E-Blasts

California employers won yet another important victory Friday in the fight to allow the use of mandatory employment arbitration agreements in California.  See our previous articles on AB-51 here and here.  In December, the California Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit challenging AB-51 because it runs afoul of federal arbitration law.

In late December, a federal court in California issued a temporary restraining order blocking AB-51 from taking effect on January 1, 2020 pending an additional hearing scheduled for last Friday. During Friday’s hearing, the court decided the ban on AB-51 should stay in effect until at least January 31, 2020 as the judge further considers arguments from the state and additional case law on the subject matter.  The court previously expressed serious concerns regarding whether the new law is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act and concerns over how this new law will disrupt the current employment agreement process and potentially send a flood of cases to an already over-crowded civil court system.  Therefore, the court ruled that the current ban will stay in place, at least for the remainder of the month, and ideally, through this litigation.

Court Re-Emphasizes Importance of Going and Coming Rule

 By: Rebecca A. Hause-Schultz

The “going and coming” rule says that an employee is generally not acting within the scope of employment when going to or coming from the employee’s regular place of work. In a recent case, Plaintiffs argued that an employer was responsible for an employee’s accident because the employer knew or ought to have known that the employee’s workers’ compensation related back injury and medications prescribed to him because of the back injury made him a “dangerous commuter.” You can read the case here.

The court said Plaintiffs’ “dangerous commuter” argument ignored that the employee’s physician approved of his return to work and did not place any driving restrictions on him. The court said that the “going and coming” rule was created for exactly this circumstance, and said Plaintiffs could not continue their case against the employer.

The New Year brings with it some noteworthy new laws for 2020.  The following are reminders on several new laws that all California employers should be aware of.   

AB 5: Employees and Independent Contractors.

Effective January 1, 2020, Assembly Bill 5 codified the Dynamex decision regarding whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor.  Under the so-called “ABC Test,” workers in California are considered employees, rather than independent contractors, unless a business can show that the worker is (a) free from its supervision, (b) performs work that is outside the usual course or place of business, and (c) works in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature. 

It's time to sign up for the 2020 Yuma/Winterhaven H-2A Roundtable Session! The cost to attend is $25 per person and you can register by following the link at the bottom of the flyer.

We will continue to inform you of upcoming seminar dates and locations. We are here when you need us!

California employers won an important victory this week in the fight to allow the use of mandatory employment arbitration agreements in California.  See our December 13, 2019 article here on AB-51.  In that article, we advised that the California Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit challenging AB-51 because it runs afoul of federal arbitration law. 

Ringing in the New Year with Increases for H-2A Visa Program

 By: Rebecca Schach

The Department of Labor (DOL) is wishing everyone happy holidays this week by slapping on increased rates for the H-2A visa program. Each year the DOL is responsible for setting the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (“AEWR”) for the H-2A seasonal guest worker program in agriculture. AEWRs are the minimum wage rates the DOL has determined that ag employers must pay to H-2A workers and domestic workers in corresponding employment for a particular occupation and location (by state). In the current year, the AEWR for California has been $13.92. Starting January 2, 2020, California ag employers will be required to pay $14.77 hourly. By comparison, the California minimum wage starting in 2020 will be $13.00 hourly for employers with 26 or more employees.

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