A lot was happening this week in California’s employment law. This week’s Friday’s Five is a round-up on the highlights:
1. Los Angeles City Council votes to require employers to provide 6 days of paid sick leave.
The LA City Council approved a measure to require employers to provide employees up to six paid sick days per year. This is double the requirement under California state law that went into effect July 1, 2015. It is likely that the law will go into effect July 2016. The rules do not apply to small businesses with 25 employees or less until July 2017. The law still must be drafted by the city attorneys.
2. Uber settles class action cases for $100 million.
The settlement was reached this week by Uber to settle two class actions, one pending in California and the other in Massachusetts. The class actions alleged that Uber improperly classified drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, and was seeking damages resulting from the misclassification. The settlement provides $84 million to be distributed to the drivers “in California and Massachusetts who have used the Uber App at any time since August 16, 2009” until the court approves the settlement agreement. The settlement resolves these cases, but Uber will likely have to continually fight this issue. For more on the factors a court would look to in determining if an independent contractor has been misclassified, see my previous articles here.
3. “Restrictive” Scheduling bill is working its way through California’s legislature.
Senate Bill 878 proposes to require retail establishments, grocery stores, and restaurants to set employees schedules 28 days in advance, and impose penalties on the employer if the schedule is modified by the employer. In addition to the “modification pay” the employer would be required to pay to the employee, if the employer does not comply with the proposed law, the bill also adds a $4,000 penalty for failing to accurately provide “modification pay”, another $4,000 penalty for any harm that results to the employee or “another person” due to a violation of the law, and the ability for the employee to bring suit under the Private Attorney Generals Act (PAGA), among other penalties.
4. California HR consulting company cited for $1 million for misclassification of exempt employees.
TriNet Human Resources Corp. provides outsource human resources solutions for small and medium sized business, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor for failing to pay time and a half to 267 employees who worked more than 40 hours per week. The case shows how often times the test to determine if an employee is exempt or nonexempt is not black or white. If an HR company can get into legal trouble over the issue, it shows that employers must approach the exempt classification of employees very carefully.
5. Reminder that California regulations may require an update to sexual harassment policies.
As I’ve written about previously, new regulations issued by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Counsel set for additional steps employers should consider in regards to their discrimination, harassment, and retaliation policies. These regulations are effective April 1, 2016.