On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of a woman challenging her termination for testing positive for medical marijuana use. The six judge panel found in her favor after determining her doctor's prescription for medical marijuana should have been treated as a reasonable accommodation for her disability. While not binding on California courts, it is anticipated that other cases will follow in other states, like California, where medical marijuana is legal under state law, although it remains illegal at the federal level.
On January 7, 2017, we posted a blog on our website titled "AB 1066 - On the Seventh Day Thou Shall Rest?" (http://www.sagaserlaw.com/blog/2017/01/ab-1066---on-the-seventh-day-thou-shall-rest.shtml). We explained that the California Supreme Court would provide guidance - pertaining to the California Labor Code's prohibition of employers causing employees to work more than six days in seven - when it issued its ruling in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc.
Does the Seventh Day of Rest/ One Day's Rest in Seven Rule Apply to California Agricultural Employees starting January 1, 2017?
On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its rule on employers electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. This new rule became effective on August 10, 2016, however OSHA delayed its enforcement until November 1, 2016. Pursuant to this new rule, many employers will be required to submit their summary of injuries and illnesses electronically to OSHA. This new rule requires employers to make sure they have a reasonable procedure for employees to report their work-related injuries and illnesses.
Employers are required to expressly inform employees they have a right to report work-related injuries and illnesses, and inform employees they will not be discriminated against or retaliating against for making such reports. Employers will be required to prove the employees received their reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses policies to employees, however formal training of this policy and procedure will not be required.
AB 1066 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on September 12, 2016.
California Law requires employers to take measures to protect outdoor workers. With summer heat in full swing, it is important for all employers to take precautions. When temperatures are greater than 95 degrees, employers must follow these guidelines:
AB 2757 (Gonzalez), which sought to repeal longstanding law allowing California Agriculture to pay overtime after 10 hours of work in a day failed to pass an Assembly floor vote on June 2, 2016.
Effective January 1, 2016, AB 1513 set minimum standards for piece-rate workers' compensation during rest breaks and recovery time, as well as any other non-productive time required by the employer that is not income generating, such as meetings, trainings, set up time, etc. Within this bill, the California Legislature created a safe harbor for employers that did not compensate piece-rate employees following the Bluford and Gonzales decisions of 2013.
Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations making changes to overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means that, for the first time in many years, California employers must pay attention to the U.S. DOL's changes and comply with overtime rules at both the federal and state levels. The U.S. DOL set a new salary threshold at $47,476 a year, higher than California's current threshold, which is double the current state minimum wage. Since California's minimum wage rose to $10 per hour in January of this year, the state's overtime salary threshold has jumped to $41,600 a year. Because the federal level is higher, California employers will need to follow it to determine which employees are eligible for overtime pay. This rule goes into effect on December 1, 2016. Employee classifications should now be reexamined.