As a consistent trend-setter in passing employee-friendly legislation, California has enacted the country’s first workplace violence prevention safety requirements applicable to nearly all employers in the state.

SB 553 requires California employers to adopt a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan, train employees on workplace violence, and begin logging incidents by July 1, 2024.

Detailed Requirements for a Written Plan

The workplace violence prevention plan must be written, available and easily accessible to employees (as well as authorized employee representatives and Cal/OSHA representatives).Continue Reading California Employers: Prepare Your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (Deadline In T-Minus 3 Months)

Earlier this year, many of you tuned into our 2023 – 2024 Employer Update webinars to plant seeds for success for the year ahead.

Now, to ensure your compliance efforts are blooming, we’re sharing detailed checklists to help you ensure you’re ticking all the boxes!

The US Supreme Court’s SFFA decision ending affirmative action in higher education continues to have ramifications for corporate America. Attacks to workplace DEI are gaining momentum with targeted challenges from a variety of angles, not the least of which are those coming from conservative advocacy groups filing lawsuits, requesting agency investigations and pursuing other complaints. Just last week, as many prepared to watch Taylor Swift’s boyfriend perform in the Super Bowl, America First Legal (a nonprofit founded by a former adviser to Donald Trump) filed an EEOC complaint against the NFL challenging the Rooney Rule, a widely used hiring practice that emanated in the NFL and is followed across corporate America. For in-house counsel, this just further emphasizes the need to continue to diligently monitor the changing DEI landscape for signals warranting targeted audits or adjustments to workplace DEI programming.

When should in-house counsel take action? Let’s start to answer that question by looking at where we are now and the escalation of events in the past 7 months.

Timeline of Recent Material Attacks on Workplace ID&E

July 2023 | Letter to Employers from 13 State AGs

Thirteen attorneys general used SFFA to support their opposition to corporate DEI programs (see letter to Fortune 100 CEOs here). In response, attorneys general from other states wrote to the same CEOs stating that SFFA “does not prohibit, or even impose new limits on, the ability of private employers to pursue diversity, equity, and inclusion.”Continue Reading Is The Risk Calculus Related To Workplace DEI Shifting For US Employers This Election Year?

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

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

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

Special thanks to our Baker McKenzie speakers Pamela Church, Teisha Johnson, Cyrus Vance, Elizabeth Roper, Laura Estrada Vasquez, Joshua Wolkoff and Industry Experts, Alexandra Lopez, Privacy Counsel, Calix, Una Kang, VP and Associate General Counsel, Wolters Kluwer, and Pamela Weinstock, Managing Counsel, Intellectual Property, Tiffany & Co.

On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued a 63-page Executive Order to define the trajectory of artificial intelligence adoption, governance and usage within the United States government. The Executive Order outlines eight guiding principles and priorities for US federal agencies to adhere to as they adopt, govern and use AI. While safety and security are predictably high on the list, so too is a desire to make America a leader in the AI industry including AI development by the federal government. While executive orders are not a statute or regulation and do not require confirmation by Congress, they are binding and can have the force of law, usually based on existing statutory powers.

Instruction to Federal Agencies and Impact on Non-Governmental Entities

The Order directs a majority of federal agencies to address AI’s specific implications for their sectors, setting varied timelines ranging from 30 to 365 days for each applicable agency to implement specific requirements set forth in the Order.

The actions required of the federal agencies will impact non-government entities in a number of ways, because agencies will seek to impose contractual obligations to implement provisions of the Order or invoke statutory powers under the Defense Production Act for the national defense and the protection of critical infrastructure, including: (i) introducing reporting and other obligations for technology providers (both foundational model providers and IaaS providers); (ii) adding requirements for entities that work with the federal government in a contracting capacity; and (iii) influencing overall AI policy development.Continue Reading Biden’s Wide-Ranging Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence Sets Stage For Regulation, Investment, Oversight and Accountability

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