As we previously discussed here, the United States Supreme Court’s May 2018 decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis was a clear win for employers that seek to avoid the expense and disruption of class litigation by resolving disputes individually through binding arbitration. As explained by the Supreme Court in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, “[i]n bilateral arbitration, parties forego the procedural rigor and appellate review of the courts in order to realize the benefits of private dispute resolution: lower costs, greater efficiency and speed, and the ability to choose expert adjudicators to resolve specialized disputes.”

For employers looking to take advantage of the benefits of individual arbitration, there are several drafting nuances to consider before rolling out or updating existing arbitration agreements.

Continue Reading You Had Me At “Class Action Waiver”

In the wake of the #HeForShe movement, California recently became the first US state to require companies to put female directors on their corporate boards.

Supporters of the law make a convincing business case for gender diversity, citing rigorous research findings showing companies where women are represented at board or top-management levels are also the companies that perform best financially. Beyond the business case however, there is also a sense that increased representation is critical to discussions and decisions affecting corporate culture and ensuring workplace respect and dignity.

Now is the time to focus on building a strong corporate culture of equality and respect. California is advancing a trend started in Australia and a number of European countries in recognizing the importance of gender-balanced corporate boards. Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all have initiatives in place to boost corporate board representation.

Baker McKenzie is uniquely positioned to guide companies in developing globally compliant corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives, including board compliance issues. Click here for more information on board level D&I initiatives around the globe, and how we can help.

2018 has been a year of box office hits for California employers, but the critics remain skeptical.

On December 13th, join Baker McKenzie at the Westin SFO in Millbrae from 9 AM to 12 PM for our annual employment law update as we review the employment winners in 2018 and share our predictions for the year ahead.

With our director and producers keeping us on track, our cast and crew will cover topics including:

  • National and CA wage and hour updates and trends
  • California’s hot-off-the-press #metoo legislation
  • New CA requirements for female board members
  • Clarifying California’s salary history ban
  • Living and litigating in the gig economy for multi-state employers
  • Immigration changes affecting California employers
  • And much more!

We will also go “on location” and share a few international trends.

Join Us and Win!

The concession stands are open! Join us for a chance to win movie night themed prizes and more. Click here to view the full invite for more details on time, location and our cast and crew, and click here to RSVP.

As employment lawyers based in California are well aware that post-employment non-compete agreements are generally void as a matter of law in this state. Further, there is precedent for awarding punitive damages and disgorgement of profits where employers have knowingly required employees to enter into invalid agreements. Also, the DOL has actively pursued California-based companies engaging in anti-competitive practices when it comes to talent.

Against that backdrop, however, employers need not “throw in the towel” completely when it comes to post-termination restrictive covenants as there are a few narrow scenarios that allow for enforceable post-termination non-competes in California in the right circumstances, and a potential new take on an old strategy to consider.

Continue Reading Can Employers Use The California Labor Code To Protect Company Assets?

Alyssa Milano tweeted #MeToo just about one year ago. Since then, we’ve seen unprecedented attention on sexual harassment in the workplace and a number of high profile individuals have been taken to task.

For employers, the spotlight, viral encouragement to come forward and public scrutiny is translating to an outpouring of claims and lawsuits. Indeed, in September 2018, the EEOC reported a surge in sexual harassment filings–more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over FY 2017.

Continue Reading #MeToo Legislation Lands In California With A Thud

Please join us for a complimentary breakfast briefing in Los Angeles on October 16 and in Palo Alto on October 17 to study new employment law updates from Asia Pacific.

Baker McKenzie’s employment law attorneys from Australia, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan are coming to California to translate the recent trends, make sense of new laws and break down the hot topics facing US multinational employers operating in those countries today. Topics include:

  • Workplace gender equality reporting in Australia
  • The #MeToo movement in China
  • Work hour flexibility in Taiwan
  • Major employment law changes expected in Singapore
  • Contracting in the Philippines
  • Recent bonus/share option avoidance cases in Hong Kong

Click here for more details, including how to register.

California just became the first state to require companies to put female directors on their boards.

“Given all the special privileges that corporations have enjoyed for so long, it’s high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the ‘persons’ in America,” Governor Jerry Brown wrote in signing Senate Bill 826 into law on September 30. The legislation appears sparked by recent debates around sexual harassment, workplace culture and gender equality, and it comes less than one year after Brown signed the state’s salary history ban.

Continue Reading California Becomes First State To Mandate Female Board Of Directors

The First District Court of Appeal’s August 1, 2018 decision in Nishiki v. Danko Meredith, APC reminds employers of the harsh consequences for failing to timely (and properly) pay an employee’s wages upon resignation or termination.

The Court of Appeal addressed the Superior Court’s order 1) affirming the California Labor Commissioner’s award of $4,250 in “waiting time” penalties (i.e., the statutory penalty under Labor Code section 203 for the time an employee has to wait for the late payment of final wages), and 2) awarding Nishiki attorneys’ fees in the amount of $86,160 following the employer’s unsuccessful appeal from the Labor Commissioner to the Superior Court. On further appeal to the Court of Appeal, the employer argued the waiting time penalties were unwarranted and the attorney fees award was excessive. Though the Court of Appeal reduced the waiting time penalties, it otherwise affirmed the judgment and remanded for the trial court to award Nishiki additional attorneys’ fees incurred in responding to Danko’s appeal to the First District.

Continue Reading Substantial Penalties For Innocent Mistakes Regarding Final Wages Upon Termination

Since January 1, 2018, California law has prohibited employers from asking applicants about their salary history. Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2282 into law to clarify several aspects of the salary history ban.

Continue Reading California Clarifies Its Salary History Ban, Making It Easier For Employers To Comply

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.