The California State Assembly passes a Bill that codifies the infamous “ABC” test for independent contractor determination — will the Senate follow suit, and will the Governor sign the new legislation into law?

The New Bill

On May 29, 2019, by a 55-11 vote, the state Assembly passed AB 5, a bill that would codify the California’s Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court.  
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On June 10, 2019, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that state law does not apply to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in situations when federal law addresses the relevant issue at hand.

In Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. v. Newton, the Supreme Court declined to extend California’s wage and hour laws to employees working on offshore drilling platforms subject to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

The OCSLA extends federal law to the subsoil and seabed of the outer continental shelf and to all structures permanently or temporarily attached to the seabed for the purpose of developing, producing or exploring for oil. Under the OCSLA, the laws of an adjacent state only apply to the OCS to the extent “they are applicable and not inconsistent with” federal law.

Here, the US Supreme Court ruled that because the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) addressed the relevant issues, the adjacent state law was inapplicable.


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Hiring Entity:  When are gig workers employees?

Four Government Agencies & Courts:  It depends!

Trying to track the employment status of gig workers will make your head spin. Contractors? Employees? Super heroes?

In the last few weeks, four federal and California state agencies and courts — the US Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Labor Commissioner — have all weighed in on the debate. And, the answer is — it depends.

Follow our script below to help make sense of the patchy legal landscape.


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How to bridge the gap between HR and legal to avoid exposure in the US and beyond

Effective HR departments are imperative to the operation of any company and functions including benchmarking and non-solicitation agreements serve an important need. However, increased scrutiny from antitrust regulators means that companies and staff that agree not to poach

Once again, Baker McKenzie attorneys, industry thought leaders and key clients from around the world convened (this time in New York) to answer this essential question: What is the future of work? 

One consistent theme that permeated many of our discussions can be summed up as: Inclusion or Bust.

What does this mean?

It means that as global employers, we’re moving beyond a singular focus on diversity. As guest speaker Vernā Myers says,

Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

To truly reap the rich rewards of a diverse workplace, companies must invest generously and continuously in inclusion. Many senior business leaders predict that companies that don’t will be left behind and may actually cease to exist entirely in the not too distant future.


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In last Thursday’s Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising, the Ninth Circuit made several impactful findings related to the infamous Dynamex decision:

  1. Aligning with several state court decisions supporting retroactivity, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Dynamex’s ABC test applies retroactively.
  2. It also applied Dynamex to a multi-level franchise structure, expanding the test beyond the independent contractor context.
  3. Last, the Court issued guidance to the district court on remand reaffirming the difficulty of “passing” the ABC test.


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On April 10, the EEOC released its charge filing statistics for Fiscal Year 2018, which ran from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. These annually disclosed statistics reveal continued trends in the employment litigation space and provide an opportunity for employers to ensure their policies and practices address issues arising in the ever-changing modern workplace.

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Less than two weeks ago we reported that all employers with 100 or more workers in the US would have until September 30 to provide the EEOC with pay data (read more here).

Then, just days later, on May 3rd, the Justice Department appealed the two rulings resurrecting the Obama-era mandate. Ironically, the appeal

All employers with 100 or more workers in the US have until September 30 to provide the EEOC with pay data as part of the annual workforce data report known as the EEO-1.

On April 25, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan accepted the EEOC’s proposal (more here) to make employers submit their 2018 pay data this fall. She also ordered the EEOC to collect a second year of pay data, giving it a choice between collecting employers’ 2017 data or making it collect 2019 data down the road. Her ruling is expected to impact more than 60,000 employers.


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The legalization of medical marijuana in several jurisdictions throughout the US presents employers with the difficult task of reconciling their anti-drug policies with those state statutes authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes. Adding an additional layer of complexity to this already uncertain landscape, is the growing number of states that have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. As state marijuana laws continue to grow and develop, employers must stay attune to how they approach employees’ off-duty marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes.

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