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  • Senate Bill 135 could expand family and medical leave protections to many more California employees

    son and father enjoying family leave

    On January 15, 2019, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson of California’s 19th District introduced Senate Bill 135 (“SB 135”). The bill seeks to significantly expand California workers’ access to job-protected, paid family and medical leave by extending coverage under the California Family Rights Act and California’s Paid Family Leave program. The legislation follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement that he is committed to expanding paid family leave.

    Senator Jackson introduced SB 135 with four main goals:

    1. Ensuring that all workers have job protection when they take paid family leave.
    2. Extending the time period workers can take paid family leave to care for an ill family member and so that every newborn can be cared for by a parent or close family member for their first six months of life.
    3. Expanding and harmonizing the definition of family member in our family leave laws to reflect the realities of today’s working families.
    4. Increasing the wage replacement amount to ensure families can afford to take leave.

    1. OVERVIEW OF EXISTING PROTECTIONS

    To understand the potential impact of SB 135, it is helpful to start with an overview of California’s existing family and medical leave laws.

    The Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (“PDLL”) allows employees to take up to four months of unpaid, job-protected leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. The law covers all employees at companies with five or more employees; employees are covered from their first. . .

  • John L. SchwabMizrahi Law is pleased to announce that John L. Schwab has joined the firm as an associate attorney.

    Recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2018 and 2019, John has experience litigating cases from inception through jury trial.

    Prior to joining Mizrahi Law, John completed a prestigious fellowship at a nationally-renowned trial law firm in Los Angeles. He also worked at a boutique plaintiff-side law firm in San Francisco. While in law school, John was named “Law Student of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys of California.

    John works exclusively on behalf of employees in cases involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. He serves on the editorial board for the California Labor & Employment Law Review—the official publication of the California Lawyers Association Labor and Employment Law Section—and is an active member of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA).

    His bio can be found here.

  • On March 26, 2019, Ramit Mizrahi appeared on AirTalk (hosted by Larry Mantle) at KPCC to discuss the importance of SB 188, the CROWN Act.

    The CROWN Act will prohibit workplace discrimination against employees who wear their hair in braids, locks, twists, and other protective hairstyles. It will prevent employers from enforcing seemingly “race neutral” grooming policies that prevent people of color from growing their naturally textured or curly hair or wearing it in certain hairstyles.

    The CROWN Act will do so by amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (specifically, Government Code § 12926) to add the following definitions:

    (w) “Race” is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.

    (x) “Protective hairstyles” includes, but is not limited to, such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.

    The episode can be found here: Braids, locs and twists: new CA bill aims to protect certain hairstyles from workplace discrimination.

  • The March 2019 issue of the California Lawyers Association’s Labor & Employment Law Review featured Ramit Mizrahi’s third message as Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section.

    In her column, Ramit shares the tools and practices she uses to run an efficient law practice. Click on the below image to read the article in full.

  • podium

    On February 7, 2019, Ramit Mizrahi will be presenting at the California Lawyers Association’s Employment Law 101 Conference. The conference is designed to teach fundamentals to lawyers new to employment law. She will be presenting on the leaves of absence compliance panel (10:15-11:45 a.m.).

    Date and time: February 7, 2019, 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

    Location: Southwestern Law School, 3050 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010

    Additional information can be found on the CLA website, here: https://calawyers.org/Sections/Labor-Employment-Law/Education/Employment-Law-101

  • The January 2019 issue of the California Lawyers Association’s Labor & Employment Law Review features an article authored by Ramit Mizrahi, Andrew Friedman, and Tony Oncidi.

    The article—”The Top Employment Cases of 2018″—highlights the most important California state and federal employment cases from last year. Click on the below image to read the article in full.

    Image of Labor and Employment Law Article

  • The January 2019 issue of the California Lawyers Association’s Labor & Employment Law Review featured Ramit Mizrahi’s second message as Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section.

    Ramit used the column as an opportunity to reflect on her heroes and goals for 2019. Click on the below image to read the article in full.

  • The November 2018 issue of the California Lawyers Association’s Labor & Employment Law Review featured Ramit Mizrahi’s first message as Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section.

    Ramit used the column as an opportunity to introduce herself to Section members and to speak about what the Section has to offer. Click on the below image to read the article in full.

  • podium

    On November 8, 2018, Ramit Mizrahi will once again be speaking about the year’s most important employment law cases. The panel will be part of the Employment Round Table of Southern California’s 2018 Annual Conference & Awards Luncheon. She will be speaking alongside Irma Rodriguez Moisa, of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo.

    Date and time: November 8, 2018, 8:45 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

    Location: Millennium Biltmore, Los Angeles, CA

    Additional information can be found on the ERTSC event page.

    Just last month, Ms. Mizrahi presented the on the top 50 employment cases of 2018 at the California Employment Lawyers Association’s 31st Annual Employment Law Conference, alongside Andrew H. Friedman of Helmer Friedman, LLP. The presentation was made at a plenary session to the conference’s approximately 400 attendees.

  • Acting on the momentum of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, California legislators have leapt into action, putting forward legislation to protect employees who have been subjected to or opposed sexual harassment. They sought to limit confidentiality and nondisparagement provisions, restrict mandatory arbitration, increase recordkeeping and training obligations, extend the statute of limitations, and create individual liability for retaliation. In June, I wrote about the importance and potential impact of these bills in Sexual Harassment Law After #MeToo: Looking to California as a Model, published in the Yale Law Journal Forum.

    On September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed into law a number of the bills aimed at addressing sexual harassment and abuse. He vetoed several others, to the disappointment of employee rights advocates. Overall, however, the new laws are cause for celebration.

    Bills Signed into Law

    SB 820, The Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures (STAND) Act

    SB 820 prohibits confidentiality provisions in the settlement agreement of any civil or administrative action that states a cause of action for: sexual assault; workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex; failure to prevent workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex; sexual harassment in a business, service, or professional relationship; and sex discrimination, harassment, or retaliation by the owner of a housing accommodation. The law permits restrictions on disclosure of the settlement amount. An employee is entitled to request confidentiality. The STAND Act will make it more difficult for employers to support and protect serial harassers.

    AB 3109

    AB 3109 makes a provision in a contract or settlement agreement void and unenforceable if it waives a party’s right to testify in an administrative, legislative, or judicial proceeding concerning alleged criminal conduct or sexual harassment.

    SB 1300

    SB 1300 is a comprehensive bill that helps combat sexual harassment in a number of ways. Among other things, it:

    • Prohibits nondisparagement agreements that gag employees from disclosing information about sexual harassment and other unlawful acts (often presented to employees at the outset of their employment as a condition of employment);
    • Prohibits releases of claims presented in exchange for a raise, bonus, or as a condition of continued employment;
    • Holds employers liable for failing to prevent all forms of unlawful harassment by third parties, not just sexual harassment;
    • Confirms that prevailing defendants are entitled to fees and costs only when the action is frivolous, notwithstanding CCP section 998. This means that an employee need not fear that if she loses her case, that she may be forced to pay the company’s legal costs;
    • Declares legislative intent regarding sex harassment, including that a single incident can constitute sex harassment, even absent extreme circumstances, that an employee’s work performance need not have suffered, and that summary judgment should rarely be granted;
    • Makes sexual harassment training more robust.

    AB 1619

    AB 1619 increases the statute of limitations for civil action for sexual assault of an adult to

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