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Employer CCPA FAQs #1: Does the CCPA apply to employee data?

In the coming weeks we will be releasing a series of FAQs examining the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”)  of particular importance to employers.  These FAQs should help employers determine if they are required to comply with the CCPA and if so, what steps their HR professionals and IT departments should take to be in compliance. By way of background, employers with operations in California should be aware of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), a new privacy law that applies to data collected about California-based employees.   Because the CCPA refers to “consumers” many HR professionals don’t realize that the Act, as currently drafted, applies to data collected about California-based employees.  See our recent blog summarizing the CCPA for employers: [https://bclpatwork.com/meet-the-ccpa-new-privacy-rules-for-california-employees/] The CCPA will go into effect in early 2020, and employers who must comply should be addressing compliance obligations now.  For US employers who have not had to comply with the GDPR, the requirements of the CCPA for California-based employees will likely require a new analysis of the treatment of employee-data and updated or new data policies. For employers with European operations, one key area of interest is the degree to which the CCPA aligns with the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). Employers who are complying with the GDPR will likely already be familiar with many of the requirements of the CCPA – and with some assistance, should be able to bring their operations and policies into compliance with respect to California-based employees. BCLP also offers

Meet the CCPA: New Privacy Rules for California Employees

Employers with operations in California should be aware of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), a new privacy law that applies to data collected about California-based employees.   HR professionals should be aware that, although the CCPA refers to “consumers,” as currently drafted the CCPA’s definition of a “consumer” will apply to California-based employees.

Which employers will have to comply with the CCPA?

Employers with employees in California will need to comply with the CCPA if their business falls into one of the following three categories:

  • Their business buys, sells, or shares the “personal information” of 50,000 “consumers” or “devices”;
  • Their business has gross revenue greater than $25 million; or
  • Their business derives 50% or more of its annual revenue from sharing personal information.
  • What are the key implications of having to comply with the CCPA?

    The Employers who have to comply with the CCPA will be subject to the CCPA’s:

  • Expansive definition of “personal information”;
  • New notice requirements for California-based employees, which notices describe the employer’s collection of and use and disclosure of personal information
  • New data privacy rights for California-based employees, including the right to access, delete, and opt out of the “sale” of personal information;
  • Special rules for the collection and use of personal information of minors;
  • Requirement to implement appropriate and reasonable security practices and procedures;
  • Enforcement provisions, including a statutory damages framework; and
  • Private right of action for employees.
  • The CCPA will go into effect in early 2020, and employers who must comply should be

    New California Laws Change Sexual Harassment Landscape

    On Sunday September 30, 2018, while many of us were busy setting our Fantasy Football lineups, outgoing Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of work-related bills arising in response to the #MeToo movement that will substantially alter employers’ exposure to liability for workplace harassment, prohibit many common practices used to reduce adverse publicity surrounding workplace harassment claims, and impose additional training and inclusion requirements.


    The most far-reaching of the new laws is SB 1300, the Sexual Harassment Omnibus Bill, which amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  Under SB 1300, FEHA will now expressly affirm some harassment-related court decisions and disavow others, embedding into the statute the following legal concepts and ever-expanding scope:

    • The plaintiff in a workplace harassment suit is only required to prove that a reasonable person subjected to the discriminatory conduct would find, as the plaintiff did, that the harassment so altered working conditions as to make it more difficult to do his or her job.  It is not necessary to show a tangible decline in productivity.
    • A single incident of harassing conduct is sufficient to create a triable issue regarding the existence of a hostile work environment if the harassing conduct has unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance or created an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.  (Here, SB 1300 expressly rejects a decision authored by #MeToo casualty Alex Kolinski, a former judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which provided that a one-time physical encounter was

    Where There’s Smoke, There’s Danger: CAL/OSHA Urges Protection of Workers From Wildfire Smoke

    California is currently experiencing record-breaking heat waves and an increased number of active wildfire incidents.  California OSHA (CAL OSHA) has determined that this poses a serious threat to the safety of outdoor workers because smoke from wildfires often contains chemicals, gases, and fine particles that are dangerous to human health.  Inhaling such particles is particularly dangerous, says CAL OSHA, because it can reduce lung function, worsen asthma and other existing heart and lung conditions, and cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

    In response to these concerns, CAL/OSHA recently issued an advisory notice that urges employers with employees  exposed to wildfire smoke to take extra precautions as part of their Injury and Illness Prevention Program under Title 8 section 3203 of the California Code of Regulations and as required under section 5141 (Control of Harmful Exposure to Employees).  Those precautions include:

    • Utilizing engineering controls whenever feasible (for example, using a filtered ventilation system in indoor work areas).
    • Using administrative controls if practicable (for example, limiting the time that employees work outdoors).
    • Providing workers with respiratory protective equipment (such as disposable filtering face-pieces, like dust masks) in conformance with respiratory protection requirements, as applicable. Some relevant respirator comments made by CAL OSHA in recent guidance include:
      • Respirators must be labeled N-95, N-99, N-100, R-95, P-95, P-99, or P-100, and must be labeled approved by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH).
      • Approved respiratory protective equipment is necessary for employees working in outdoor locations designated by

    California High Court Adopts New Test For Independent Contractors

    California High Court Adopts New Test For Independent Contractors

    May 2, 2018

    Authored by: Bryan Cave At Work

    In its decision on April 30, the California Supreme Court established a new test for classifying workers as independent contractors, with significant implications for the so-called “gig economy.” In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, the Supreme Court laid out the “ABC Test,” which presumptively considers all workers to be employees and permits an independent contractor classification only if the hiring entity can show that all of the following conditions are met:

  • The worker has freedom from control or direction of the hiring entity over how to perform the work, both under contract and in fact;
  • The service is outside the company’s usual course of business or outside of all the places of business for which the service is performed; and
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.
  • This new framework makes it significantly more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.  While Part A of the test is nothing new, Parts B and C may present unique challenges, particularly for the gig economy, where companies use app-based technologies to facilitate the provision of services that are paid by the “gig,” or some other measure beyond a traditional wage per hour.   Such businesses will likely contend that the services performed are outside their “usual course of business” because they are digital platforms facilitating the provision of services and payment by third party users, and do

    Employers Can Maintain a Drug Free Workplace in California Despite State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

    California’s passage of the “Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” commonly referred to as Proposition 64, legalized the sale, possession, and use of recreational marijuana under limited circumstances. Marijuana still remains an illegal Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act and therefore still subject to prosecution under federal law. Many employers wonder what effect, if any, Proposition 64 has on their ability to maintain a drug free workplace.

    Bryan Cave attorneys just released a client alert on this topic. Click here to read the Alert in full.

    Bryan Cave LLP has a team of knowledgeable lawyers and other professionals prepared to help employers comply with California law. If you or your organization would like more information on Proposition 64, or any other employment issue, please contact an attorney in the Labor and Employment practice group.

    You’ve Been Warned: California’s WARN Act Is Broader Than the Federal Warn Act

    As with so many other situations involving California’s employment laws, its protection for California-based employees experiencing a job loss is broader than the protections under federal law.  In The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, Local 998, et al. v. Nassco Holdings Inc., et al., the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate Division held, among other things, that California’s version of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act is broader than its federal counterpart.

    The specific issue the court addressed was whether a furlough of several weeks constituted a “layoff” for purposes of a “mass layoff,” triggering the 60-day notice period when 50 or more employees at a covered establishment experience a “layoff” during any 30-day period.  The defendant argued unsuccessfully that no notice was required because its work stoppage was only for a brief period and therefore its action was not a “layoff” or “mass layoff.”  By contrast, the plaintiffs argued that notice was required because the statutory phrase “mass layoff” has no temporal limitation and includes the type of temporary layoffs that occurred, i.e., no termination, only a temporary separation from the position for lack of funds or lack of work.

    In siding with the plaintiffs, the court relied upon the plain meaning of the statute, in addition to its recognition that the California Legislature specifically passed its WARN Act to provide broader protections for California employees.  The court noted, among other things, the following differences between the federal WARN Act and the

    2018 Exemption Limits for the Computer Professional and Physician Exemptions

    December 1, 2017


    Effective January 1, 2018, California’s Department of Industrial Relations will begin imposing new rates for the computer software employee exemption and the licensed physician and surgeon exemption to reflect a 2.9% increase in the California Consumer Price Index (CCPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

    To be exempt from overtime requirements, a computer software employee’s rates have increased as follows:

    • Minimum hourly rate:  From $42.35 to $43.58
    • Minimum monthly salary:  From $7,352.62 to $7,565.85
    • Minimum annual salary:  From $88,231.36 to $90,790.07

    The minimum hourly pay for licensed physician and surgeon exemption has increased from $77.15 to $79.39.

    Relatedly, the professional, executive and administrative exemptions will also be subject to change after the minimum wage increase takes effect on January 1, 2018.  To qualify as exempt under these classifications, employees must be paid at least two times the state minimum wage in addition to meeting the other exemption criteria.

    Bryan Cave LLP has a team of knowledgeable lawyers and other professionals prepared to help employers assess their minimum wage and employee classification obligations. If you or your organization would like more information on California’s minimum wage requirements or any other employment issue, please contact an attorney in the Labor and Employment practice group.

    California Bans the Box: Employers Must Review and Update Background Screening Processes

    Recently, on October 14, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1008 (“AB 1008”), which adds Government Code Section 12952 into state law.  Among other things, this new provision makes it an unlawful employment practice under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) for a private employer with five (5) or more employees to inquire about or consider a job applicant’s conviction history prior to a conditional offer of employment.  This “ban-the-box” legislation is the latest in a series of initiatives nationwide to ban private employers from inquiring about convictions on an application for employment.   California joins five other states, including Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, in banning private employers’ inquiries regarding convictions prior to a conditional offer of employment.  AB 1008 becomes effective January 1, 2018.

    Only Post-Offer Consideration of a Conviction or Specified Arrests is Permissible.  Most dramatically, employers may not ask an applicant about any conviction on an application for employment, or during any other phase of screening prior to an offer.  Further, while an employer can still perform a criminal background check after an offer of employment is made, employers are required to conduct an “individualized assessment” of whether the applicant’s conviction has a “direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that justify denying the applicant the position.”  The employer must consider the factors that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laid out in its own guidance in 2012 regarding the use of convictions, specifically:

    (1) the nature and gravity

    California Enacts New Law Expanding Parental Leave to Small Employers

    On Thursday, October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that extends twelve weeks of unpaid parental leave to California employees who work for small businesses.  The New Parent Leave Act applies generally to California employers with at least 20 and no more than 49 employees.  The practical effect of the Act is to expand the parental leave required under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to smaller employers.  The new law takes effect on January 1, 2018.

    Under the New Parent Leave Act, an employee may take up to twelve weeks of unpaid parental leave within one year of a child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement, so long as the employee (1) works at a location where the employer has at least 20 employees within a 75 mile radius, (2) has at least twelve months of service with the employer, and (3) has worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous twelve months.  The new law requires the employer to maintain the employee’s health care coverage, but the employer can recover the premium paid if the employee fails to return from leave due to a reason other than a serious health condition or “other circumstances beyond the control of the employee.”

    The law also creates a “parental leave mediation pilot program” that will last through January 1, 2020.  Under the “pilot” mediation program, if an employer requests mediation within 60 days of receiving a right to sue notice,

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