California Confirms Meal and Rest Period Claims are a Hook for Attorney’s Fees Awards

By Samuel Rose and Megan Shaked

A few months ago, we wrote a blog article on the California Supreme Court’s decision in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., which held that premium pay for meal and rest break violations is considered “wages,” paving the way to award waiting time and wage statement penalties based on meal/rest period violations alone. We noted that the practical impact of the Naranjo decision could be to encourage class action and PAGA (Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act) litigation within California by providing further remedies in meal and rest period litigation and inflating the settlement value of these cases.

Now, we are starting to see the real impacts of the Naranjo decision. The California Court of Appeal has issued its decision in Betancourt v. OS Restaurant Services, LLC after remand from the Supreme Court with instructions to reconsider its initial opinion in light of Naranjo. Originally, the Court of Appeal decided in Betancourt that, based on Kirby v. Inmoos Fire Protection, Inc. (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1244, an action brought for failure to provide meal and rest breaks is not based on nonpayment of wages. That meant that the Plaintiff could not recover for waiting time penalties and wage statement violations, and that the Plaintiff could not recover attorney fees under Labor Code section 218.5(a).

In applying Naranjo, the Court of Appeal in Betancourt had to reverse course, confirming that Continue reading

[Webinar] Wage and Hour Best Practices

On Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 1 p.m. EST, join Andrew J. Sommer and Ashley D. Mitchell for a webinar regarding Wage and Hour Best Practices.

Employers are subject to numerous federal and state laws governing employee wages, the hours of work for which an employee must be paid, and the frequency and duration of breaks an employee is entitled to during the workday. Wage and hour issues are further complicated by a shift to remote work during the pandemic. Even the best-intentioned employers could face a multimillion-dollar wage and hour class action. This webinar will give you a blueprint for best practices and common pitfalls to avoid and mitigate the risk of future wage and hour litigation.

Participants in this webinar will learn about: Continue reading

DC Walks Back Certain Aspects of its Pending Ban on Non-Compete Agreements

DC employers may be aware of the District of Columbia’s impending ban on non-compete agreements, which originally was scheduled to become effective on October 1, 2021 and which was set to become one of the most explicit bans on non-compete agreements in the nation.

"upset,At,You,For,Breaching,The,Non-compete?,Of,Course,Not."The initial iteration of the law, titled the “District of Columbia Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 (the “Act”), prohibited employers from requiring employees who perform work in Washington D.C. (or a prospective employee whom the employer reasonably anticipated would perform work in Washington, DC), from signing any agreement that included a non-compete provision.  The Act also made it unlawful for employers to have any workplace policy prohibiting employees from (i) being employed by another person; (ii) performing work or providing services for pay for another person; or (iii) operating their own business.  In other words, the Act rendered virtually all non-compete provisions unenforceable and forbade employers from instituting workplace policies, such as anti-moonlighting rules, that limit employees’ ability to work for other people or start their own business.

However, along with the effective date of the Act being delayed several times (first to April 1, 2022 and now to October 1, 2022), the D.C. Council recently passed the Non-Compete Clarification Amendment Act of 2022 (the “Clarification Amendment Act”), which tempers certain aspects of the law.

First, the Clarification Amendment Act explains that Continue reading

Both Employees and Employers Benefit from Revisions to Washington, D.C. Paid Leave Law

Just two years after the enactment of Universal Paid Family Leave Act, it appears that thousands of private-sector employees in Washington, D.C. will receive a substantial increase in the annual amount of paid leave to which they are entitled. At the same time, D.C. employers will receive a significant tax cut to the amount they are required to pay to fund this program.Retro,Styled,Alarm,Clock,Covered,Pile,Of,Money,Isolated,On

The Universal Paid Family Leave Act, which took effect in July 2020, allows eligible D.C. employees to take up to (i) eight weeks for parental leave; (ii) six weeks for family medical leave; and (iii) six weeks for personal medical leave.  This program, which is funded through employer-paid taxes, has cost less than previously forecast and now has excess funds. 

As a result, in a letter sent last week to Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, D.C.’s Acting Chief Financial Officer Fitzroy Lee stated that by as early as July 1, 2022, employees will now receive (i) twelve weeks for parental leave; (ii) twelve weeks for family medical leave; and (iii) twelve weeks for personal medical leave. In other words, eligible employees will now be able to take double the amount of paid leave for family medical leave and personal medical leave, and 66% more parental leave, than they currently receive. Eligible employees also will now be entitled to a new benefit of two weeks of paid prenatal leave, which was not previously available.

Employees will not be the sole beneficiary to the changes to the Universal Paid Family Leave Act.  Because of the excess funds currently available, the private employers who pay for this leave program will Continue reading

DOL Sues Employer Over Pile of Pennies

By Lindsay A. DiSalvo

Pennies,Coins,MoneyWe thought it would be a good break from all the COVID-19-related coverage to delve into a retaliation case under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) through the lens of an interesting recent complaint filed by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) involving…a huge pile of pennies. A review of the case addresses both the types of actions that would be considered retaliatory under the law, as well as the significance of proximity when analyzing the viability of a case of retaliation. The facts as alleged by the DOL also act as a warning against the role internet postings can play in supporting a legal action.

Facts as Asserted in the Complaint

Though somewhat extraordinary, the facts in the case seem fairly straightforward. Per the DOL’s Complaint, Continue reading

[Webinar] Avoiding Common Pitfalls of Company Trade Secret and Non-Compete/Non-Solicit Agreements

On Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. ET, join Jordan B. Schwartz and Megan S. Shaked for a webinar regarding Common Pitfalls of Company Trade Secret and Non-Compete/Non-Solicit Agreements.

Employment agreements and settlement agreements can be an effective way to address employer concerns regarding unfair competition and trade secret protections. Equally important is avoiding the pitfalls of non-compliant provisions. This webinar will review the scope of permissible provisions relating to non-compete and other restrictive covenants, state law efforts to push back on overly broad and restrictive agreements, and best practices for avoiding potential employment claims.

Participants in this webinar will learn: Continue reading

Employee Handbooks, Training, and Internal Audits [Webinar Recording]

On September 21, 2021, Aaron R. Gelb and Beeta B. Lashkari presented a webinar regarding Employee Handbooks, Training, and Internal Audits.

While few, if any, employers had time to develop state-of-the-art policies or revamp their training programs in 2020 for matters unrelated to COVID-19, they would be wise to consider taking proactive steps as the world returns to some semblance of normalcy. As employees begin to focus on more mundane matters, they would do well to remember that a well-drafted, up-to-date employee handbook tailored to your organization is an essential element of your compliance program. Effective and engaging training is necessary to communicate your policies and priorities to your employees, and to ensure your managers understand their roles and what is expected of them. A state-of-the-art handbook and top-shelf training will be of little value, however, if your employees and/or managers are not following those policies, it is critical that you conduct compliance audits to ensure your organization is walking the talk.

Participants in this webinar learned: Continue reading

Employee Misconduct Defense, Discipline, and Employment Law Issues [Webinar Recording]

On August 11, 2021, Lindsay A. Disalvo and Ashley D. Mitchell presented a webinar regarding Employee Misconduct Defense, Discipline, and Employment Law Issues.

Disciplining employees, a critical tool in enforcing workplace rules, has the potential to create problems, especially when relationships deteriorate and emotions run high. Even in situations where an employer is disciplining for the right reason, if it is handled incorrectly, a costly lawsuit or labor grievance could result. Employers, however, cannot ignore misconduct and/or poor performance that negatively impacts productivity, employee morale, workplace culture, or the organization’s ability to meet key goals. Consistent employee discipline can also benefit employers in litigation, union grievances, and inspections and investigations by the EEOC and OSHA.

This webinar will give you a blueprint to lawfully discipline employee and mitigate the risk of future litigation. Participants in this webinar learned about: Continue reading

[Webinar] Employee Misconduct Defense, Discipline, and Employment Law Issues

On Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. ET, join Mark M. Trapp and Ashley D. Mitchell for a webinar regarding Employee Misconduct Defense, Discipline, and Employment Law Issues.

CaptureDisciplining employees, a critical tool in enforcing workplace rules, has the potential to create problems, especially when relationships deteriorate and emotions run high. Even in situations where an employer is disciplining for the right reason, if it is handled incorrectly, a costly lawsuit or labor grievance could result. Employers, however, cannot ignore misconduct and/or poor performance that negatively impacts productivity, employee morale, workplace culture, or the organization’s ability to meet key goals. Consistent employee discipline can also benefit employers in litigation, union grievances, and inspections and investigations by the EEOC and OSHA.

This webinar will give you a blueprint to lawfully discipline employee and mitigate the risk of future litigation. Participants in this webinar will learn about: Continue reading

[Webinar] Withdrawal Liability and Pensions

CaptureOn Wednesday, April 14th at 1:00 P.M. EST, join Mark M. Trapp for a webinar regarding Withdrawal Liability and Pensions.

This webinar will address the significant challenges faced by companies participating in multiemployer plans. Specifically, it will help unionized employers understand and analyze what is often the most critical challenge facing their business – multiemployer pension withdrawal liability. It will also address pension-related provisions of the recently-enacted American Rescue Plan Act.

Participants will learn about the following: Continue reading