2015 California Broadens Employee Rights to Sue for Gender Wage Differences

Today Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act, SB 358, which gives California the most expansive equal pay protections in the nation. While the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 and California Labor Code already prohibit gender-based wage discrimination, SB 358 amends Labor Code Section 1197.5 to place additional burdens on employers to show that gender-based wage discrimination has not occurred.

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2015 Nevada Supreme Court Recognizes Right to Independent Counsel

The Nevada Supreme Court recognized for the first time an insured's right to independent counsel. In State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. v. Hansen, the Court ruled that Nevada law requires an insurer to pay for independent counsel, chosen by the insured, when an ethical conflict of interest exists between the insurer and the insured. The Court recognized that Nevada, like California, is a dual-representation state where insurer-appointed counsel represents both the insurer and the insured.

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2015 In a Win For Homebuilders, a California Court Strengthens the Scope and Applicability of the Right to Repair Act

In McMillin Albany, LLC, v. Superior Court, __ Cal. App. 4th __ , 2015 WL 5029324 (Aug. 26, 2015), the Court of Appeal held last week that when homeowners allege deficiencies in residential construction, they must comply with the prelitigation procedures of the Right to Repair Act, even if they only assert common law causes of action for construction defects and do not seek any remedies under the Act.

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2015 Uber Drivers in California May Proceed as a Class on Independent Contractor Claim

A federal judge in San Francisco has dealt a huge blow to Uber Technologies, Inc. by certifying a class of Uber drivers who claim the popular ride-hailing company misclassified them as independent contractors and unlawfully withheld tips. Although the order did not determine whether Uber drivers are actually employees, rather than independent contractors, it does mean that the lawsuit may proceed on a class-wide basis, dramatically increasing Uber's potential liability.

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2015 California Supreme Court Rules that Insurers Must Honor Post-Loss Assignment of Rights Under Liability Policies

Fluor Corp. v. Superior Court: In an opinion that will likely have a major impact on mergers and acquisitions, the California Supreme Court ruled that an insurance carrier may not use a "consent-to-assign" clause to deny coverage for injuries or damage that occurred before the insured assigned its rights to coverage under a liability policy.

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2015 California Supreme Court Allows Insurer to Sue Independent Counsel Directly for Reimbursement of Defense Costs in "Unusual" Procedural Setting

In a highly-anticipated decision regarding an insurer's rights against an insured's independent counsel, the California Supreme Court has ruled that an insurer may sue independent counsel for reimbursement of excessive defense costs if those costs were paid involuntarily pursuant to a trial-court order that expressly permitted the insurer to "recover payments of excessive fees." Hartford Cas. Ins. Co. v. J.R. Marketing, LLC, ___ Cal. 4th ___ (Aug. 10, 2015).

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2015 California "Fixes" Paid Sick Leave Law

Governor Brown just signed urgency legislation effective immediately fixing some of the problems in California's Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, the Paid Sick Leave Law. Key changes to the Paid Sick Leave Law include...

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2015 San Francisco Ordinances Impose New Requirements for Formula Retail Employers

Effective July 3, 2015, a pair of ordinances known collectively as the Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances or the Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights (“Ordinances”), places substantial burdens on covered San Francisco employers and limits their flexibility to schedule part-time employees and to hire temporary labor. Although the Ordinances became effective July 3, 2015, key provisions of these acts were recently changed when the Board of Supervisors voted to amend the Ordinances on July 7, 2015. Covered employers are now any entity that operates a Formula Retail Establishment as defined by the Planning Code, has 40 or more Retail Sales Establishments worldwide, and has 20 or more employees in the City of San Francisco.

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2015 Time is Running Out for California Employers to Bring Their Sick Leave Policies Into Compliance

Many California employers are assuming--incorrectly--that because they have an existing paid time off (PTO) or sick leave policy, they do not need to review their policies for compliance with California's new paid sick leave law, which requires paid sick leave starting on July 1, 2015. For example, policies containing these common provisions will not comply with the new law...

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2015 Ninth Circuit Sharply Narrows Enforceability of Jury Waivers in Commercial Contracts

In a decision which narrows the contractual rights of companies doing business in California, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled last week that jury trial waivers in contracts signed under California law will not be upheld in federal court, even where those agreements are entered voluntarily and knowingly. In re County of Orange, filed April 16, 2015.

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