Q: Now that 2021 is behind us, what are the new California employment law changes for 2022?

A: While employers continued to grapple with the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses, last year’s California legislative actions led to relatively fewer employment law changes than usual for the upcoming 2022 year. Below find descriptions of new employment-related changes, including new rules for severance agreements, expanded limitations on confidentiality and nondisparagement provisions in settlement agreements, extended recordkeeping requirements, changes to the California Family Rights Act, arbitration, COVID-19 compliance, wage and hour, and industry-specific developments.


Continue Reading Overview of New California Employment Laws

Q: May employers require that employees enter into agreements as a condition of employment, mandating them to arbitrate employment-related claims?

A: Not without risk. California Assembly Bill (AB) 51 bans mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, but before the statute went into effect, a California federal district court entered an injunction effectively blocking enforcement of AB 51. On September 15, a Ninth Circuit panel reversed the district court’s injunction. The Ninth Circuit panel’s decision does not take effect immediately, however, and it is very likely that the panel’s decision will be challenged and that further legal filings will result in the district court’s injunction remaining in effect for some period of time. In the meantime, California employers that continue to use mandatory arbitration agreements face risk and uncertainty.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Restores California’s Ban on Mandatory Employment Arbitration Agreements

Q: Does the “ABC test” for independent contractor status in the state of California apply retroactively?

A: The California Supreme Court recently issued a decision clarifying that the ABC test for determining independent contractor status does indeed apply retroactively.


Continue Reading California Supreme Court Clarifies Dynamex’s “ABC” Test, Concluding that Independent Contractor Status Applies Retroactively

Q: Is there new legislation that expands COVID-19 protections to California employees?

A: Since the beginning of 2020, employers have had to make significant changes to their operations due to an increasing number of newly enacted legislation and requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter the final quarter of 2020, California employers must again quickly respond to new legislation that expands COVID-19 protections to California employees and imposes stringent requirements on California employers. This month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed three COVID-19-related bills into law that affect employee rights: (1) SB 1159, (2) AB 659, and (3) AB 1867.

Senate Bill 1159: “Workers’ Compensation: COVID-19”

Effective immediately for California employers with 5 or more employees, Senate Bill 1159 creates a presumption of entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits for employees infected with COVID-19 if:

  • The employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after performing labor or services at the employee’s “place of employment” (excluding the employee’s residence) at the employer’s direction; and
  • The employee tests positive during an “outbreak” at the specific place of employment (as determined by the employer’s claims administrator).


Continue Reading California Governor Expands COVID-19 Protections for California Employees and Imposes Additional Requirements on California Employers

Q: My Company’s standard employment settlement agreement includes a no-rehire provision. Can I continue to include that provision for California employees?

A: If the agreement settles an employment dispute with an “aggrieved person,” you may no longer include a no re-hire provision in the agreement for California employees. Assembly Bill No. 749 (“AB 749”), which amends the California Code of Civil Procedure, became effective January 1, 2020 and provides that if an unlawful no-rehire provision is included in a settlement agreement, the provision is void as a matter of law. An “aggrieved person” is defined as a person who has filed a claim against the employer in court, before an administrative agency, in an alternative dispute forum, or through the employer’s internal complaint process.
Continue Reading California Now Prohibits No-Rehire Provisions in Certain Employee Settlement Agreements

At the end of last year, we reported that a federal district court had imposed a last-minute temporary restraining order to block California from enforcing its new law (AB 51), which would have imposed criminal penalties on California employers that use mandatory arbitration agreements. That court has now issued a preliminary injunction that continues to

Beginning January 1, 2020, California law (known as AB 51) makes it a criminal misdemeanor for employers to require arbitration as a condition of employment. The law specifically prohibits mandatory arbitration of claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (such as for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation) and claims for violations of the California

On September 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into effect the much-anticipated AB-5 Bill, which imposes heightened standards when assessing whether to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. AB-5 will drastically affect California employers with workforces heavily reliant on independent contractors by forcing them to re-classify independent contractors as employees subject

On September 12, 2019, the California Supreme Court ruled that an aggrieved employee bringing a representative action under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) cannot recover unpaid wages. In ZB N.A. v. Superior Court, the plaintiff, Kalethia Lawson, brought a lawsuit alleging a sole cause of action under PAGA. She based her PAGA claim