Got Paid Sick Leave???  If not, you soon will...

All employers and employees must be aware of a drastic change in California Labor/Employment Law pertaining to sick leave.  In September 2014, California's Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1522 into law - changing the way all employers must look at sick leave.  Thanks to AB 1522, starting July 1, 2015, all employers, without regard to their number of employees, must provide at least one hour of sick leave per 30 hours worked to ALL employees (part-time or full time).  This should amount to about 4 hours per month for a full-time employee.  

To be eligible for this paid sick leave, employees must work more than 30 days in a year and may begin using their sick leave 90 days after starting working for their employer.  Employers will, however, be able to limit an employee's use of paid sick leave to 24 hours in each year of employment and cap the maximum accrual of sick leave at 48 hours. As is the status quo for nearly all state mandated employee benefits, employers cannot discipline or retaliate against an employee who exercises their right to take their earned paid sick leave.

Pros:  California employees who were not afforded pay if they took sick leave will be able to miss a few hours, or even a few days to tend to their, or their family's, health needs.

Cons:  California employees will have to shoulder the additional pay for employees despite losing the employee's productivity.  For example, an employer paying an employee $10 per hour may incur additional costs of $240 per employee per year, plus the additional associated taxes and costs.

Exceptions:  Employers who provide at least 3 days of paid leave to their employees per year, are not required to provide an additional paid sick leave.

Oddity:  A friend of mine pointed out that it doesn't make sense to force employers to allow the accrual of a minimum of 48 hours of paid sick leave, while at the same time limiting the use of paid sick leave at 24 hours per year.  Although it is not explicitly stated in the text of AB 1552, this maximum accrual with use cap would only work based on a calendar year, or an anniversary based on your initial date of hire (or other fixed date).  Should be interesting to see how this unfolds.

If you have any questions regarding this change in California Labor/Employment Law or any other related matter, please feel free to give me a call at 424.234.9845 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Click here for the text of AB 1522.

Go to to find out more about Jonathan and his law practice.

In Bad Faith?

Monday, 27 October 2014 00:00

In Bad Faith? Employees, are you filing a wage-claim lawsuit against your employer? Employers, are you on the receiving end of a wage-claim suit? The California Legislature’s passage of State Bill 462 last year made it a bit less intimidating for an employee to file their lawsuit.

Prior to August 2013, California state law required a court to award lawyer’s fees and costs to the prevailing party in a claim for wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions. Which, evidently, may have had a chilling effect on an employee’s desire to pursue such a claim… Until the California Legislature stepped in. Senate Bill 462 changed the law to allow an employer to recover attorney’s fees and costs only when there is a finding that the employee filed the law suit in bad faith.

A couple cases came down from the U.S. Supreme Court this week that affect Title VII discrimination claims. Vance sets out the liability of an employer for the acts of supervisors and employees, and Nassar sets forth a heightened "but-for" causation standard by which Title VII retaliation claims are to be judged.

First, Vance v. Ball State University et al., changed the way a court is to determine whether an employer is liable for the acts of its employees.

The Supreme Court held that an employer is to be held strictly liable for the acts of a supervisor, that is, someone that has control over the terms and conditions of a worker's employment.

The employer may, however, assert an affirmative defense if: (1) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassing behavior; and (2) that the plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of the preventive or corrective opportunities that the employer provided.

As for the acts of a co-worker, an employer is only liable if it is negligent in the control of the working conditions.

Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical Medical Center v. Nassar - In a 5-4 split, the Supreme Court held that Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to a heightened "but-for" causation standard - not the lessened causation standard previously used under §2000e–2(m). This change may drastically affect claims made against an employer in that, the employee must show that, absent the protected category, the adverse employment action would not have been made. Significantly raising the bar from the previous standard that the protected category was "a factor".

For more on Vance and Nassar, click the links below.

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