An excerpt from the article which can be viewed on the Los Angeles Times website, Mark Binder, Chang M. Liu, Anthony Nguyen and Greg Skalaski Weigh In On 2023 Outlook, or in our Archived PDF.
Q: What are the main pros and cons of doing business in California today compared with other states?
Anthony Nguyen, Shareholder, Shegerian & Associates, Inc., California is at the forefront of progressive protections afforded to employees. This does, of course, come with the “cost of doing business in California” as business owners are often quick to say, but such concerns should and are alleviated if employers simply follow the law and provide the legal protections afforded to their employees. In turn, employers will be able to enjoy the rewards of a diverse and highly qualified workforce.
Q: What are some new challenges/issues that have surfaced for employees as a result of COVID and the hybrid/remote work models?
Nguyen: A “new” challenge is actually an “old” one, as more and more employees will have to adjust to transitioning from working from home back to physically working in the office. Many employees changed jobs during the pandemic, so how will such employees deal with physically working around others who they’ve possibly had little physical interaction up until this point, and in turn, how will the more senior employees deal with this influx of “new” coworkers, subordinates, and management? As more and more businesses begin to shift back to working in the office, the new dynamics of personnel interactions will be something to watch.
Q: Do you think California labor laws and COVID-19-related rulings will continue to impact businesses in ‘23?
Nguyen: COVID-19-related rulings continue to have a substantial impact on our judicial system in light of the backlog and delays caused by the pandemic shutdown. Individuals who need to enforce or defend their rights through legal proceedings should be aware that such processes may not be as fast as they would hope and that such will be the norm rather than the exception for the foreseeable future.
Q: What are some new laws that employees need to be aware of in the coming year?
Nguyen: Qualified employees will now have job protection for taking bereavement leave with most employers. Beginning this year, an employer with five or more employees will have to provide up to five days of unpaid protected leave to an employee upon the death of that employee’s family member, which is defined as either a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or partner-in-law. Only employees who have been employed for at least 30 days are eligible, and the leave must be completed within three months of the family member’s death. This is a substantial change in the law as employees previously had no such protections if they found themselves in a situation where they had to deal with the unfortunate passing of a loved one.
Q: How would you advise an employee who is facing harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace?
Nguyen: An employee who is facing harassment and/or discrimination should immediately notify management and human resources. A common mistake that employees in such situations make is to assume that nothing will be done, or worse, that they will suffer retaliation. While that certainly does occur in the workplace, employees must put the burden on the employer to respond accordingly to such wrongful conduct as they are legally required to do. Should the employer fail, then the employee should immediately seek legal representation to protect their rights to be free from such harassment or discrimination.
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