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Read the latest news from Scali Rasmussen, including legal alerts and event listings.

An American solution

Automotive franchise laws serve local communities and consumers

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It is fashionable of late to decry the franchise automotive retail system as inefficient, costly to consumers, and unable to innovate. These complaints are partially inspired by the rise of new brands such as Tesla that do not rely on independent, franchised dealers to sell their vehicles and, therefore, run into conflict with franchise laws in many states. In the authors’ view, what the critics miss is that the franchise system and franchise law are a result of a long history of conflict between manufacturers and dealers that governments mediate for the benefit of consumers and local economies.

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A recent California Supreme Court case (Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC) held that employees must be paid meal and rest break premiums for any missed or non-compliant breaks at a rate of pay including all non-discretionary payments for the work performed.

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The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Los Angeles County will issue a new health order that will mandate that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks when in public indoor spaces starting at 12:01 AM on Sunday, July 18. Currently, only individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks in public indoor spaces. This new mandate follows on the heels of recommendations from the County that everyone wear masks indoors in response to the increase in spread of COVID-19 due to the prevalence of the Delta Variant. County health officials said that this mandate will likely be in place until there is a decrease in transmission County wide.

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Recent announcements from Apple and Google are forcing companies that advertise using third-party cookies to reconsider their plans. This year Apple banned the use of unauthorized third-party cookies on Safari, its internet browser. Google announced this year that it will follow suit, banning these cookies from its web browser Chrome, by 2022.

Juneteenth becomes federal holiday

Does it affect your business?

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Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers delivered news to Texas that slaves were to be emancipated. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Today, Juneteenth is the oldest African-American holiday and marks the long fight for freedom from enslavement. To recognize this history and the significance of the holiday, on June 17, 2021, President Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The law was effective immediately, and many federal employers gave Friday, June 18, 2021, off to their employees, in observation of Juneteenth, and many federal offices were closed.

Reimbursing business expenses

Litigation hot topic

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At the beginning of the pandemic we shared how telework realities of quarantine resulted in potentially new reimbursable business expenses for employees such as home internet, home telephone, utility, office furniture and other costs. Now, even when employees are getting back to the workspace, many will continue to use their personal devices for business use. Where such use is reasonable and necessary, the employer must reimburse such expenses. The first step is to make sure employees can seek reimbursement for expenses such as cell phone use. Since reimbursement of business expenses is a non-waivable right, employees are entitled to reimbursement and can bring a class action or PAGA case seeking the same even if they never directly requested reimbursement from the employer. Several such cases have already been filed across California.

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A number of dealerships are experiencing vehicle allocation shortages due to factory shutdowns due to a computer chip shortage affecting the entire industry. While this a challenge to many dealerships, it has also presented an opportunity to sell some vehicles for more than the MSRP due to high demand. This article covers compliance advice on how to disclose these higher prices in a way to avoid scrutiny from the DMV and plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Cal/OSHA publishes new employee rules

More changes still likely

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In November of 2020, Cal/OSHA adopted emergency COVID-related regulations to prevent the spread of COVID in the workplace. Six months later, on June 4, 2021, it announced changes to these restrictions that it will likely formally adopt in the next few days. These restrictions apply to employers and their employees.