Teresa McQueen
Western Growers, Corporate Counsel

Teresa McQueen is Corporate Counsel for Western Growers. In that capacity she provides advice and counsel to the organization on employment law matters and commercial trade practices. She also provides legal guidance to Western Growers members on employment law, human resources, and commercial agreements, as well as providing law-related educational opportunities and overseeing annual updates […]

Posts By: Teresa McQueen

NLRB Ruling Blurs the Line Between Opinion and Threat

A confusing National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling in the case Amazon.com Services LLC makes employer communications concerning union activity even more difficult to navigate.   An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in San Franciso recently ruled that opinion statements made by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy (Jassy) violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because they were deemed…

Heat Safety Comes into Focus as Temperatures Rise 

Under federal and state laws, all employers have a duty to take steps to help workers become acclimated to high heat conditions and to prevent potentially deadly heat-related situations. Federal OSHA provides agricultural employers with many useful resources through its OSHA Publications website. Cal/OSHA also provides employers with compliance tools when it comes to preventing heat-related…

California Supreme Court Recognizes Employers’ Good-Faith Defense Against Penalties for Wage-Statement Errors

Over the last two years the California Supreme Court case Naranjo et al. v. Spectrum Sec. Servs., Inc. has served to settle several divisive issues among the courts. With its May 6, 2024, ruling the Court gives us one final lesson.    As discussed here, the original question before the Court concerned whether the law requires employers to treat certain amounts — premium pay awarded for…

California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Compliance Deadline is July 1st

California’s SB 553i requires all employers – with few exceptions – to create and implement a comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP). As a reminder, the statute’s effective date of July 1, 2024, is just around the corner.     Effective July 1st employers must have in place:   A WVPP that meets the law’s specific standards;  A violent incident log to…

NLRB General Counsel Encourages Expansion of ‘Make-Whole’ Remedies

An April 8, 2024, Memorandum issued by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo (General Counsel), advises regional offices to push the NLRB to pursue “the full panoply of remedies available to ensure that victims of unlawful conduct are made whole for losses suffered as a result of unfair labor practices.” A key focus of the memo is the General Counsel’s…

EEOC Releases Updated Enforcement Guide on Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has finalized a new anti-harassment resource titled Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace. Originally released for comment in 2017 the guidance was finalized November 1, 2023.  The updated guidance reflects notable changes in the law since 2017 including the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County,…

U.S. Supreme Court Sets New Title VII Standard

The U.S Supreme Court, in resolving a split among various Circuit courts, set a new standard for the amount of harm a plaintiff must demonstrate to bring an employment-related discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Over the years various Circuit courts have applied differing levels of the requisite harm required to show discrimination, resulting in…

U.S. Supreme Court Sets New Title VII Standard

The U.S. Supreme Court, in resolving a split among various Circuit courts, set a new standard for the amount of harm a plaintiff must demonstrate to bring an employment-related discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Over the years various Circuit courts have applied differing levels of the requisite harm required to show discrimination, resulting in…

NLRB General Counsel Encourages Expansion of ‘Make-Whole’ Remedies

An April 8, 2024, Memorandum issued by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo (General Counsel), advises regional offices to push the NLRB to pursue “the full panoply of remedies available to ensure that victims of unlawful conduct are made whole for losses suffered as a result of unfair labor practices.” A key focus of the memo is the General Counsel’s…

EEOC Issues Final Rule on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued its final rule implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). As discussed here, the PWFA requires most employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations,” or changes at work, for a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the…

Best Practices: How to Collect Employee Information for Pay Data Reporting

Upcoming pay data reporting obligations in California have many employers struggling to gather and report employee race and ethnicity data. As a reminder, the filing deadline for employers with 100 or more employees is May 8, 2024.   One of the biggest stumbling blocks for reporting accurate pay data is the question of how employers are to gather the required information. The California…

California Privacy Protection Agency Issues its First Enforcement Advisory

The California Privacy Protection Agency (Agency) is responsible for creating and enforcing California’s Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) regulations that took effect March 29, 2024. As discussed here, the CPRA amended and expanded the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) by, among other things, giving consumers the right to correct inaccurate personal information collected by a covered…

A Lesson in Arbitration

The recent California case Vazquez v. Sanisure, Inc., provides an important lesson on one of the basic premises of arbitration; an arbitration agreement is tied to the underlying contract containing it and as such it can be revoked on the same grounds as exist for the revocation of any contract. Initially hired by the company in 2019, employee Vazquez signed, as part of the hiring process, an…

Cal/OSHA Issues FAQs for Workplace Violence Prevention

California Senate Bill 553  amended the California Labor Code to create new requirements for addressing workplace violence. These new requirements include a July 1, 2024 effective date for employers to establish and implement an effective Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP). As discussed here, to assist employers in meeting this regulatory deadline, the California Division of…

U.S. Court of Appeals Refuses to Enforce NLRB Finding of Unfair Labor Practices

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has refused to enforce a National Labor Relations Board (Board) finding of unfair labor practices calling out the Board’s rational as “nonsense.” In the case Stern Produce Company Inc., v. NLRB the Court found the employer’s actions had not created the impression of surveilling union organizing activity nor risen to the level of…

OSHA Finalizes Controversial Rule Authorizing Third-Party Representation During Inspections

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finalized a new rule allowing workers to designate a third-party representative to accompany any OSHA inspector during a facility inspection. Because the rule does not require the representative to be a company employee or the facility to be unionized, the opportunity for union representatives to fill the role is concerning. As…

A Lesson from the California Supreme Court on Compensable Time

A recent California Supreme Court ruling clarifies California's Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Wage Order (WO) requirements entitling employees to at least minimum wage compensation for all “hours worked.” In the case Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors , the Court focused on three specific questions centered on the applicability of the term ‘hours worked’ as found in WO #16.…

Cal/OSHA Indoor Heat Regulation Limbo – What Now?

As discussed here, on March 22, 2024, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board took an unexpected step by unanimously approving an indoor heat illness prevention regulation. The approval has left California employers in a precarious state of limbo. What happens next? Over the next 30 working days, the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) must review the rulemaking record to ensure agency…

Best Practices: OSHA Complaints/Inspections

Representatives of the U.S Occupational, Safety and Health Association (OSHA) as well as Cal/OSHA and Arizona’s ADOSH are authorized to inspect the workplace whenever they have reason to believe an employee may be in danger due to employment hazards.  Complaints of workplace hazards can manifest in several ways, but employee complaints are the most common. Below are a few key points when it…

New NLRB Joint Employer Final Rule Struck Down by Federal Court

As discussed here, on October 26, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) issued a new Final Rule affecting joint employment under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The new rule rescinded the Board’s prior rule enacted in 2020 (“2020 Rule”) and instead set forth a new test expanding the circumstances under which an employer is deemed a ‘joint employer.’ Legal…