Labor and Employment Law

Ca. Labor & Emp't Rev. May 2021, Volume 35, No. 3


By Deborah Maddux

Deborah Maddux is the Senior Managing Partner of Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation. Deborah’s practice focuses on conducting and overseeing workplace investigations and conducting administrative hearings. Her background includes serving as in-house counsel to the University of California, counsel to the California FPPC, and litigation counsel. Deborah is the incoming Chair of the Labor & Employment Executive Committee.

As I write this column in early March, President Biden just announced that the United States will have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every adult American by the end of May-when you will be reading this. This suggests the return to "normal" is just around the corner. To understand what this means for our members in the Labor & Employment Law Section, I spoke with a few Executive Committee members who represent the plaintiff, defense, neutral, and union perspectives.1 The consensus from these representatives: the return to "normal" will present unique challenges. I highlight some of the main issues which are front of mind for these practitioners.

Before we dive in, let’s pause to consider how quickly the labor and employment bar rose to meet the challenges of 2020 when it seemed that every week threw a new hurdle, challenge, or innovation at us. We saw the rapid passage of sweeping laws that affected nearly every facet of labor and employment laws, including sick leave; unemployment insurance; workers’ compensation; antidiscrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation laws; EEOC and DFEH policies; occupational health safety; and whistleblower protections, to name a few. This all occurred in tandem with evolving social and political unrest. Even so, we were able to meet the needs of employers and employees throughout the state-even as we struggled to do so using new and evolving technology. I write this to remind us that we are ready for the challenges ahead.

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