Los Angeles “Fair Chance” Ordinance Takes Effect September 3rd

Jul 3, 2024 in


Los Angeles County enacted a new Fair Chance Ordinance, set to take effect on September 3, 2024, which expands California’s existing “Ban the Box” law by introducing additional requirements for employers with five or more employees within unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Under the Ordinance, employers must:

·      State that qualified applicants with arrest or conviction records will be considered for employment.

·      Specify any laws that restrict or prohibit hiring individuals with certain criminal histories.

·      Include a list of all material job duties for positions where a criminal background may directly and negatively impact employment, potentially leading to the withdrawal of a conditional job offer.

Further, like the statewide Fair Chance Act, the LA Ordinance prohibits employers from asking about criminal convictions until after a conditional job offer has been made. If an employer plans to conduct a background check at this stage, it must first provide detailed written notice.

The Ordinance prohibits employers from considering: (1) arrests not followed by conviction; (2) referrals or participation in a diversion or deferral of judgment program; (3) convictions that are sealed, dismissed, or expunged; (4) juvenile records; (5) non-felony convictions for possession of marijuana that are more than two years old; (6) any conviction more than seven years old; (7) infractions, with the exception of some driving infractions; and (8) convictions arising out of conduct that has been decriminalized since the conviction.

An individualized assessment must be performed before rescinding a conditional job offer based on a criminal record. An employer intending to withdraw a conditional offer or take other adverse employment action must follow prescribed steps, and rejected candidates have the ability to challenge the decision.

The Ordinance also contains certain notice and records retention requirements. It requires employers post a notice of the Ordinance at every worksite in unincorporated Los Angeles County and on Company webpages frequently visited by their employees or applicants.

Employers with operations in unincorporated Los Angeles County should evaluate job listing and hiring practices to conform with the new Ordinance.

PAGA Reform Deal Reached

Jul 1, 2024 in


The California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has done many things. Since its passage in 2016, it has resulted in an explosion of lawsuits, shuttered small businesses, put well over $100 million into the state’s coffers, and built substantial wealth for a huge band of gunslinging lawyers. What PAGA has not done is ensure uniform compliance with our state’s strict wage-hour laws. As a lawyer who frequently represents smaller employers, this is particularly disheartening.

Last week, Governor Newsom, working with state lawmakers and labor and pro-business groups, hammered out a deal to reform key aspects of PAGA. The reforms, if passed by the California Legislature and signed by the Governor by June 27th, will result in removal of a pending PAGA reform measure from the November ballot.

The reforms are calculated to:

·      Encourage prompt compliance with wage-hour laws by capping penalties for employers who act quickly to fix policies and practices, and make workers whole, after receiving a PAGA notice.

·      Create new, higher penalties for employers who act maliciously, fraudulently, or oppressively in violating labor laws.

·      Increase percentage of penalties that go to employees from 25% to 35%.

·      Expand the number of Labor Code sections that can be cured to reduce the need for litigation.

·      Help to reduce the impact on small employers by providing a more robust right-to-cure process.

·      Allow courts to provide injunctive relief to compel businesses to implement changes in the workplace to remedy labor law violations.

·      Require employee(s) who sue to personally experience the alleged violations brought in a claim.

We will continue to monitor these developments. Regardless of reforms, it is clear PAGA is not going anywhere.

The very best way to avoid these potentially disastrous lawsuits is to ensure full compliance with California’s wage-hour laws. We encourage employers to audit their timekeeping, overtime, meal and rest break and reimbursement practices, as these are the most common PAGA violations.

Additionally, if the reforms become law, on receiving notice of a PAGA claim, in the form of a letter to the Labor Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), employers should immediately act to “cure” violations to reduce penalties. We can assist with each of these efforts. Please contact us for help.

Ever Include Non-Compete Language in an Employment Agreement?

Mar 25, 2024 in

If you required an employee to sign a contract with a non-compete clause, you may be required to give notice to current and former employees.

Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1076 last fall, which was codified at Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600.1, and requires employers, prior to February 14, 2024, to notify all current employees and former employees employed after January 1, 2022, whose employment contracts contain a noncompete clause that does not satisfy one of the limited exceptions, that the noncompete clause or noncompete agreement is void.

The notice must be in a written individualized communication to the particular employee(s) and delivered to the last known address and email address of the current or former employee. A violation constitutes an act of unfair competition under Bus. & Prof. Code §§17200, et seq. We can help you determine if you must give notice and complete the process, but don’t delay.

Most California Employers Must Provide Workplace Violence Prevention Plan by July 1st

Mar 19, 2024 in

Senate Bill (SB) 553, signed into law last fall, requires employers to implement a written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) on or before July 1, 2024. In addition to the WVPP, employers also must train employees on workplace violence hazards, maintain a violent incident log, and conduct periodic reviews of the WVPP. The new law will be enforced by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).

Codified at Labor Code Sec. 6401.9, the new law applies to most California employers, with exceptions for employers already covered by the Workplace Violence Prevention in Healthcare standard, employees teleworking from somewhere they choose that is not under the control of the employer, or workplaces inaccessible to the public and have less than 10 employees working at any given time.

The new law mandates that employers establish, implement, and maintain a WVPP with specific required elements and procedures. The WVPP must be in writing and available to employees and authorized employee representatives at all times. The WVPP may appear as a stand-alone section in the employer’s existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) or as a separate document.

In light of the extensive requirements under Section 6401.9, California employers should begin to take active steps to ensure compliance by July 1, 2024. These include:

·      Identify who will implement and administer the WVPP;

·      Assess potential workplace violence hazards;

·      Draft the WVPP; and

·      Prepare and conduct required training for supervisors and employees.

We are here to guide employers through these new requirements.

California Employees Who Use Cannabis Gain Additional Protections

Jan 17, 2024 in

Effective January 1, 2024, two new California laws enhance protections for employees who use cannabis away from the workplace. SB 700 expressly prohibits employers from requesting information from job applicants relating to prior cannabis use. Assembly Bill (AB) 2188 prohibits employers from penalizing employees or applicants for off-duty cannabis use if it does not impair them at the workplace.

In AB 2188, the Legislature noted that the psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis, may be stored in the body for as long as a month as a non-psychoactive cannabis metabolite after it is metabolized. The metabolites do not indicate that the individual is currently under the influence of cannabis, but only that s/he recently consumed cannabis. Because drug tests are intended to identify employees who may be impaired, the Legislature declared that tests that detect the amount of non-psychoactive metabolites in the blood do not accomplish that goal as they do not correlate to impairment on the job. In addition, alternative drug testing devices that do not rely on the presence of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites, but which can identify the presence of THC in an individual’s bodily fluids, are more readily available and better indicators of impairment.

SB 700 expands AB 2188’s protections by prohibiting employers from requesting that applicants provide information about their prior cannabis use. However, SB 700 does not prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history if doing so is otherwise permitted by law, such as from a legally obtained criminal history report, and if such information is otherwise lawful for an employer to consider in making employment decisions.

In the wake of SB 700, California employers should review their application process and any pre-employment drug screening protocols, as well as their policies and practices relating to drug screening in connection with hiring, discipline, and termination to ensure they will comply with the new law. We can assist with this process.

California Increases Statewide Paid Sick Leave Minimum to Five Days/40 Hours

Jan 16, 2024 in

Effective January 1, 2024, California Senate Bill (SB) 616 amends the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, increasing the number of paid sick days (or hours) to which California employees are entitled each year from three days (or 24 hours) to five days (or 40 hours). Employers continue to have the option to provide paid sick leave by the accrual or lump sum (front load) methodologies.

Under the accrual method, the amended law now requires employers who use this method to ensure an employee will accrue no less than five days (or 40 hours) of accrued sick leave by the 200th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period. Additionally, for employers using the accrual method, the new law increases the accrual and carryover cap to 10 days or 80 hours. There is no carryover required for employers using the lump sum method.

Employers are not required to pay out an employee for accrued but unused paid sick days at the end of employment, although employers must reinstate unused paid sick days if an employee is rehired within one year. They must also provide employees with written notice that lists the amount of paid sick leave available either on the wage statement or in a separate writing provided on the pay date.

Employers should revise their handbooks and policies to reflect this important change in the law. We can help with this.

Another Statewide Minimum Wage Increase Effective Jan. 1, 2024

Jan 12, 2024 in

On January 1, 2024, the California statewide minimum wage will increase to $16 per hour. The minimum salary for exempt employees will rise from $64,480 to $66,560. In addition to the increase in the state minimum wage, many localities have their own minimum wage requirements that are higher than the state’s minimum wage.

Certain specific industry employers, such as healthcare facilities and fast-food workers, also have unique minimum wage increases that become effective later in the year. Healthcare facility workers, for example, will enjoy an increased minimum wage beginning June 1, 2024, ranging from $18 to $23 per hour, depending on the size and location of the facility. The minimum wage for fast food workers will also increase to $20 per hour beginning April 1, 2024.

Employers with questions or concerns about the new minimum wage, particularly in the context of ensuring exempt employees meet the applicable salary threshold, should contact us.

California Further Restricts Employee Non-Compete Agreements

Oct 12, 2023 in

SB 669, effective January 1, 2024, expands California’s restrictions on employee non-compete agreements. Such agreements are already void in California under Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600, with limited exception, such as the sale or dissolution of a business. SB 669 adds Bus. & Prof. Code Sec. 16600.5, which expands these restrictions to include agreements created out-of-state and also creates new enforcement rights for employees to challenge non-compete clauses.

Specifically, Section 16600.5 will bar “an employer or former employer from attempting to enforce a contract that is void regardless of whether the contract was signed and the employment was maintained outside of California.”

California’s prohibition against non-competes is not new. We have long counseled clients, as an alternative to unenforceable non-compete agreements, as well as agreements barring the solicitation of customers, clients or employees, to prohibit the use of confidential or proprietary information to compete or solicit customers or employees. While this remains a legally viable option, it is crucial (1) that confidentially agreements be carefully drafted to protect confidential information and limit its use; and (2) to take steps to ensure such information is demonstrably treated as confidential within the organization.

Governor Signs Increase to California Paid Sick Leave

Oct 10, 2023 in

Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 616, which, effective January 1, 2024, expands California’s statewide paid sick leave law to increase mandatory sick leave for employees from three days or twenty-four hours to five days or forty hours.

Employers may continue to use alternative methods to provide paid sick leave: accrual and front-loading. Under SB 616, employers may continue the accrual method, to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked, so long as an employee has accrued forty hours or five days by the end of the 200th calendar day of employment. Alternatively, employers may continue to frontload the entire paid sick leave amount.

SB 616 also increases the accrual cap for paid sick leave accrual at eighty hours or ten days. Currently, employers may limit paid sick leave accrual to forty-eight hours or six days. This amendment brings the entire state more in line with several municipalities which had instituted in piecemeal fashion more generous paid sick leave requirements since the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) was first enacted in 2014.

This is a significant development for employers throughout California. With slightly less than three (3) months to prepare, employers should take this opportunity to revise policies and handbooks and conduct necessary training. We are here to assist with this process, including handbook updates.

Pending Legislation Could More Than Double Employer’s Paid Sick Leave Obligation

Jun 23, 2023 in

California Senate Bill (SB) 616 proposes to expand the number of paid sick days California employers must offer to employees from 3 days (24 hours) to 7 days (56 hours). SB 616 will still permit employers to use either the lump-sum or accrual methodology, with some adjustment to the accrual method.

SB 616 would also increase the minimum accrual cap (including carry over). The current minimum accrual cap is 48 hours, or 6 days. The proposed Bill would increase the cap to 112 hours, or 14 days. We will continue to monitor this Bill and provide guidance.


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