Mother’s Day in the US, Australia and Canada. As such, it feels apropos to recognize the latest initiatives in the US and around the world aimed at increasing opportunities at work for working mothers (and caregivers more generally). Government-mandated maternity, paternity and parental leave and benefits, as well as robust childcare and eldercare infrastructure are among the most effective public policy investments for promoting gender parity in the workforce. As employers strive to retain working parents and increase female representation in corporate leadership roles, this article highlights how parental leave rights and related benefits are changing to reduce the burden of work-family conflicts on women and encourage men (and even grandparents!) to avail themselves of paternity leave and/or parental leave.

While the intended effects of new legislation in this area are of course positive, it can be challenging for US and multinational employers to navigate the patchwork of statutory requirements that offer varying entitlements based on differing circumstances. Even beyond managing simple compliance, many multinational employers also feel the pressure to stay competitive in the war for talent and to create human resources policies that can be managed centrally in a streamlined fashion, while also locally compliant in jurisdictions outside of the US.

Please click HERE to read our article. We focus on recent entitlements and related benefits made available to employees who manage caregiving responsibilities outside of work and share the updates multinationals need to know.

For more details, please contact your Baker McKenzie lawyer.

  With all the discussion around California’s salary history ban, it’s easy to forget that some cities have adopted their own regulations. For companies with operations in San Francisco, it is important to be aware of the city’s salary history ordinance.

Here’s what you need to know:

Continue Reading Quick Reminder Regarding San Francisco’s Salary History Ban (Effective July 1, 2018)

On April 30, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion radically changing the legal landscape for any company engaging independent contractors in California. Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County changes the legal test for determining whether workers should be classified as employees or as independent contractors under California’s wage orders. The Court scrapped the multifactor, flexible test (known as “Borello”) that has been used in California for decades. It adopted the “ABC” test, a standard that has its roots in determination of unemployment tax status in other states and presumes workers are employees instead of independent contractors.

This extraordinary decision will have far-reaching consequences for California companies reliant on independent contractors and likely spur a landslide of litigation for years to come. As such, we are recommending that companies engaging independent contractors in California, in any industry, work with counsel to revisit classification decisions and undertake a cost/benefit analysis of reclassifying workers in the near term.

For more, please read our alert HERE.

The California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker v. Superior Court unleashed a flood of single-plaintiff and class-action lawsuits involving alleged violations of California’s meal and rest period laws. Under California law, employees are entitled to take at least one 30-minute uninterrupted, off-duty meal break no later than the end of their 5th hour of work. If employees work over 10 hours, they must be provided a second 30-minute meal period. Similarly, employees must also receive 10-minute rest periods for each 4 hour-period worked or major fraction thereof.

Continue Reading Take A Break To Remember Your Meal And Rest Period Obligations Under California Law

On April 9, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in Rizo v. Yovino and affirmed that prior salary, alone or in combination with other factors, cannot justify a wage differential between male and female employees. Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who died unexpectedly in late March, authored the  ruling. Known as the “Liberal Lion” of the federal judiciary in California, Judge Reinhardt also overturned bans on same-sex marriage and physician-assisted suicide and declared prison overcrowding unconstitutional.

Continue Reading The “Liberal Lion’s” Last Opinion Says Salary History Can’t Justify Wage Differentials

Robin Samuel has joined Baker McKenzie as a Partner in its North America Employment & Compensation Practice, bringing more than 20 years of experience in a range of employment litigation and counseling matters.

Based in the Firm’s new Los Angeles office, Robin handles all aspects of California and federal employment law, helping clients with complex wage and hour, discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, M&A, employee raiding, and trade secret theft litigation, investigations and transactions. Robin has significant experience handling employment class actions. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Robin served as Office Administrative Partner for Hogan Lovell’s Los Angeles office and chaired the firm’s California Diversity Committee.

Baker McKenzie’s Global Employment & Compensation group is one of the world’s largest and most recognized employment practices, with more than 700 lawyers globally and more than 130 attorneys in North America focused on employment law. A recent BTI Consulting survey of corporate counsel named Baker McKenzie a “standout” law firm for complex employment litigation. In addition, Chambers Global has recognized the Firm’s employment practice with a Band 1 ranking for eight consecutive years.

In recent months, Baker McKenzie has also added experienced employment litigators Mike Brewer, Todd Boyer, Bill Dugan and Meredith Kaufman to its North America Employment & Compensation Practice.

Robin received his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

In the wake of the #metoo movement, several lawmakers proposed legislation to ban confidentiality provisions in workplace sexual harassment settlements.

Critics of confidentiality agreements say that they enable serial abusers and silence victims. But, some advocates question whether a ban could actually harm individuals. For instance, some victims may actually prefer confidentiality and the prospect of publicity may discourage them from coming forward. Further, the promise of confidentiality may lead to larger (and earlier) monetary settlements for victims.

Continue Reading #MeToo Breaks Silence, Legislators Follow: Confidentiality Provisions