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Zachary Agudelo

Zach Agudelo is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He is a member of both the Employment and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Groups.

Since 2020, with the adoption of Washington state’s non-compete statute (Chapter 49.62 of the Revised Code of Washington (“RCW 49.62”)), Washington has imposed significant restrictions on employer use of non-compete agreements with employees and independent contractors, permitting such agreements only subject to certain statutory and common-law requirements, including without limitation, a minimum annual earnings threshold (the 2024 limits are $120,559.99 for employees and $301,399.98 for independent contractors), and a Washington forum for any disputes.

Now, Senate Bill 5935 (“SB 5935”) – which takes effect on June 6, 2024 – amends the non-compete statute to further restrict the use of non-compete provisions and expand the types of agreements that may be considered non-competes. As a result, employers will need to take quick action to review their employment agreements and hiring processes to ensure compliance with the new law.

However, as discussed in our Covington Alert, on April 23, 2024 the Federal Trade Commission issued a final rule purporting to ban the use of non-competes with most U.S. workers.  The FTC Rule – should it become effective – would supersede inconsistent state laws.  The earliest the FTC Rule would take effect is late August 2024, and pending legal challenges may result in court orders that could delay or stay enforcement of the FTC Rule. Accordingly, employers with workers in Washington State should take steps to comply with SB 5935 before it takes effect on June 6, 2024.  Employers should also consider consulting with employment and executive compensation counsel for assistance with navigating the evolving non-compete landscape.

Here is an overview of the key changes under SB 5935:Continue Reading Changes to WA’s Non-Compete Law Require Employers to Take Action

A new law signed by President Biden brings significant changes to employers’ ability to require arbitration of certain disputes with employees and could lead to an increase in sexual assault and sexual harassment claims against employers in court.  On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed into law the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault

In a development that will sound familiar to employers, California has reinstated the requirement, which had expired last fall, to make available to employees up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“Supplemental Sick Leave”).  The new measure, Senate Bill (“SB”) 114, was signed by Governor Newsom on February 9, 2022, and the requirement to provide the new sick leave went into effect on February 19. Employees may use the new sick leave retroactive to January 1, 2022.

New Supplemental Sick Leave Requirements

Following is an overview of the new and more expansive requirements under SB 114, which applies to employers with more than 25 employees.

Hours of Leave.  Full-time employees are entitled to up to 80 total hours of Supplemental Sick Leave for specified reasons and divided into two 40-hour buckets, described below.  Part-time employees are entitled to prorated leave equivalent to either their typical hours worked in a week, or seven multiplied by the average number of hours they have worked each day in the last six months.

The two buckets of leave are as follows:

First, full-time employees may use up to 40 hours of Supplemental Sick Leave when they are unable to work or telework for any of these reasons:

The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19, as defined by an order or guidelines of the California Department of Public Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace (if the employee is subject to more than one order/guideline, the employee may use Supplemental Sick Leave for the minimum quarantine or isolation period under the order or guidance that provides for the longest such minimum period);
Continue Reading California Reinstates and Updates COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 2022