California Minimum Wage Increases for all Employers Regardless of Size

Effective January 1, 2023, the California minimum wage will increase to $15.50 per hour for all employers regardless of size. Although the state minimum wage for small employers (25 or less employees) was scheduled to increase to only $15 per hour to match the rate that has been in effect for larger employers, a provision of the statute requires the annual inflation adjustment to kick in early if the rate of inflation tops 7 percent. (Cal. Lab. Code § 1182.12(c)(3)(B).) Because the Department of Finance declared that the inflation rate from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 increased by 7.9 percent, California’s minimum wage rate will increase by 3.5 percent to $15.50.

Employers should note that the state’s minimum wage increase also affects the salaries of exempt employees due to the requirement that exempt employees earn no less than two times the state’s (not local) minimum wage for full-time work. This means that, beginning January 1, 2023, exempt employees in California must earn an annual salary of no less than $64,480.

Employers must also consider local minimum wage increases imposed by cities or counties and pay employees the hourly rate that provides the greatest benefit to employees. For example, effective January 1, 2023, the City of San Jose will increase its minimum wage to $17 per hour, and the City of San Diego’s minimum wage will increase to $16.30 per hour. Therefore, employers operating within these cities must pay employees according to the higher local minimum wage.

Other local jurisdictions have implemented minimum wage increases for 2023; it is therefore important for employers to check the minimum wage requirement in the locations where their employees are working. The chart reflects some changes to local minimum wage rates in California’s major cities.

** Please be advised, that some minimum wage are subject to change. This chart is not intended to capture every city with minimum wage ordinances within California. This chart is current as of Dec. 1, 2022.**
ǂ Applies to hotels with 60 or more rooms.


As always, please reach out to your employment counsel at Meyers Nave if you have any questions, concerns, needs for clarification or if you would like further assistance.

The State of COVID-19 Requirements in California: Five Developments to Keep in Mind

Almost three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state regulators are taking steps to prepare for a longer term response to COVID-19. Here are five developments to keep in mind:

1. The Definitions of “Close Contact” and “Infectious Period” Have Changed.

California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) Director Tomás J. Aragón issued a State Public Health Officer order that changed the definitions of both “close contact” and “infectious period” as of October 14, 2022. The new “close contact” definition means that everyone in a smaller space (400,000 cubic feet or less) who shares indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes during an infectious period is considered a “close contact,” even if they were not within six feet of the infected employee. For spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet, the old definition of being within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period still applies. The new “infectious period” definition is less stringent, and may end after five days, in some circumstances. The new definitions are here.

2. Employers Must Continue to Provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave through December 31, 2022.

A new wave of infections may be coming in late fall, due to low booster rates and following the wave of infection in Europe. Employers should keep in mind that pursuant to AB-152, public and private employers of 26 or more employees must provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave through December 31, 2022. Previously, the expiration date was September 30, 2022. The new law does not increase the number of hours of leave that are available. Details of the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave requirements are located here.

AB-152 also established establishes the California Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Relief Grant Program to provide small businesses and nonprofits with 26 to 49 employees with grants of up to $50,000 for actual costs incurred for COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.

3. COVID-19 General Exposure Notification Requirements Continue Through January 1, 2024.

Currently, California public and private employers must notify employees within one business day if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Under recently enacted AB-2693, the end of this requirement was extended from January 1, 2023 to January 1, 2024. In addition, the new law makes it easier to notify employees of exposure, by permitting an employer to instead post the information in a prominent place and on any existing employee portal for notices.

The notice must remain posted for at least 15 calendar days and include information including (1) the dates the employee or subcontracted employee was on the worksite; (2) the location of the exposures; (3) contact information for employees to receive information on COVID-19 related benefits to which exposed employees may be entitled; and (4) contact information to receive the cleaning and disinfection plan. The notice must be in English and the language understood by the majority of employees. Employers must retain for three years a log of the dates the notice was posted at each worksite.

4. The COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Will Likely Be Replaced by a “Non-Emergency” COVID-19 Prevention Regulation.

Since November 2020, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) has issued a series of COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), the latest which is expected to expire on December 31, 2022.

Cal/OSHA has proposed new Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Standards here. However, even if the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approves the new nonemergency standard on their next meeting, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) will still need to review the standard and file it with the Secretary of State before it can take effect. This means the current ETS could remain in effect past the December 31st expiration date while the OAL reviews and adopts the new standard.

5. Federal and State COVID-19 State of Emergency Orders Are Ending.

With low reported COVID-19 infection rates, on October 17, 2022, Governor Newsom declared that California’s COVID-19 state of emergency will end on February 28, 2023. The federal COVID-19 emergency orders are currently set to expire January 11, 2023. These changes, and decreased federal funding, will likely mean increased costs for employees for vaccinations, testing, and treatment in 2023.

As always, please reach out to your employment counsel at Meyers Nave if you have any questions, concerns, needs for clarification or if you would like further assistance.

CEQA Findings of Exemptions Must be Included on Public Meeting Agendas

The Court of Appeal (Second District) recently issued a decision clarifying that the Brown Act requires that CEQA decisions (including discussing or voting on CEQA exemptions) must be listed as an item of business on the meeting agenda at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.  (See G.I. Industries v. City of Thousand Oaks, 2d Civ. No. B317201, October 26, 2022 (G.I. Industries).)

The issue in G.I. Industries was that the City of Thousand Oaks had agendized for its regular City Council meeting consideration of an award of a new exclusive solid waste management franchise agreement.  The posted agenda for the meeting did not indicate that the City would be considering whether the franchise agreement was exempt from CEQA.  At the meeting, the motion was amended to not only approve the franchise agreement, but to also include a finding that the franchise agreement was exempt from CEQA.  The meeting minutes indicated these were two separate actions.  The City voted to adopt the exemption findings and filed a Notice of Exemption.

G.I. Industries, the City’s prior waste management provider, filed a writ of mandate alleging the City violated the Brown Act because it failed to provide notice through its posted agenda that CEQA exemptions would be considered at the City Council meeting.  The trial court ruled in favor of the City, concluding that because CEQA does not require a public hearing for an exemption determination, the Brown Act does not require that an exemption be agendized.  The Court of Appeal reversed.

The Court of Appeal determined that the City violated the Brown Act because “the CEQA exemption involved a separate action or determination by the City and concerned discrete significant issues of CEQA compliance.”  Under the Brown Act, meeting agendas for local agencies must include a description of each item of business to be considered at a meeting at least 72 hours prior to that meeting.  The Court found the fact that CEQA exemption determinations need not be made at a public meeting was irrelevant, and that if the matter is discussed at all during such meeting, the Brown Act’s agenda requirements apply. The Court relied on the earlier decision in San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center v. County of Merced (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 1167, which determined that the City’s adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration was improper when not included on the agenda as a separate action from the project approval, holding “the Brown Act clearly and unambiguously states that an agenda shall describe ‘each item of business to be transacted or discussed’ at the meeting.  (§ 54954.2, subd. (a)(1).”  As explained in G.I. Industries, an agenda can merely state “the local agency is considering a project subject to staff determination of CEQA [compliance].”

This case expands both the requirements under the Brown Act and procedural requirements of CEQA.  Public agencies must now post distinct CEQA-related decisions discussed at public meetings on meeting agendas to avoid a Brown Act violation.


Meyers Nave Ranked as a “Best Law Firm” in Eight Categories by the 2023 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers® and U.S. News & World Report have announced the release of the 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings in which Meyers Nave received rankings in eight categories, including two Tier 1 rankings in Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law in the Metropolitan Oakland area.

In addition to our Tier 1 rankings in Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law in the Metropolitan Oakland area, the firm was also ranked in the following categories:

Metropolitan Tier 2

  • Los Angeles – Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Oakland – Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law and Municipal Law

Metropolitan Tier 3

  • Los Angeles – Litigation – Environmental
  • Oakland – Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Sacramento – Municipal Law

Firms included in the 2023 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®, which recognizes 6% of lawyers practicing in the United States. Eight of our attorneys were recognized in 2023 as “Best Lawyers” in their fields.

The Best Law Firms list is determined by client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the field and review of additional information provided by law firms.

Best Lawyers says, “Achieving a tiered ranking in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.”

Deborah Fox to Serve as Final Round Judge for the Tournament of Champions Law School Trial Competition

On October 31, Deborah Fox, Chair of Meyers Nave’s statewide First Amendment and Trial & Litigation Practice Groups, will be a final round judge for the Tournament of Champions law school trial competition at UCLA School of Law. Sponsored by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and NITA, and limited to the top 16 trial advocacy schools in the country, this is among the most prestigious law school trial competitions in the country

Arlene Yang Appointed to the 2022-2023 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Board of Governors

Labor & Employment partner Arlene Yang was recently appointed as the Southern California Regional Governor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

Arlene will be sworn in with the other 2022-23 Board of Governors – comprised of officers, directors, regional governors, and at-large board members – during the 2022 NAPABA Convention in Las Vegas on November 5. In addition, Public Law partner Rich Pio Roda will speak at the convention on November 4.

NAPABA is the nation’s largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of 60,000 attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students.

Congratulations to Arlene!

Meyers Nave Represents the Tongva Community in Historic Reclaiming of Ancestral Land in Los Angeles Area After 200 Years

Meyers Nave lawyers Russell Morse, Jon Goetz and Blake Senet represented the Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Conservancy in one of the first private land returns to Native Americans in the Los Angeles area. This historic event was widely reported by several Los Angeles media outlets and marks the first time in the nearly 200 years since the California mission system ended that land has been returned to the Tongva people.

Reclaiming ancestral land is rare for any Native American nation, tribe, or band. It is particularly complicated for the Tongva, who lack federal tribal status. Because the tribe was not equipped to process the bequest, Meyers Nave stepped in to provide legal support and advice to the Conservancy which resulted in the successful donation of the property, located in Altadena.

As noted in last week’s Los Angeles Times, “Tongva leaders said they hope the land can provide paths for the community to reconnect with its culture and promote healing from the centuries of trauma.”

Meyers Nave is proud to represent the Conservancy and to have helped secure this landmark victory for the Tongva people.

Meyers Nave Expands Labor and Employment Practice with Arrival of Neha Shah

Neha Shah has joined the firm as a senior associate in the Labor and Employment Practice continuing the group’s strategic growth and strengthening its client offerings. She is based in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

She handles a broad range of matters, including labor and employment with an emphasis on traditional labor relations, advice and counsel, and workplace investigations. She guides employers to minimize liability through preventative measures and providing practical guidance and training to executives and HR professionals.

Neha has significant first-chair experience representing the employer in arbitration, mediation, administrative proceedings, collective bargaining and negotiations. She has conducted several investigations, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, Title IX, hostile work environment, collective bargaining agreement violations, and health and safety violations.

She is also a frequent presenter and has shared her expertise at conferences and seminars on the topics of public sector labor law, practicing at PERB, equity and inclusion, and human resources best practices.

Prior to joining Meyers Nave, Neha was a senior labor relations manager and Public Employment Relations Board Lead at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor where she served as the lead for unfair practice charge proceedings for a university system comprised of 23 campuses, more than 60,000 employees and 13 bargaining units with a collective annual compensation cost in excess of $4.2 billion.

Learn more about Neha. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment lawyers represent corporations, public entities, non-profit organizations, and public-private partnerships throughout California. We provide day-to-day counseling, draft and review employee handbooks, and conduct internal training programs. Our lawyers also handle workplace investigations, administrative claims, grievances, unfair labor practices and employee relations issues, mediation, arbitration and litigation in state and federal courts.

In 2020, Meyers Nave merged with Brown Law Group, a prominent woman- and minority owned employment law firm based in San Diego serving many of the nation’s largest employers for more than 20 years. Combining Brown Law Group with Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment Law Practice increased the size, state-wide reach and depth of capabilities for representing employers in high-impact litigation.

Learn more about our Labor and Employment practice.

Alicia Morrell to Speak on Allyship at the California Minority Counsel Program Business Conference

On October 12, Alicia Morrell will be a featured speaker at the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) Business Conference in Los Angeles at 3:30pm. CLE credit is available.

Alicia’s panel, “I’ve Got Your Back: Supporting Women of Color,” will explore allyship with women of color and other groups, including examining and cultural differences in how professional women of color and others are perceived, supported or hindered in their careers. This interactive session will also include opportunities to discuss recognizing and eliminating microaggressions and digging deeper into the part we can all play to create inclusive space for everyone.

CMCP is a three-day conference connecting 500+ attorneys of color from law firms and corporate/public agency legal departments.

Learn more and register.