Job (In)Security: How to Manage Economic Uncertainty: Sonya Goodwin’s article for Glassdoor

The coronavirus pandemic might be the biggest threat to employees — and the economy — since the 2008 recession. Are you protected if your employer cuts back your hours or lays you off?

by Sonya Goodwin

Time Off? 

If you need time off because you or a loved one is affected by coronavirus, or if your place of work or child’s school is closed, you may get up to two weeks’ paid sick leave under a proposed law that passed the House on March 13 and is expected to clear the Senate. As currently drafted, the law covers employers with fewer than 500 employees but exempts smaller employers who can prove economic hardship.  

Some large employers are adopting policies to respond to the pandemic. On top of existing paid sick leave, Walmart will provide up to two weeks’ paid leave for ill or quarantined employees. Darden Restaurants, the parent of Olive Garden, will permanently provide paid sick leave to all hourly employees. State and local governments may also provide limited paid sick leave, and you might be eligible for state disability leave if you’re sick with coronavirus.

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Can My Employer Share My Personal Info? Sonya Goodwin’s article for Glassdoor

Until recently, employers had a lot of latitude to use, share and even market your private information.

by Sonya Goodwin

Gone are the days when you could share droves of personal information with your employer without fear that the company could share or even sell that data outside the company. 

After all, unlike other countries, the U.S. lacks universal comprehensive data protection laws except for narrow areas such as for medical information. 

Luckily, new state laws strengthen your ability to control your information.

Last year, California passed the nation’s first comprehensive law designed to give consumers and employees more control over who has their personal information and what they can do with it. Other states, as well as Congress, are watching the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and some are moving to enact their own data privacy laws. 

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Gerald Sauer in Law 360: Arbitration Is A Flawed Forum That Needs Repair

Arbitration Is A Flawed Forum That Needs Repair

by Gerald Sauer

Arbitration has become a hot-button issue. In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal, or FAIR, Act,[1] intended to ban mandatory arbitration in the workplace, and California enacted A.B. 51,[2] the latest state effort to protect workers from forced arbitration.

The Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy
predict that by 2024, almost 83% of the country’s private, nonunionized
employees will be subject to mandatory arbitration, an increase of 56%
since 2017.

Read full story on Law360

Office party precautions: Gerald Sauer’s article for

Attend Holiday Party, Kiss Job Goodbye?

by Gerald Sauer

Office holiday parties are loads of fun. Workers let their hair down, engage in wild drinking and dancing, and perhaps end up in spontaneous hookups with coworkers. Let’s be honest: This has been going on for decades, but in years past nobody cared much about the playing around. These days, however, the holiday office party could turn into a legal minefield for corporate managers and executives.

Office flings do lead to long-term commitments — many people meet their life partners in the workplace — but in the post-#MeToo era companies large and small have begun…

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Sonya Goodwin’s article in Hunton on California’s new arbitration law

California’s Anti-Arbitration Bill Gets Signed Into Law

By Sonya Goodwin & Julia Y. Trankiem on October 29, 2019

Earlier this year, we wrote about a proposed bill in California, AB 51, which would prevent employers from requiring their employees to bring all employment-related claims, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour claims, in arbitration instead of state or federal court.  Earlier this month, Governor Newsom signed AB 51 into law.

The bill adds a new Section 432.6 to the California Labor Code and Section 12953 to California Government Code (referencing 432.6).  These sections prohibit any person from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure (via an arbitration agreement or any other method) for a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or the Labor Code as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit.  While the new law does not prohibit completely voluntary waivers, it specifically states that an agreement that requires an employee to opt out of such a waiver or take any other affirmative action to preserve their rights to a forum is considered a condition of employment, and is therefore unlawful under the statute.

Read the rest at Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives

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