New Piece-Rate Wage Laws Threatens Employers’ Peace

by Michelle Ferber and Ben McDonald Piece-rate compensation, or employee compensation systems in which the employee is paid only for each unit of production, has come under scrutiny in state and federal courts in recent years and was dealt a substantial blow when Governor Brown signed AB 1513 on October 10, 2015.  Codifying the results of state and federal litigation,

Healthcare Worker Meal Breaks and Conflicting California Laws

by Michelle Ferber and Ben McDonald On October 5, 2015, the California legislature passed into law a codification of a provision in the Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Order No. 5 in response to litigation which threatened to invalidate the Wage Order’s protection of the meal breaks required to be provided to health care workers. The California Department of Industrial Relations

Employers Can Now Cure Wage Statement Violations Prior to PAGA Lawsuits

by Michelle Ferber and Ben McDonald In 2004, California passed the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) which authorizes employees to bring civil actions against employers for penalties that would otherwise be pursued and collected by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA).  Simplified, PAGA allows an employee to individually enforce existing California Labor Code violations on behalf of

Still No Pay for Play – But Larger Scholarships Are Now Fair

by Michelle Ferber and Ben McDonald The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has long had a ban on compensating student-athletes for the uses of their names and likenesses, citing the organization’s dedication to amateurism.  This sounds plausible but inconsistent with the millions of dollars being derived from the entertainment value of those athletes.  Capitalizing on this issue, student-athletes Ed O’Bannon


by Michelle Ferber and Ben McDonald The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) for the California Department of Industrial Relations has provided critical guidance regarding the notorious new paid sick leave laws that came into effect this past July.  Specifically, the DLSE has issued an official interpretation of the “24 hours or three days” language from the law that is

Are You A Joint Employer With Your Independent Contractor?

by Michelle Ferber and Ben McDonald The summer of 2015 has seen sweeping changes in the law and the perception of the employer/employee relationship.  On August 28, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continued this summer’s trend when it issued a landmark decision that will have dramatic impacts on the employment landscape.  In a 3-2 decision, the NLRB adopted a

Function Over Form in Severance Plans Under ERISA

by Michelle R. Ferber and Ben McDonald Okun M.D. v. Montefiore Case On July 17, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a district court’s dismissal of a physician’s lawsuit against his employer for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) violations.  The physician sued his employer, Montefiore Medical Center, alleging that Montefiore terminated him for

Is Your Independent Contractor Actually An Employee?

by Michelle R. Ferber and Ben McDonald In July of 2015, the United States Department of Labor stunned the employment world by indicating that most workers qualify as employees under federal law despite being called independent contractors.  Considering the harsh repercussions of misclassification lawsuits, employers are justifiably concerned about how to protect themselves.  The guidance issued by the Department of

First Amendments to California’s Paid Sick Leave Act

by Michelle R. Ferber and Ben McDonald While the new laws regarding paid sick leave, known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014” (“Original Act”), have only been in effect since July 1, 2015, the California legislature has already changed several significant provisions. These amendments, introduced in Assembly Bill no. 304 (“Amended Act”), took immediate effect when signed

California Protects Employees from Weaker Out-of-State Labor Laws

by Michelle R. Ferber and Ben McDonald Late this past May, the California Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by an Orange County Superior Court to hold that forum selection clauses in employment contracts may not prevent employees from pursuing actions against out-of-state employers in California courts under California labor laws. In 2007, Plaintiff Rachel Verdugo was hired by the