E-Blasts

California Court Reaffirms Long Standing Rule That PAGA Claims Can’t Be Waived

By: Rebecca Hause-Schultz

This week a California appellate court unanimously ruled an employer cannot force arbitration in a PAGA lawsuit brought by a former employee. The Court reaffirmed its longstanding rule that a PAGA claim may not be waived between the employer and employee through an arbitration agreement.

 

In Aguirre v. Prudential Overall Supply, a former office manager of a facility operated by Prudential Overall Supply (“Prudential”) brought a wage and hour lawsuit under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). Prudential, an industrial uniform supplier, attempted to enforce a binding arbitration agreement entered into by both parties. The arbitration agreement at issue included a waiver of any claims related to her individual employment and of any claims brought on a representative or class member basis.

The Court held that a PAGA lawsuit is not waivable in arbitration agreements. The Court stated that the since State of California is the “party” in a PAGA claim, an employee may not agree to arbitrate the PAGA claim in arbitration since the State did not consent.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

This case re-affirms the long-standing rule that PAGA claims are not subject to employment arbitration agreements. However, arbitration remains a tool Companies may use to resolve other types of litigation. If you have questions regarding your wage and hour practices or arbitration please contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.

CDC Redefines “Close Contact” in their Latest Update

By: Rebecca Hause-Schultz

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently updated its definition of a “close contact” exposure to COVID-19. The new guidance now states a “close contact” exposure to the novel coronavirus to means someone who was within six (6) feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of fifteen (15) minutes. In prior guidelines, “close contract” exposure was defined as someone who was within six (6) feet of an infected person for fifteen (15) consecutive minutes or longer.

The difference is the subtle change of terminology regarding the time limit of exposure. With this new expansive definition, an individual will have to account for the total amount of time they were in contact with an infected person.

This is important because self-quarantine rules are based on the CDC’s “close contact” definition. For example, based on the prior CDC guidelines, a person who was not around an infected person for 15 consecutive minutes would not have to quarantine. Now, with the updated guidelines, an individual who was around an infected person for at least 15 cumulative minutes throughout the day, will have to quarantine.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

Employers should readjust their COVID-19 exposure policies to include this new definition. If you have questions regarding your company’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Prevention Plan, please contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.

Gig Workers Are Back in the Spotlight with the California Supreme Court

Written By: Rebecca Schach

The California Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on November 3, 2020, to address whether the decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court applies retroactively.

As a refresher, the Dynamex decision adopted the “ABC test” for determining whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor. The “test” creates a presumption that an individual is an employee unless the employer can establish that the individual is free from control, performs work outside the hiring entity’s business, and engages in independently established trade or occupation.

The California Legislature then passed Assembly Bill 5 (“AB 5”) on January 1, 2020. While certain provisions of AB 5 apply retroactively, the Court’s decision in this pending case will have a huge impact on litigation and employee classifications.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

While the Supreme Court has not yet heard oral arguments on this issue, we will keep you updated when the Court issues its opinion. If you have questions about how your company’s employee classification policy, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.

Election Day Ahead!

By: Rebecca Hause-Schultz

Employers should anticipate that many employees will be casting their ballots on Election Day. Employers should verify their written policies governing employees’ ability to take time off to vote are compliant state law. California Elections Code requires employers post notice reminding employees they are entitled to take paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections. A sample notice from is available here in English and here in Spanish.

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