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Revised Form I-9 Issued by the USCIS

Posted in Employee Privacy Rights, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

On July 17, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) released a revised version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  Instructions for how to download Form I-9 are available on the USCIS Form I-9 page. Employers can use this revised version immediately or continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N through September 17th.  However, beginning September 18, 2017, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17 N.  Also, employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

The USCIS publication regarding the revised form summarizes the changes to the Form I-9 as follows:

Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions:

  • We changed the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • We removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:

  • We added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
  • We combined all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) into selection C #2 in List C.
  • We renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

The USCIS also revised the Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), which helps employers navigate the requirements for compliance with Form I-9 obligations.

More information can be obtained at:

Doing the [Porta]Potty Dance: Fair Employment and Housing Council Votes to Adopt Emergency Rule regarding Signage for Single User Non-Flush Toilets to Resolve Conflict with OSHA Regulations

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Privacy Rights, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

At its meeting on July 17, 2017, the Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) addressed a conflict between its regulations and OSHA’s regulations, regarding gender-neutral restroom facilities.

AB 1732, enacted as Health and Safety Code section 118600, which applies to single-user toilet facilities.  Section 118600 defines single-user toilet facilities as those that have only one “water closet” and (zero or) one urinal.  All such single-user toilet facilities must be re-designated as “gender neutral” under this new law.  OSHA’s regulations, under title 8 section 1526 (construction jobsites), section 3364 (general industry), section 3457 (agricultural operations), and section 5192 (hazardous waste operations and emergency response) conflict with this rule, to the extent that they require employers to provide a certain number of separate toilet facilities for males and females based on the numbers of employees of each sex.

The related DFEH Regulation, section 11034(e)(2)(B), currently reads “Employers and other covered entities with single-occupancy facilities under their control shall use gender-neutral signage for those facilities such as “Restroom” “Unisex” “gender Neutral” “All Gender Restroom,” etc.”  This is consistent with Health and Safety Code section 118600. 

OSHA has announced, on its website here <> that it will enforce its regulations in a manner to make AB1732 consistent with OSHA regulations for flush toilets: “Health and Safety Code section 118600 takes precedence over the requirements of Title 8 sections 1526, 3364, 3457, and 5192 in cases where employers provide single-user toilet facilities with flush toilets for their employees. In those situations, Cal/OSHA still enforces the total numbers of toilet facilities required for males and females combined, as well as the individual numbers required for males and females separately, as provided in Title 8 sections 1526, 3364, 3457, and 5192, but no longer enforces the requirement that a toilet facility with a flush toilet be designated as single-gender if it is single-user.”

In that same FAQ, however, OSHA states that “toilet facilities that are multiple-user or that contain other than a flush toilet (e.g., chemical toilets, recirculating toilets, combustion toilets, biological toilets, and sanitary privies) are not covered by section 118600 and must still be provided separately for males and females.” Therefore, OSHA will enforce its regulations for non-flush toilets – like a port-a-potty – for those industries.

The FEHC proposed an amendment to FEHA regulation, section 11034(e)(2)(B), on an emergency basis, to eliminate the conflict with OSHA regulations with respect to privies, chemical toilets, and other “non-water carriage disposal facilities” (toilets that do not flush with water).  Apparently due to very high percentage of men in these industries, there are concerns about health and safety if such portable toilets out in the field were required to be designated as gender-neutral.

Section 11034(e)(2)(B) currently reads:

B.  Employers and other covered entities with single-occupancy facilities under their control shall use gender-neutral signage for those facilities such as “Restroom” “Unisex” “gender Neutral” “All Gender Restroom,” etc.

To address this inconsistency with OSHA’s regs, the council considered, and voted to submit an emergency rulemaking proposal to the Office of Administrative Law for an emergency rulemaking to modify 11034(e)(2)(B).

The proposed new language that will be submitted to the OAL is underlined:

11034(e)(2)(B) Employers and other covered entities with single-occupancy facilities under their control shall use gender-neutral signage for those facilities such as “Restroom” “Unisex” “gender Neutral” “All Gender Restroom,” etc.  This subsection does not apply to nonwater carriage disposal facilities in those work places covered by California Code of Regulations, title 8, sections 1526 (construction), 3364 (general industry), 3457 (agricultural operations), and 5192 (hazardous waste operations and emergency response) which require employers to provide separate toilet facilities for males and females based on the numbers of employees of each sex. However, all other subsections of this section apply to such employers.

The intent of the last sentence is to make clear that persons may still use the facility corresponding to the employee’s gender identity or expression (subsection (e)(2)(A)), regardless of the signage on the door.

The Council voted that the department should submit this proposed change to the OAL for emergency rulemaking authorization immediately.

Once submitted, the proposed rule will undergo a 5-day public comment and OAL review. If granted by the OAL, the emergency rule will become effective upon filing with the Secretary of State and is effective for 180 days.  This gives the agency time to make the emergency regulation permanent through its regular rulemaking process.

Employers May Not Have To Share Tips With Employees

Posted in Employment Contracts and Agreements, Wage & Hour


Imagine this scenario – you have hired a catering company to cater an event for you. The company performs its obligations, providing both the food and catering staff to ensure your attendees are well fed and taken care of. Happy at the conclusion of the event, you pay the company in full, and provide extra payment to the catering company in the form of a tip to demonstrate your appreciation. Who owns that tip – the catering company hired to provide the services, or the catering staff who worked the event?

On June 30, 2017, in Marlow v. The New Food Guy, Inc. d/b/a Relish Catering, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit determined that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) does not require an employer to share tips earned by an employee with that employee, as long as the employee is paid more than minimum wage.

To read the full article, visit the HRUSA blog at

DON’T FORGET…….California’s Transgender Identity and Expression Regulations Go Into Effect July 1, 2017

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Privacy Rights, Harassment, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination, Wage & Hour

The new regulations that expand existing protections under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for transgender individuals and others go into effect July 1, 2017.  As California employers know, FEHA prohibits harassment and discrimination against individuals on the basis of many protected classes, including gender, gender identity, and gender expression.  Below is a brief summary of the highlights of the new regulations.

  • The regulations clearly define and distinguish between “transgender,” “gender expression,” and “gender identity.”  They are not the same.
    • “Transgender” refers to a person whose gender identity differs from the person’s sex assigned at birth.  The person may or may not have a gender expression that is different from the social expectations of the sex assigned at birth.  Also, a transgender individual may or may not identify as “transsexual.”
    • “Gender expression” refers to a person’s gender-related appearance or behavior, or the perception of such appearance or behavior, whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s sex assigned at birth.
    • “Gender identity” refers to each person’s internal understanding of their gender, or the perception of a person’s gender identity, which may include male, female, a combination of male and female, neither male nor female, a gender different from the person’s sex assigned at birth, or transgender.Beth-West-15_web
  • The regulations explain the process of “transitioning” which does not have to, but may include hormone therapy, surgeries, or other medical procedures.
  • The regulations state it is unlawful to deny employment to an individual based wholly or in part on the individual’s sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression.  It is also unlawful to discriminate against an individual who is transitioning, has transitioned, or is perceived to be transitioning.
  • The regulations include prohibitions against employers seeking proof of an individual’s sex, gender, or gender identity or expression.   However, for recordkeeping purposes, an employer may request an applicant to provide the information solely on a voluntary basis (e.g. when collecting data for EEO reporting purposes).  Also, an employer is permitted to use an employee’s gender or legal name as indicated in a government-issued identification document only if it is necessary to meet a legally mandated obligation.  Further, nothing precludes an employer and employee from communicating about the employee’s sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression when the employee initiates communication with the employer regarding the employee’s working conditions.
  • The regulations explain that employers cannot use a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) defense to justify any different treatment (discrimination) against an individual merely because the individual is a transgender or gender non-conforming individual.
  • The regulations provide that equal rest periods must be provided to employees without regard to sex, and that equal, safe and adequate facilities must be provided to employees without regard to sex.
  • The regulations provide that employers must permit employees to use facilities that correspond to the employee’s gender identity or gender expression, regardless of the employee’s assigned sex at birth and without having to show proof of any medical treatment or other identity, to use a particular facility.  However, employers with single-occupancy facilities [e.g. restrooms] under their control shall use gender-neutral signage for those facilities.  Also, to respect the privacy of all employees, employers shall provide feasible alternatives such as locking toilet stalls, staggered schedules for showering, and shower curtains to ensure privacy.
  • The regulations prohibit an employer from imposing any physical appearance, grooming or dress standard which is inconsistent with an individual’s gender identity or gender expression, unless the employer can establish a business necessity under the regulations.
  • The regulations provide that if an employee requests to be identified with a preferred gender, name, and/or pronoun, including gender-neutral pronouns, an employer who fails to abide by the employee’s stated preference may be liable under FEHA, except in the case where an employer is permitted to use an employee’s gender or legal name when necessary to meet a legally-mandated obligation.

What Should Employers Do?  The overarching message in the workplace should be that a person’s sexual identity and sexual expression should be respected and that everyone should comply with company policies and applicable law.  Employers should review and update their policies if necessary to comply with the new regulations.  They should also train their managers and supervisors on the new regulations to ensure that they are aware of them and act accordingly.  Regardless of their political or moral viewpoint on the issue, the regulations are law and an employer (through its managing agents) must comply.  Remember that the attorneys in Weintraub Tobin’s Labor & Employment Department are always available to assist in both policy review and supervisor and management training.

For a copy of the text of the regulations go to:

No Recording Policy Violates The NLRA

Posted in Employee Privacy Rights, Employment Contracts and Agreements

It stands to reason that employers may not want employees recording conversations in the workplace.  Recording conversations could discourage the free flow of open ideas.  The recordings could also contain confidential or sensitive information that the employer does not want floating around the digital universe.  In some states, recording workplace conversations may even be illegal if not all parties consent to it.  Mindful of these concerns, employers may wish to enact policies precluding video or audio recording at work.  According to the Second Circuit, however, employers who do so risk violating the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) if their policies are overbroad.  In a June 1, 2017 summary order, the court upheld a National Labor Relations Board’s Order finding that Whole Foods Market, Inc.’s policy did just that.

To read the full article, visit the HRUSA blog at

New Laws Affecting New York City Retail And Fast Food Workers

Posted in Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations

On May 30, 2017, the Mayor of New York City (“NYC”) signed into law five bills related to workplace reform in the retail and fast food industries. These laws are set to take effect on November 26, 2017.

New Laws Applicable to Retail Industry in NYC

Intro 1387 (On-Call Scheduling), bans the practice of on-call scheduling for retail employees in NYC. The law applies only to retail employers with twenty or more employees at one or more stores within NYC. Under this new law, an employer will be prohibited from (1) scheduling a retail employee for an on-call shift; (2) cancelling a work shift with fewer than 72 hours’ notice; (3) requiring a retail employee to work with fewer than 72 hours’ notice, unless the employee consents to working in writing; and (4) requiring a retail employee to contact an employer to confirm whether the employee should report for his/her scheduled shift in the 72 hours before the start of the shift. However, a retail employer is permitted to make schedule changes or cancel shifts within the 72 hour window if it is to give an employee time off or to allow an employee to voluntarily trade shifts with another employee or if the employer’s operations cannot begin or continue.

Read the New Laws Applicable to the Fast Food Industry in NYC here:

Is Panic Really the Best Choice? One Lawyer’s Approach to Analyzing “Substantially Similar Work” Under the California Fair Pay Act

Posted in Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

Since the passage of the California Fair Pay act in late 2015 (effective January 1, 2016) and its recent amendments, many employers and commentators have criticized the statute for imposing a vague and dangerous standard on California employers.

The California Fair Pay Act replaces the former “equal work” standard of the Equal Pay Act with a “substantially similar” standard.   The California Fair Pay Act (Labor Code section 1197.5) states:   “(a) An employer shall not pay any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions …”. Chuck-Post-07_web

Some adrenalized commentators have said that any effort to actually conduct this analysis is a fool’s errand. The standard is so vague and shapeless that it is functionally meaningless until a court sharpens the standard with defined tests and definitive holdings. Other commentators suggest that employers abandon any attempt to determine if any two types of work are substantially similar to one another (an analysis required by the statute) and instead focus on the second half of the statutory analysis, which allows employers to justify wage disparities (along race or gender lines) on the basis of a bona fide factors other than sex or race.

While it is true that courts have not yet ordained a specific analysis on how to determine substantially similar work, the statutory standard is not so vague as to defy either analysis or application.  Legislative examples propose that under this standard a male school janitor and a female hotel housekeeper may be engaged in substantial similar work.

Even if the standard were so vague as to defy application (and I don’t believe it is) employers are well served to act reasonably and based upon a good faith and reasonable interpretation of the law. Yes, a court may later hold that some part of any analysis used is incorrect, but the use of a reasonable analytic process (before any court decision considering the law) will likely place an employer in a better position than a company that has skipped the first step of the required analysis.

To read this full article and a general approach to conducting the “substantially similar” work analysis, click here.

Texas Bus Monitor Termination For Incontinence Is Discrimination

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Discrimination, Labor Law, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

In Green v. Dallas County School District, a Texas jury found that a Dallas County School District (the “School District”) violated Texas disability discrimination laws when it fired a bus monitor who lost control of his bladder on a school bus.  The bus monitor, Paul Green, suffered a known disability – congestive heart failure – and had disclosed that he was taking a diuretic drug for his heart condition. The District said it did not fire the bus monitor “because of” his disability (congestive heart failure) but because of the health and safety violations that occurred. On appeal, the Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the jury verdict.  Green asked the Texas Supreme Court to consider whether the jury could have found he was fired because of a different “disability” – his urinary incontinence.

To read the rest of this article, visit HRUSA at

Colorado Payroll Information May Become Public Record

Posted in Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

On April 13, 2017, Governor John Hickenlooper approved Colorado House Bill 17-1021 (“HB 17-1021”) which amends Section 8-1-115 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.  In summary, HB 17-1021 provides that the information an employer provides to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“CDLE”) in connection with complaints and investigations into violations of the State’s wage and hour laws can be treated as a public record and released to the public pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act, unless the CDLE determines that the information is a trade secret.

To read the rest of the article, visit the HRUSA blog at:

“Saying It’s So, Doesn’t Make It So”- Independent Contractor v. Employee Status

Posted in Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law

Summary of Program

The risks involved in misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee have always been serious. A number of federal and state agencies regulate the proper classification of workers and have the authority to impose significant monetary and non-monetary sanctions against employers who get the classification wrong.

Program Highlights

This informative webinar will cover the legal landscape of independent contractor status. Topics will include:

  • A summary of the various tests applied by federal and state agencies to determine independent contractor status;
  • A summary of the enforcement authority of various federal and state agencies and the sanctions they may impose;
  • The due diligence employers must engage in before classifying a worker as an independent contractor; and
  • California’s law imposing monetary and non-monetary sanctions against employers (and other individuals) who willfully misclassify workers as independent contractors.

If you or your company is currently using independent contractors, this is a webinar you won’t want to miss. Register today!

Date & Time:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

There will be no cost for this webinar.

Approved for one (1) hour MCLE. This program will be submitted to the HR Certification Institute for Review.

Please RSVP by Monday, June 12, 2017.

To RSVP please visit our event page at