Today, the United States Supreme Court finally resolved the split of authority among federal circuit courts as to the enforceability of class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements. In issuing its much anticipated opinion in NLRB v. Murphy Oil Co., Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris and Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, the Supreme Court held that class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements do NOT violate the National Labor Relations Act and are therefore enforceable. This is good news for employers everywhere and a prime opportunity to consider updating employment arbitration agreements to include class action waivers.
On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018 Cal. LEXIS 3152) wherein it decided what standard applies, under California law, to determine whether workers should be classified as employees or as independent contractors for purposes of California wage orders (which impose obligations relating to, among other things, minimum wages, maximum hours and required meal and rest breaks). In holding that the wage order's definition of "employ" must be used to determine independent contractor versus employee status ("employ," meaning "(a) to exercise control over the wages, hours, or working conditions, or (b) to suffer or permit to work, or (c) to engage, thereby creating a common law employment relationship"), the Court explained what it means to "suffer or permit" an individual to work:
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor issued several Opinion Letters, including one addressing the compensability of fifteen minute rest breaks required every hour due to a non-exempt employee's serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").
The Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") currently requires that employers with 50 or more employees provide sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees. This training must first take place within six months of promotion/hire to the supervisory position and must thereafter occur at least once every two years. Effective January 1, 2018, FEHA requires that such training also include training on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
California Labor Code § 226(a) requires employers to provide accurate, itemized wage statements that show, among other things, gross and net wages earned, total hours worked, all applicable hourly rates, total deductions, the dates of the pay period, and the employee's name and the last four digits of his Social Security number or an employee identification number. § 226(e) entitles an employee bringing suit in his or her individual capacity to recover penalties of up to $4,000, plus attorney's fees and costs if he or she establishes that an employer "knowingly and intentionally" failed to comply with § 226(a) and that he or she suffered "injury" as a result.