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TRACKING DOWN DISCRIMINATION

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) 2020 Enforcement and Litigation Report tallies its workplace discrimination charges processed between October, 2019 through September, 2020.

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NO-FAIL DETAIL

Employers must verify identity and work authorization for U.S.-based citizens and noncitizens using “Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification” (I-9 Form). Potential consequences for   noncompliance can include civil fines of up to $ 23,331 per occurrence as well as criminal prosecution and imprisonment.

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WHAT’S EVEN NEWER IN 2021
CALIFORNIA EXPANDS COVID-19 PAID SICK LEAVE

Effective March 29, 2021, California Labor Code 248.2’s “COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave” law (SPSL) requires employers with 26 or more total employees, i.e., nationwide, to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave benefits to eligible/covered California workers through September 30, 2021.  The new law also covers providers of in-home supportive services (see California Labor Code 248.3).

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CAUTIONARY TALE EPISODE 41
GYMNASTICS SCHOOL TAKES A TUMBLE

The California Labor Commissioner has assessed Irvine’s Perfect Point Corp. dba South Coast Gymnastics and its owner, Xiaoping Li, $1.3 million for wage and hour violations affecting 28 coaches and administrative staff after a COVID-19 compliance inspection turned into a payroll audit of the preceding three years. 

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MINIMUS MAXIMUS

With two exceptions (New Zealand, 1894; Australia, 1896), no country had a minimum wage law until the 20th Century.  Instead, employers paid what they contended were “just (or fair) wages” on the purported mutual consent of their workers. If employees agreed to labor at the take-it-or-leave-it rates business offered, U.S. courts ruled they were powerlessto challenge the sanctity of that private contract.

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SQUARE MEAL IS THE DEAL

The California Supreme Court has ruled that employers may not round worker time entries for meal breaks, in contrast to rules permitting rounding for start and end of workday time entries. Kennedy Donohue v. AMN Services, Inc. (Donohue) (February, 2021).

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WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION PREVENTION

Now with over 40 million residents and some 950,000 employers, California leads the nation in the size and diversity of its workforce. Every employee in the state holds protections against discrimination, harassment and retaliation, primarily through the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

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PANDEMIC LEAVE 2.0

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), extending payroll tax credits provided under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into Fall, 2021.

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ONE CERTAIN CONSTANT: CHANGE

Likely to be quickly signed by Governor Newsom, Senate Bill (SB) 95 significantly expands California employer obligations to provide COVID-related paid sick leave in addition to established sick leave benefits, retroactive to January 1, 2021. 

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STAY-AWAY “EXCLUSION” PAY

With only limited exceptions, Cal/OSHA’s mandatory COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) (effective November, 2020) apply to all California employers. See, What’s New in 2021: Infection Prevention Direction CAL/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (February 5, 2021)

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