The U.S. Supreme Court Has Decided: LGBTQ Employees are Entitled to Protections under Title VII

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis that is predicted to be as bad as the great depression, and unrest over racial inequality and police brutality that is giving birth to a global movement for social change, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (Case No. 17–1618) on June 15, 2020 and announced with finality that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.   

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Business Owners – Planning Can Help Prevent Employer Liability During Civil Unrest

by Shauna N. Correia
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

My colleague Brendan Begley blogged last week about the risks employers face due to the threat of COVID-19 in the workplace.  As he noted, employees have the right to expect employers to follow city, county, and state orders and take reasonable precautions to minimize the risk to a known “direct threat” to health and safety.

Now, in the wake of the horrific death of George Floyd 10 days ago, the citizens of our nation have risen up to demand racial equality and an end to systemic injustice. 

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Inoculating Against the Coming Spread of Employee Lawsuits Related to COVID-19

by Brendan J. Begley
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

As workplaces begin reopening in the coming weeks, attorneys are predicting a rash of lawsuits by employees against their employers related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It seems clear that workers-compensation preemption may immunize employers from most civil actions alleging that employees became infected with the virus on the job.  However, other types of employee lawsuits may reach fever pitch.

There does not appear to be any vaccination to alleviate many of the anticipated claims. 

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The DFEH’s Free On-Line Sexual Harassment Prevention Training For Non-Supervisors is FINALLY Available

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On May 20, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced that it has finally launched free anti-sexual harassment training for non-supervisory employees. The online training, which is available through DFEH’s website – https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/shpt/ – will meet an employer’s obligation to provide training to non-supervisory employees by January 1, 2021.

Section 12950.1 of the California Government Code requires employers with five or more employees to provide at least one-hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment prevention to all non-supervisory employees in California.

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California Continues to Work With Counties for the Slow Re-Opening of the State

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

This is a follow up to our previous blog regarding California’s gradual entry into Stage 2 of the State’s re-opening plan – termed the “Resilience Roadmap.”  As Governor Newsom announced on Tuesday, May 13, 2020, counties are able to, and are, submitting their attestations to the State to speed up the reopening of certain businesses within their counties.  As such, the gradual reopening of businesses in Stage 2 is a fluid and rapidly evolving process driven not only by the State’s decisions on what businesses can and cannot reopen (on a modified basis) at this time,

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EEOC Again Updates its Guidance & FAQ’s Regarding COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

by Katie A. Collins
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

The EEOC has updated its COVID-19 Guidance once again by adding a number of new FAQs to address issues related to the anticipated re-entry into the workplace.  The new FAQs discuss things like: an employer’s right to screen employees before entering the workplace to avoid a “direct threat” to the health and safety of employees; documentation to support an employee’s request for an accommodation; and “undue hardship” considerations when denying an accommodation based on the impact of COVID-19 on the business. 

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Governor Newsom Announces the Gradual Beginning of Stage 2 of California’s Re-Opening Plan

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On May 7, 2020, Governor Newsom announced the plan to gradually move into Stage 2 of the State’s Re-opening Plan beginning May 8, 2020.  In addition to the Governor’s announcement in his press conference, the California Department of Public Health issued industry-specific guidance and checklists for phased reopening under the State’s “Resilience Roadmap.”

Under the current State Shelter-in-Place Order, only essential businesses and workplaces are permitted to be open.  However, the State says that as of May 8,

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California Employers Likely Immune To Employee COVID-19 Lawsuits, But More Susceptible To COVID-19 Workers-Compensation Claims

by Brendan J. Begley
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

Recent news reports, like this one from the Los Angeles Times, indicate that Congress is hotly debating a proposed law to immunize employers from lawsuits alleging that their workers contracted COVID-19 illness on the job.  While business owners in California may suffer headaches or congestion from other types of lawsuits related to COVID-19 in the workplace, exposure to employee lawsuits of this kind is probably not a feverish worry.

That is because,

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Emergency Paid Sick Leave Now Available for Employees of Large Employers in California’s Food Supply Sector

by Lukas Clary
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government recently passed emergency legislation making up to two weeks of paid sick leave benefits available to employees who are forced to miss work for reasons relating to COVID-19. We previously blogged about the paid sick leave made available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) here and here. The FFCRA’s paid sick leave, however, is not available to employees of large employers,

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Finally – SBA Guidance on an Employer’s PPP Loan Forgiveness When Employees Refuse to Return to Work  

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On May 3, 2020, the SBA updated its FAQs regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) under the CARES Act.  Among other things, the updated FAQs finally addressed this issue:  What happens to an employer’s ability to have its PPP loan forgiven if employees refuse to return from layoff and thus an employer cannot meet the required full-time employee ratio in connection with the required 75% expenditure of loan proceeds on “payroll costs” during the 8-week Coverage Period?

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