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BUBBLER – California Keeps Saying No(vember)

In addition to death and taxes, there’s one more certainty in life -- that California’s General Assembly will keep employment lawyers in business.  In September and October, California enacted a pair of ground-shifting new laws that practically scream “NO” to employers.  These new laws are causing employers to scramble.  First, California codified its Supreme Court’s independent contractor test in AB 5, which presumes that most workers are employees unless the hiring entity establishes three conditions.  The law carves out and codifies exceptions to the presumption for certain categories of workers that have long been treated as independent contractors.  Then, late last month, California purportedly prohibited employers from requiring employees to arbitrate their employment disputes.  While the bill permits truly voluntary arbitration agreements, it may run afoul of the Federal Arbitration Act and will almost certainly face a challenge in federal court. 

If that isn’t enough, California employers should also be preparing for the January 1, 2020 effective date of the new California Consumer Privacy Act.  That law will grant California residents certain specific rights regarding their personal information and requires notice to consumers and employees about collection and use of personal information. 

Employers who were delinquent in submitting EEO-1 Component 2 data can give thanks that a federal court is forcing the EEOC to continue collecting the data until the earlier of January 31, 2020 or when the EEOC has achieved a 98.25% response rate from employers required to submit Component 2 data. 

We hope you can still enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday later this month despite this cornucopia of blessings.  Tune in next month for another edition of The Bubbler, where Mintz’s employment lawyers share what’s hot around the water cooler.

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