As reported on December 30, 2019 on the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives blog, Judge Kimberly J. Mueller of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California granted a temporary restraining order that temporarily prohibits the state of California from enforcing AB 51, a law that would prohibit companies in California from requiring arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.
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On Friday, December 6, 2019, a business coalition led by the US Chamber of Commerce filed suit challenging a new California law that forbids employers from offering and entering into certain arbitration agreements with their workers. Signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on October 10, 2019, Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51) will impose criminal liability on employers who require applicants or employees, “as a condition of reemployment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit,” to “waive any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act” and other related employment statutes.
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Imagine a future in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) does the recruiting and hiring at US companies. Every new hire will be the uniquely perfect candidate whose skills, personality, presence, temperament and work habits are a flawless match for the job. Performance management and poor performance become extinct, relics from an age in which humans brought primitive instincts, biases and flawed intuition to hiring and employment decisions. While there are risks and challenges to employers in introducing this technology, manufacturers of AI software say that some version of that future may not be too far off.
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On July 1, 2019, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion letter regarding permissible rounding practices under the Service Contract Act (“SCA”). While the SCA governs government contractors, the DOL’s guidance is nevertheless helpful to retailers because the SCA incorporates Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) rounding principles, which are applicable to them.
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Many retailers use bonus programs to incentivize employee performance. With respect to bonuses paid to non-exempt employees (i.e., those employees who are entitled to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act), the retailer must then determine whether it owes additional overtime on the incentive bonus.
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As many readers of this blog are aware, a nationwide trend of localities requiring paid family leave has emerged over the last few years. While there has been little development on the federal front, this appears to be changing. On May 22, 2019, members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal tax policy and significant health care policy, announced a bipartisan working committee of Finance Committee Senators to consider the issue of federal paid family leave policy. 
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As reported on the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog on May 14, 2019, Massachusetts’ highest court, The Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), recently issued its long awaited decision in Sullivan v. Sleepy’s LLC, SJC-12542, in which the SJC responded to certified questions of first impression from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
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A newly proposed amendment to the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 would expand paid sick leave to require employers to provide 40 hours, or 5 days, of sick leave by the employee’s 200th calendar day of employment. Additionally, employers are only able to cap the amount of paid sick leave a worker earns to 80 hours, or 10 days. Finally, the employer is required to allow an employee to carry over up to 5 days of sick leave into the following year of employment. This amendment would necessarily have a negative impact on California retailers, both large and small. 
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