California Employment Law Update
Cole Lewis

Cole Lewis

Associate

Cole Lewis is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department.

Cole graduated from UCLA School of Law, where he worked as a law clerk for Public Counsel of Los Angeles and advocated for benefit recipients in the Department of Public Social Services. He has also previously worked as a summer associate in Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Department.

Prior to law school, Cole received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Indiana University, where he graduated cum laude.

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An Employer Response Plan for COVID-19

From various employment law implications to managing employees working remotely, employers are faced with unprecedented challenges amid the COVID-19 crisis. As Proskauer’s Coronavirus Resource Center continues to supply advisable tips for clients worldwide, Anthony Oncidi, Cole Lewis and Nayirie Mehdikhani step in with advice for California-based employers as they devise their contingency plans. Read their … Continue Reading

Various California Localities Issue Important New Social Distancing Orders

As we reported yesterday, cities and counties across California are issuing orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Since our last post, Orange County and the City of Palm Springs have joined the list. Orange County’s Public Health Order, which took effect March 17, 2020, prohibits social gatherings and requires bars and other establishments that … Continue Reading

California Suspends 60-Day WARN Act Notice Period Due to COVID-19

This morning, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order that allows a California employer that is conducting layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic to use the newly-created “unforeseen business circumstances” exception to the state’s WARN Act requirements. More specifically, the order indicates that: Mass layoffs, relocations or closures fall under the newly-created “unforeseen business … Continue Reading

California Labor Commissioner’s Office Releases FAQ Memo on Coronavirus

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has issued an important new FAQ Memo for accommodating and paying employees in connection with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – FAQs on laws enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office Can an employee use California Paid Sick Leave due to COVID-19 illness? Yes. If the employee has … Continue Reading

9th Circuit Holds that Prior Salary is Not a Defense to An Equal Pay Act Claim

Yesterday, the full Ninth Circuit held that an employer cannot rely on an individual’s prior salary to justify a wage disparity between a male and female employee. In Rizo v. Yovino, a female math teacher brought a claim under the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) against the school district for paying her substantially less than her … Continue Reading

California’s Latest Gift to the Public Employee Unions is Challenged in Federal Court

On Tuesday, seven elected officials from various local government bodies challenged a recently enacted California state law that prohibits a public employer from “deter[ing] or discourag[ing] public employees from becoming or remaining members” of a union. The challenged statute (which was part of Senate Bill 866) was a rearguard action that the public employee unions … Continue Reading

Federal Court Strikes Down California’s “Request Arbitration, Go to Jail” Law

On January 31, 2020, Chief United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller enjoined California from enforcing AB 51. This new legislation prohibits employers from requiring their employees to sign arbitration agreements.  Last week, the court issued its detailed written opinion explaining the basis for its decision. As we predicted, the Court found that AB 51 is … Continue Reading

Uber and Postmates File Lawsuit Challenging California’s New Independent Contractor Law (AB-5)

On Monday, Uber, Postmates and two of their drivers filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Central District of California, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and a determination that AB-5 is unconstitutional. AB-5 is set to become effective on Wednesday, January 1st and will have a major impact on California’s freelance workforce as well … Continue Reading

California’s “Request Arbitration, Go to Jail” Law is Blocked Until at Least January 10, 2020

As we reported previously, the California legislature recently passed and Gov. Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 51, which would impose criminal penalties upon employers seeking to have their employees sign arbitration agreements – it is in short the “Request Arbitration, Go to Jail” law.  Today, United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller granted a … Continue Reading

California’s Arbitration Ban Challenged in Federal Court

As expected, California’s effort to ban employers from requiring employees and applicants to sign an arbitration agreement has been challenged in federal court.  The lawsuit was filed by a business coalition that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation. AB-51 was signed into law in October along with a constellation of other … Continue Reading

“OK, Boomer!”: Not Okay In the Office

As recently highlighted by the New York Times, a new phrase emblematic of the real or perceived “War Between the Generations” has gone viral: “OK, Boomer!”  The phrase, popularized on the Internet and, in particular, Twitter by Generation Z and Millennials, has been used to dismiss baby boomers’ thoughts and opinions, sometimes viewed by younger … Continue Reading

Two Important Stragglers Among California’s New Labor Laws

Last week, we blogged about the avalanche of new labor laws that California employers will face in 2020.  Here are two late additions to the list  — just in time for Halloween!: AB 61 (Ting, D-San Francisco) grants employers and coworkers the right to petition a court to issue a gun violence restraining order, which prevents an … Continue Reading

Take That, Employers! California is Done (for Now) with this Year’s Legislative Thrashing

Here’s a comprehensive list of the new employment-related statutes enacted and signed into law in the Golden State (effective Jan. 1, 2020 unless otherwise specified): AB 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) makes it extremely difficult for most California employers to hire an independent contractor and would convert such workers into “employees” in the eyes of the … Continue Reading

Stray Kitty Moonlights as Lawyer

Following passage of AB-5, the recent string of multi-million dollar employee jury verdicts, and other challenging developments, we concluded that our subscribers need some feel-good news every meow and then (sorry). An association of lawyers in Brasília, Brazil has hired Leon the cat as one of their new “attorneys” in order to lighten the mood around … Continue Reading

Employees Will Be Exempted from Most Requirements of the Amended California Consumer Privacy Act … For Now

In an effort to give consumers more control over the data businesses collect from and about them, the California legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2018 (and amended it a few months later). The CCPA gives consumers the right to know about and have deleted the data businesses have gathered about them, among … Continue Reading

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash Pledge $90 Million To Fund Voter Initiative To Overturn Assembly Bill 5

Assembly Bill 5, a proposed new law currently pending in the California legislature, would limit and codify last year’s California Supreme Court Dynamex opinion.  If passed and signed into law by Gov. Newsom (he’s already said he’ll sign it), AB-5 would make it nearly impossible for most California employers to hire an independent contractor and … Continue Reading

Public Employee Union Members Sue Over Forced Dues Payments

Five In-Home Supportive Service (“IHSS”) providers filed a class-action lawsuit last month challenging their union’s practice of deducting union dues despite their quitting the union. The workers allege their First Amendment rights are being violated by the union deducting dues from their paychecks and using it to subsidize union speech.  Just one year ago, the United … Continue Reading

California Law Requiring Female Board Members Challenged In Court

Earlier this week, three taxpayers sued California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to prevent enforcement of Senate Bill 826. Senate Bill 826, signed into law last year by former Governor Jerry Brown, requires that by the end of 2019, all publicly held foreign or domestic corporations whose principal executive offices are in California shall have … Continue Reading

EEOC Has Begun Denying Employers’ Requests For Extensions Of Time To Respond To Discrimination Charges

What used to be a routine request – asking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for an extension of time when responding to a charge of discrimination or harassment and assuming extra time would be granted – apparently is no longer such an automatic thing. In what may signal a broader shift in policy, the … Continue Reading

Proskauer Scores Two Summary Judgments for Large Southern California Hospital Within 48 Hours

We’re delighted to report that we secured two summary judgments in two separate alleged discrimination cases on behalf of a large Southern California hospital in matters that were pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court. In one case, decided on July 12, 2019, the Court agreed with our client that the former employee had failed … Continue Reading

California Enacts Law Prohibiting Hairstyle Discrimination … with New York and New Jersey Close Behind

As we have reported before, California is set to become the first state to prohibit employers from discriminating based upon hairstyle. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the “CROWN Act” (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair). The CROWN Act amends the state’s Education Code and Government Code to define “race … Continue Reading
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