On Thursday, Governor Newsom ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care, following growing concerns that an increase in coronavirus (COVD-19) cases has been caused by residents failing to voluntarily take such precautions. 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that federal law protects employees who identify of a different sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression from discrimination in the workplace. In Bostock v. Clayton County, the Court considered whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of “sex,” applies to gay and transgender people. 

The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) released a checklist designed for agricultural employers based on a recent interim guidance from the CDC and U.S. Department of Labor. This checklist may be a helpful guidance for employers monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the workplace.

The Checklist (available here) is divided into five primary sections:

This is a friendly reminder for all Santa Rosa businesses that the local minimum wage will increase on July 1, 2020. For employers with 26 or more employees, the new minimum wage will be $15.00 per hour. For employers with 25 or fewer employees the new minimum wage will be $14.00 per hour. This is an increase from the existing minimum wage rates of $13.00 per hour for 26 or more employees and $12.00 per hour for 25 or fewer employees. Santa Rosa has another scheduled minimum wage increase to take effect on January 1, 2021 which will require employers with 25 or fewer employees to pay at least $15.00 per hour and the minimum wage all employers must pay will be adjusted by a Consumer Price Index (CPI). You can find the Official Notice here.

A California Appeals Court ruling earlier this month sends a reminder to employers that class action settlements aren’t always the end of a matter. The lawsuit began as a class action against U.S. Bancorp for wage-and-hour violations including missed meal and rest breaks, and unpaid overtime wages. Scott Williams joined U.S. Bancorp after the lawsuit had been filed and immediately became a member of the class action lawsuit. With the lawsuit still ongoing, Williams filed a second copycat lawsuit against U.S. Bancorp for the same wage-and-hour violations plus unpaid business expenses. The Court reasonably put Williams’ second lawsuit on hold until the first lawsuit was completed. U.S. Bancorp successfully beat back the first lawsuit winning decertification of the class and eventually settled.

Reminder on Outdoor Agricultural Lighting Regulations Effective July 1, 2020

By: The Saqui Law Group and Christina Anton

The California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) approved Cal/OSHA’s new Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness Standard. The new regulation will become effective on July 1, 2020. You may read the full regulation here.

Agricultural employers working outside in post-sunset and pre-sunset hours must comply with the new regulation, which requires:

  • Trucks, tractors and self-propelled equipment must be equipped with lights illuminating ahead and behind between sunset and sunrise; this is a change from the prior rule which required headlights from one hour after sunset until one hour before sunset. The new rule also added “trucks” to the list of covered equipment;
  • Certain illumination levels, which you may read here.

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