California Employment Law Update
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Kate Gold

Kate Gold is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department in the Los Angeles office.

Kate has over 25 years of experience representing clients in a range of industries, across all areas of employment law.  An experienced litigator, she has represented clients in all types of employment-related suits, including class and collective actions, discrimination, retaliation and harassment, non-compete and wage/hour matters.  In addition to litigating, she conducts high-level workplace investigations and routinely counsels clients on matters involving the full range of state and federal employment issues.

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California Supreme Court Holds That Meal And Rest Break Premiums Must Include All Forms Of Remuneration (Not Just Base Hourly Rate)

On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, in which it held that meal and rest break premiums required under California Labor Code section 226.7 (“Section 226.7”) must be paid at non-exempt employees’ regular rate of pay—not merely their base hourly rate.  The decision, which … Continue Reading

California Safety Board Narrows Emergency Temporary Standards (Effective Immediately)

As we previously reported (here), Cal/OSHA’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) held a series of special meetings to revise its controversial Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  And, on June 17, 2021, OSHSB approved updated ETS language that more closely aligns California’s workplace safety requirements with recommendations from the … Continue Reading

California Workers Can’t Ditch Masks Just Yet

In a closely-watched vote, yesterday (June 3, 2021), California’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board  approved controversial amendments to the Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) related to COVID-19.  If approved by the Office of Administrative Law within the 10 day review period, the new ETS (available here) will require (among many other things) most California workers … Continue Reading

Opening Up To the New Normal

With COVID-19 cases falling and vaccination rates increasing, the County of Los Angeles is updating guidance for reopening the economy. Effective Monday, April 5, 2021, Los Angeles County non-essential office-based businesses can now reopen indoors, at 50% capacity, per the new County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Order of the Health Officer. This … Continue Reading

Statewide Supplemental Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave Resuscitated, Expanded, and Retroactive Back to January 1, 2021

On Thursday, March 18, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 95 (“SB 95”) which will provide statewide supplemental paid COVID-19 sick leave, retroactively to January 1, 2021. Governor Newsom signed SB 95 on Friday, March 19. California’s previous supplemental paid COVID-19 sick leave (covered here) expired on December 31, 2020. Since then, California employers have … Continue Reading

California Employers May Be Required to Subsidize Backup Childcare

Last Thursday, Assembly Bill 1179 was introduced to require California employers with 1,000 or more to provide “backup ” for children under 14. To be eligible for the benefit, employees who work in California would need to have been employed by the company for at least 30 days. If passed and signed into law, this … Continue Reading

California Updates Its Pay Data Reporting Requirements – Reports are due by March 31, 2021!

UPDATED February 18, 2021: The portal is now open and can be accessed on DFEH’s pay data reporting homepage along with the guide, template, and example. UPDATED February 3, 2021: The DFEH has released a User Guide, reporting Template, and reporting Example. The portal will be available on February 16, 2021. SB 973, enacted on … Continue Reading

The ABCs of Independent Contractor Classification: California Supreme Court Holds Strict Independent Contractor Test Applies Retroactively

On January 14, 2021, the California Supreme Court decided, at the request of the Ninth Circuit, that its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018) applies retroactively. Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. (SC S258191 1/14/21). Dynamex adopted the “ABC test” for determining whether a worker is an employee … Continue Reading

California’s New Supplemental Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave, Effective September 19, 2020

On September 9, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1867 (“AB 1867”), which is intended to fill gaps left by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The new law requires that private employers with 500 or more employees in the United States provide eligible (non-food sector) employees with up to 80 hours of supplemental … Continue Reading

California Amends Independent Contractor Law (Again) – New Exemptions for Music Industry Workers, Freelance Writers and Photographers

Last Friday, September 4, Governor Newsom signed AB 2257, which includes a slew of modifications to the now-infamous AB5, which went into effect this year and codified the strict ABC independent contractor test, which we have addressed previously in this blog. With this new amendment, there are now more than 100 exemptions and limitations to … Continue Reading

“Oh, We Were Just Leaving!”: California Court Halts Order Requiring Uber and Lyft to Reclassify Drivers

Last week, Uber Technologies, Inc. and Lyft, Inc. announced that they would suspend ridesharing operations in the State of California in response to an August 10, 2020 San Francisco Superior Court judge’s preliminary injunction, requiring the companies to reclassify their California drivers as “employees” within 10 days.  The order came in the context of a … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Confirms that PAGA Claims Cannot be Compelled to Arbitration

Even after the Supreme Court’s favorable decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis (“Epic”), California courts will not compel a PAGA claim to arbitration. In Collie v. The Icee Co., a former employee of The Icee Company, Tauran Collie, alleged a single cause of action under California’s Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) against her former … Continue Reading

Mask On, Roll Camera: LA County Greenlights Hollywood Production Restart

As we previously reported, last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California’s State Public Health Officer cleared the music, film and television industry to resume work no earlier than this Friday, June 12, 2020, subject to county-by-county approval.  On June 10, 2020, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, announced that she was … Continue Reading

The Wait is (Almost) Over! California Greenlights Resumption of Music, Film and Television Production

  On Friday June 5, Gov. Newsom announced that California has authorized the music, film and television production industries to reopen on or after this coming Friday, June 12, 2020.  The same day, Gov. Newsom announced the reopening of fitness facilities, day camps, and several other industries. Although the State Public Health Officer had been … Continue Reading

Lights, Camera, PPE: Hollywood Guilds and Studios Take Action On Resuming Production

As we discussed in a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter in April, the entertainment industry faces unique challenges as it plans to resume operations.  On May 20, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested that California would release guidelines for reopening the entertainment industry by Memorial Day.  However, to date, California’s Public Health Officer has not … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hands Plaintiffs’ Lawyers A Gift…

Today, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Kim v. Reins Int’l Cal., Inc., holding that an employee’s settlement and dismissal of underlying Labor Code claims does not deprive the individual of the ability to later assert a representative action under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”)—even if it involves the … 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

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

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

California Supreme Court Hands Employers A Rare Victory, Trims Bloated PAGA Claims

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court held that private litigants may not recover unpaid wages under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).  See ZB, N.A. v. Superior Court (Lawson) (Cal. S. Ct. Sept. 12, 2019). In a rearguard effort to fight employment arbitration agreements, which usually include class action waivers, plaintiffs’ lawyers have been … Continue Reading
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