US Supreme Court Splits the Baby on Arbitrability of PAGA Claims

By Megan S. Shaked and Samuel S. Rose

In the latest chapter in the enforceability of employment arbitration agreements in California, the United States Supreme Court in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (Viking River) weighed in on whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts California Supreme Court precedent set in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation (2014) preventing the enforceability of California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) waivers.

In Iskanian, the California Supreme Court held, in part, that the FAA does not preempt state law prohibiting waiver of PAGA representative actions in employment agreements.  Specifically, the California Supreme Court determined that “an arbitration agreement requiring an employee as a condition of employment to give up the right to bring representative PAGA actions in any forum is contrary to public policy.”

Now with the Viking decision, rather than treating a PAGA waiver as simply unenforceable in its entirety, the US Supreme Court, relying on a severability clause in the arbitration agreement at issue, decided that 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

[Client Alert] New California Employment Laws for 2021 Will Leave Their Mark

By Andrew SommerFred Walter, and Megan Shaked

2020 has been another banner year for California employment laws, with legislation and Cal/OSHA rulemaking associated with COVID-19 prevention and reporting taking center stage.  In our annual update of new employment laws impacting California private sector employers, we lead off with California’s COVID-19 related laws, given their far-reaching impact on the state’s workforce during the pandemic as employers continue to implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.  We have also addressed other substantive legislative developments, particularly in the areas of wage and hour law and reporting of employee pay data.  Unless otherwise indicated, these new laws will take effect on January 1, 2021.

COVID-19 Related Rulemaking and Legislation

Temporary Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Rule Not to be outdone by Virginia OSHA, Oregon OSHA or Michigan OSHA, Cal/OSHA adopted an onerous COVID-19 specific temporary emergency regulation effective November 30, 2020.  Below is a detailed summary of how we got here, as well as an outline of what the rule requires.

On November 19, 2020, the California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) voted unanimously to adopt an Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Rule following a contentious public hearing with over 500 participants in attendance (albeit virtually).  The Emergency Rule was then presented to California’s Office of Administrative Law for approval and publication.  The Rule brings with it a combination of requirements overlapping with and duplicative of already-existing state and county requirements applicable to employers, as well as a number of new and, in some cases, very burdensome compliance obligations.

The Standards Board’s emergency rulemaking was triggered last May with the submission of a Petition for an emergency rulemaking filed by worker advocacy group WorkSafe and National Lawyers’ Guild, Labor & Employment Committee.  The Petition requested the Board amend Title 8 standards to create two new regulations Continue reading