On September 27, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 62, also known as the Garment Worker Protection Act, into law.  SB 62 makes California the first state to require an hourly minimum wage for garment workers by banning piece rate pay.  SB 62 expands the definition of a garment manufacturer and extends the scope of liability for wage and hour violations to clothing brands—and likely some retailers.  Under SB 62, “any person contracting for the performance of garment manufacturing” is joint and severally liable with any of their manufacturers and contractors, thus creating upstream responsibility for unpaid wages, attorney’s fees, and civil penalties arising from Labor Code violations.  Although the new law does not become effective until January 1, 2022, companies that contract or subcontract for garment manufacturing, or have employees who perform garment manufacturing functions in California, should begin familiarizing themselves with SB 62 and determining whether/how it affects their business.
Continue Reading California Passes Law Establishing New Wage and Hour Requirements for Employers in the Garment Industry

Most employers are expected to pass on the IRS’ offer to temporarily delay collecting Social Security taxes.  For background, both employers and employees are generally required to pay a Social Security tax at a flat rate of 6.2% (for a total of 12.4%) on all wages.  In a separate article from our Corporate and Securities Blog, we discussed how the CARES Act allows employers to delay paying the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes.
Continue Reading To Defer or Not Defer? IRS Issues Guidance Temporarily Delaying the Collection of Social Security Taxes

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the governor’s approval of the bill.

On March 18, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed a bill guaranteeing job-protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19. The law is more narrow than the version Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday, which included a statewide sick program that would have remained in effect beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The provisions of the legislation are set to take effect immediately.
Continue Reading Empire State of Mind: Governor Cuomo Proposes Bill to Provide Immediate Assistance for New Yorkers Impacted by COVID-19

As described in a previous blog post, New York’s 2019 Budget created significant new responsibilities for employers in the state with respect to sexual harassment prevention. As of October 9, 2018, all employers in New York State are required to: (i) circulate a policy prohibiting sexual harassment that complies with state requirements; and (ii) conduct annual sexual harassment training for all employees in accordance with state standards.
Continue Reading New York State Employers Take Note!!! Compliance With New Sexual Harassment Law Required By October 9, 2018

On Monday, April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the matter of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles. In a voluminous, 82-page decision, the California Supreme Court reinterpreted and ultimately rejected the Borello test for determining whether workers should be classified as either employees or independent contractors for the purposes of the wage orders adopted by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) in favor of a worker-friendly standard that may upend the existing independent contractor labor market.

In particular, the Court embraced a standard presuming that all workers are employees instead of contractors, and placed the burden on any entity classifying an individual as an independent contractor of establishing that such classification is proper under the newly adopted “ABC test” which will be discussed in further detail below.
Continue Reading The Dynamex Decision: The California Supreme Court Restricts Use of Independent Contractors

On April 12, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the 2019 budget for the State of New York (the “Budget”) which dramatically changed the landscape of obligations which New York employers are to their employees.  Beyond allocating financial resources, the Budget includes a new change to New York law requiring New York employers to conduct annual sexual harassment training for all employees in accordance with state standards.  Viewed as a response to the #MeToo movement, the Budget tasks the New York State Department of Labor and New York State Division of Human Rights with creating an interactive model sexual harassment training program for employers in the state, which shall contain the following elements:
Continue Reading #MeToo Mobilizes State Legislatures, Creates New Training Obligations For Employers

Overview

Retailers and other employers regularly consider the backgrounds of job applicants and employees when making personnel decisions. It is not illegal for employers to ask questions about an applicant’s criminal history, or to require a background check. However, whenever an employer requests background information about a job applicant or employee, the employer must comply with federal and state laws. Within the last five years, employers have been put under increased scrutiny, especially when they require criminal background checks during the hiring process. This article summarizes recent legal trends regarding criminal background checks in the employment context, and discusses how employers—particularly those within the retail industry—can ensure compliance with the law.
Continue Reading “Ban the Box” and Background Checks – Recent Trends and Movements