Seyfarth Synopsis: On Monday, September 27, Governor Newsom signed a number of employment-related bills, including bills aimed at combatting wage theft and wage/hour violations by garment manufacturers, all of which go into effect on January 1, 2022. The Governor also vetoed two measures by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez aimed at paid family leave and recall rights for hotel workers.
Seyfarth Synopsis: On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) provided some much needed clarity in its updated COVID-19 Related Guidance. The Guidance answers many pressing questions for employers regarding COVID-19, including the all-important question: Can employers mandate their employees to get a vaccine?
In short, yes, California employers may require their employees to …
Continue Reading Updated DFEH Guidance on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies
Seyfarth Synopsis: In a simpler time, courts reviewing medical cannabis laws issued employer-friendly decisions, generally finding no duty to accommodate medical cannabis even when state laws allowed its use for medical purposes. Now, however, the tide is rapidly turning. Where does California employment law currently stand on cannabis? Below we address burning issues regarding accommodations and drug testing.
Seyfarth Synopsis: It has long been clear that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California law protect employees who suffer from alcoholism if it qualifies as a “disability.” Although courts have recognized the right of an employer to have legitimate work rules that prohibit alcohol use in the workplace, the line between having a protected disability and engaging …
Continue Reading Addressing Alcoholism in the California Workplace
Seyfarth Synopsis: California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has just issued its Annual Report on civil rights complaints during 2016. Here are some highlights.
The DFEH hails as the largest state civil rights agency in the country, with 220 full-time employees operating out of five offices throughout California. Its annual report makes clear that its core work is litigation.
Continue Reading Hot Off The Press! DFEH’s Annual Report
Seyfarth Synopsis: The Court of Appeal, on rehearing, has superseded a 2016 decision that employers must reasonably accommodate work restrictions because of the disabilities of the employee’s associates. The superseding opinion recognizes that employers have no established duty to provide accommodations because of the disability of an employee’s associates.
Seyfarth’s One Minute Memo readers will recall that we reported, back…
Continue Reading Something We Said? Court Backs Off Accommodation Duty For Associational Disability
Seyfarth Synopsis: New legislation effective 2017 will expand California workers’ compensation coverage by requiring coverage for certain high-level individuals unless they affirmatively opt out and waive coverage, thereby reversing the prior rule by which those individuals, to get coverage, had to opt in.
As a general rule, California employers must provide employees with workers’ compensation insurance coverage for work-related and…
Continue Reading New Year, New Workers’ Comp “Opt Out” Rule For Execs
With the 2016 hiring season well under way, California employers are well advised to reconsider their use of criminal records in making hiring decisions. Although employers are probably aware of “ban the box” and other legislative initiatives, they may not be as familiar with the liability exposure they may create by when using blanket policies to reject applicants because of…
Continue Reading Handling Applicant Criminal Records to Avoid Disability Discrimination Claims
We all know that agency regulations can be informative guidance but, by their nature, extremely detailed and—let’s face it—dry as toast. The new disability regulations, which went into effect on December 30, 2012, are no exception.
The regulations seek to “clarify” statutory definitions and employers’ obligations to an employee with an actual or perceived disability. However, these “clarifications” expand employers burdens under California law.
Expanded Definition Of “Disability” Including:
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- autism spectrum
- heart disease
- multiple sclerosis
- seizure disorder
- clinical depression
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- bipolar disorder
Before the regulations: Whether these conditions met the definition of “disability” under California law was subject to debate, as many other conditions.
After the regulations: Not much to debate. The new regulations specifically say that the analysis as to whether a condition is a disability should not be extensive, regardless if it is a condition explicitly recognized by regulations as such.
Expanded Definition of “Major Life Activities”: The definition of “major life activities” now includes sleeping, thinking, and interacting with others (which implies that social disorders will now also be considered disabilities).
How To Determine When Functions Are Essential? The regulations provide additional guidance as to when a job function is essential. Updated and accurate job descriptions are crucial and are now actually required by the regulations. Performance evaluations will also assist in determining whether a function is essential.
The Growing List Of Reasonable Accommodations: Similar to the new pregnancy disability regulations that we discussed here and here, the disability regulations include a broader list of reasonable accommodations.
Continuing in this series on new California regs, this post calls out three additional areas where the pregnancy disability regulations have changed as of January 1, 2013. Last time, we talked about expanded definitions, time periods for leave, and required notices. This time, we are talking reinstatement, interplay with other leaves and reasonable accommodation. For a deeper dive, you’ll have …
Continue Reading What To Expect When Your Employees Are Expecting: The New Pregnancy Disability Regulations (Part Two)