Changes to the Prop 65 Warnings are Due in August- Does it Apply to You?

Author: Wendy Hillger

Proposition 65 requires the State of California to maintain a list of chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.   These warnings apply to landlords, business owners, bars/restaurants, and other retailers.  Businesses with 10 or more employees that expose individuals to listed chemicals through their products or operations generally must provide warnings.  At present, approximately 900 chemicals are required to be disclosed, such as additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Additionally, listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.  These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment.

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Attention (Again) California Restaurant Employers: Congress Changes the Tip Pool Rules

Author: Sean Gentry

Earlier in the year, we reported that the Department of Labor was proposing to rescind prior Federal restrictions on tip-pool arrangements, and that we expect a related decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on those rules.

In a somewhat unexpected turn, Congress decided to directly intervene on the tip-sharing agreements under the Fair Labor Standards Act as a part of a recently-passed spending bill.

Under the new federal law, employers with regularly tipped employees may include a broader group of employees in employer-mandated tip-pool arrangements, including any employees who provide “direct table service” or who are in the “chain of service.”

Image result for tip pooling

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Familial Status Discrimination – Part III: Potential Liability for Landlords

Author: Trina M. Clayton

There has been a marked increase in familial status suits over the past several years, with many more that settle under confidential agreements for monetary damages, making the potential for these claims quite serious.  A landlord found to be in violation of familial status housing laws could incur any number of penalties including:

  • Civil penalties of up to $16,000 for a first violation and $65,000 for future violations;
  • Actual damages to reimburse a tenant or prospective tenant for costs incurred because of the alleged discrimination such as paying for the tenant’s out-of-pocket expenses for finding alternative housing or rent fees associated with alternative housing;
  • Damages to compensate a tenant or prospective tenant who has suffered humiliation, mental anguish or other psychological injuries as a result of the alleged discrimination;
  • Punitive Damages; and
  • Attorney fees

A landlord may also be ordered by the court to take specific action to reverse the alleged discrimination (such as renting to a family which the landlord had initially rejected), and participate in fair housing training.

It is imperative a landlord abide by federal, state and local laws regarding Fair Housing.  For specific legal advice on familial status or other types of housing discrimination, please contact Ad Astra for guidance.

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Independent Contractor or Employee?  Better Take a Second Look

Author: Trina Clayton

On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, which could change the workplace status of people across the state.  With this new ruling, the Supreme Court has clarified the standard for determining whether workers in California should be classified as employees or as independent contractors for purposes of the wage orders adopted by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”).  Most notably, IWC orders apply to issues such as overtime pay and meal and rest break requirements.

The Court’s unanimous decision in Dynamex has particular implications for members of the gig economy, such as Uber, Lyft, and Amazon, as well as members of other industries, including cannabis.

With this recent ruling, the Supreme Court essentially abandoned a standard that California courts had used for 30 years to determine employment status, based largely on how much control a business exercised over wages, hours and working conditions.  Instead, the Court in Dynamex applied the “ABC” standard (used in several other states) which sets out that a California worker is presumed to be an employee, not an independent contractor.  Workers are permitted to be classified as independent contractors only if the hiring business demonstrates that the worker in question satisfies each of three conditions:

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