Golden State Worriers: California Labor & Employment Bills to Watch

by Littler
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When it comes to legislation, for California employers it's the final countdown. June 2 was the last day for bills to pass out of their house of origin. September 15 is the deadline for these bills to pass both legislative houses, and the governor will have until October 15 to sign or veto bills. Generally, California laws take effect January 1 the following year. Below we briefly highlight notable pending Golden State labor and employment measures.

Background Checks

AB 1008: Creates a new criminal background check law within the Fair Employment and Housing Act, while not otherwise amending existing restrictions. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

Benefits

SB 581: Removes certain mandatory disclosure language in group benefit plans subject to Cal-COBRA. Passed Senate; in Assembly Committee.

SB 562: Establishes a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program for California residents. Passed Senate; in Assembly.

Discrimination

AB 569: Prohibits adverse action based on an employee’s reproductive healthcare decisions and requiring employees to sign a code of conduct or similar document purporting to deny them the right to make reproductive healthcare decisions. Also, a notice of employee rights must be included in employee handbooks. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

AB 353: Permits written voluntary veterans’ employment policies that are not used to discriminate against other protected classifications. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

Equal Pay

AB 46: Clarifies that under the California Fair Play Act “employer” includes public and private employers. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

AB 168: Prohibits asking for applicants’ salary history information and requires, upon a reasonable request, that the position’s pay scale be provided. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

AB 1209: Employers with 250 or more employees that must file a statement of information with the California Secretary of State must collect gender pay differential information, publish it on a publicly-available website, and submit it to the Secretary of State. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

Immigration

AB 450: Unless federal law requires, employers cannot provide access to nonpublic areas of labor to federal immigration agents without a warrant and cannot provide voluntary access to employee records without a subpoena. Also, employees must be provided notice within 24 hours of an employer's providing I-9 forms. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

Leaves of Absence

SB 63: Employment protections for employees taking parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care if they work at a worksite in which at least 20 employees are employed within 75 miles, have more than 12 months of service, and at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period. Passed Senate; in Assembly Committee.

Overtime

AB 1565: Requires exempt executives, administrative, or professional employees to earn a monthly salary equal to $3,956 or twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment, whichever amount is greater. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

Tips

AB 1099: Organizations using an online application or platform to connect customers with workers that allow payment by debit or credit card must allow tips via the same, which the worker must receive no later than the next regular payday following the tip. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

Workplace Safety

AB 978: Within 10 business days of receiving a written request, an employer must provide a current employee or his or her representative, for free, a written or electronic copy of the employer’s written injury prevention program. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

AB 1222: Removes from the list of electronic wireless communications devices individuals cannot use when driving a motor vehicle a specialized mobile radio device and a two-way messaging device. Passed Assembly; in Senate Committee.

SB 258: The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 requires employers to include on any container into which a cleaning product is transferred a label that includes information concerning the product’s name, ingredients and contaminants of concern, and a pictogram of potential health impacts. Passed Senate; in Assembly.

One more thing to keep an eye on – last year, California voters passed Proposition 54, the Public Display of Legislative Bills Prior To Vote Initiative.  This amended the constitution to prohibit the state legislature from passing any bill unless it is published on the Internet for 72 hours before the vote.  Unfortunately, it is not entirely clear whether the law applies to the vote in the bill’s house of origin, which moves the bill to the other house, or whether it applies to the vote in the second house, which moves the bill to the governor’s desk.  The state Senate is assuming that the provision applies to bills in the house of origin, but for some Assembly bills, the Assembly is not providing the advance notice.  The proponents of Prop 54 are arguing that the Assembly is violating the constitution, and this could lead to future legal challenges.

We will continue to monitor and report on significant developments as they occur.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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