On December 17, 2021, in a “Friday Night Surprise” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the Stay on the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  This seminal ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees and requires that employees be either (1) vaccinated; or (2) weekly tested and fully masked if unvaccinated.  While it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the ETS stands, OSHA has already stated that they will begin enforcement of the ETS in January 2022.  Specifically, OSHA will enforce all requirements except testing for unvaccinated employees beginning January 10, 2022, and enforcement related to testing will begin February 9, 2022.

Continue Reading OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Survival Guide

In October 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a sweeping package of six bills aimed at reducing plastic waste, improving recycling efforts, and clarifying labeling standards for recyclables and compostables.  These new laws will likely mean significant changes for many companies.  They come at a time when multiple states are passing similar environmentally focused bills, signaling a renewed effort to promote recycling and regulate green advertising.

Continue Reading California Passes Sweeping Package of “Green” Bills

The FTC has sent a strong message to industry that it plans to hold companies responsible for using endorsements and customer testimonials that deceive consumers.  The recent warning signals the FTC’s focus on fake reviews and endorsements and the agency’s intent to hold brands and advertising service providers accountable where necessary.  The agency is paying particularly close attention to how brands communicate with customers through third party influencers on social media.

Continue Reading FTC Signals Plan to Enforce Civil Penalties for Deceptive Endorsements

On October 28, the FTC issued a new enforcement policy statement warning companies against deploying “illegal dark patterns” that trick or trap consumers into subscription services, and often making websites difficult to navigate to find cancellation or refund options.  The statement is intended to assist marketers by providing specific guidance on the FTC’s interpretation of existing law as it applies to “negative option marketing” through deceptive sign up tactics, including unauthorized charges or ongoing billing that is impossible to cancel.  The policy statement notes that “[n]egative option offers come in a variety of forms, but all share a central feature: each contains a term or condition under which the seller may interpret a consumer’s silence or failure to take affirmative action to reject a good or service or to cancel the agreement as acceptance or continuing acceptance of the offer.”  Examples include automatic renewals, free trials that convert to pay features, and continuous periodic shipments that continue until the customer cancels the shipment.
Continue Reading FTC to Increase Enforcement Against “Dark Patterns” Directed at Consumers

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

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

To close out the 2021 legislative season, Governor Gavin Newsom signed dozens of bills into law, many of which directly affect California employers.  In addition to the coverage in prior blog posts, which are linked below, this article provides an overview of key new employment laws.

Continue Reading 2021 California Legislative Update: California’s New Employment Laws

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) published an order strengthening the COVID-19 safety requirements applicable to many business establishments and even spaces in the City and County of San Francisco (the “Order”).  As outlined below, the Order requires significant new vaccine mandates for San Francisco businesses operating (1) Indoor Food and Drink and Fitness Facilities; and (2) Large Outdoor and Indoor Events.  The Order also includes additional requirements for certain health care and congregate living facilities, and more information on these requirements is posted here.

Continue Reading San Francisco Mandates Proof of Full Vaccination for Entry Into Many Establishments

California has issued new guidance for the use of face coverings that will take effect on June 15, 2021.  The guidance impacts retailers and coincides with news that approximately 47% of Californians are now fully vaccinated.  Although the new guidance, published by the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”), will impact how retailers operate vis-à-vis public patrons, it does not impact employer-employee obligations.  Those obligations are still governed by the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), and in some cases, the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard.  You can find our blog about these standards here.
Continue Reading Face-Covering Considerations for Retailers in a Post-Color Tiered California