Hot List – What’s Happening in the California Legislature 8/21-8/25

by Fisher Phillips
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Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

The End is Near

On Monday, the Legislature returns from summer recess to finish up work on bills for the year.  At this point in the process, the majority of bills are in the fiscal committee of their respective houses, or waiting to be taken up for a final floor vote.  The last few weeks will feature a flurry of activity as the Legislature rushes to pass all bills by the September 15 deadline.  Governor Brown will have until October 15 to act on legislation.  Check out our handy summary of the “top ten” labor and employment bills to track as we rapidly approach the end of session.

Senate Floor

The following bills are eligible to be taken up on the Senate Floor at any time:

AB 168 (Eggman) – Salary History Information – Prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment.  This bill also requires an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant for employment.  Previous legislative efforts in this regard have not been successful.

AB 260 (Santiago) – Human Trafficking – This bill adds hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns, and similar transient lodging establishments, other than personal residences, to the list of businesses and other establishments that are required to post information about human trafficking on their premises.

AB 326 (Salas) – Barbering and Cosmetology: Physical and Sexual Abuse Awareness Training: Requires an existing health and safety course adopted by the board to include physical and sexual abuse awareness.

AB 500 (Gomez) – Employee Codes of Conduct – Requires a school that maintains a section on employee interactions with pupils in its employee code of conduct to provide a copy to parents and guardians of pupils and post in on the school’s website.

AB 978 (Limón) – OSHA IIPPs – This bill requires employers, upon written request, to provide a copy of the written injury and illness prevention program (including all required attachments) to an employee or authorized representative.  This bill is similar to AB 2895 from last year, which was not taken up on the Senate floor.

AB 1425 (Kalra) – Apprentices – Requires contractors to provide specified contract information to the apprenticeship committee for each applicable craft or trade in the area of the public works project within 10 days of the execution of a contact (or not later than the first day work begins).  This bill also provides that a contractor or subcontractor that knowingly commits four or more apprenticeship violations in a three-year period shall be ineligible to bid on a public works contract for one year.

AB 1565 (Thurmond) – Overtime Salary Threshold – Provides that an executive, administrative or professional employee is exempt from overtime if they earn a monthly salary equivalent to $3,956 or twice the state minimum wage, whichever is higher.  As discussed here, this bill is a labor-supported response to the apparent demise (thus far) of the Obama Department of Labor effort to increase the salary threshold required for the overtime exemptions under federal law.

Assembly Floor

The following bills are eligible to be taken up on the Assembly Floor at any time:

SB 33 (Dodd) – Arbitration Agreements - Provides that arbitration is not compelled when the court determines that a petitioner is a financial institution that seeks to apply a written agreement to arbitrate, contained in a contract consented to by a consumer, to a purported contractual relationship with that consumer created fraudulently by the petitioner without the consumer’s consent and by unlawfully using the consumer’s personal identifying information.

SB 285 (Atkins) – Public Employers: Union Organizing – Prohibits a public employer from deterring or discouraging public employees from becoming or remaining members of a union.

SB 418 (Hernandez) – Public Contracts: “Skilled and Trained Workforce” Requirements – This bill originally dealt with the “de minimis” exemption for the use of public funds on public works project.  However, the bill was recently amended to delete its contents and address a completely different issue.  Existing law imposes a “skilled and trained workforce” requirement on certain projects, including a requirement that a certain percentage of skilled journeypersons on a project are graduates of an apprenticeship program.  This bill would exempt nearly 20 occupations from those requirements. 

SB 490 (Bradford) – Hair Salons: Commission Wages – This bill is brought in response to AB 1513 regarding piece rate wages and concerns that have been expressed by the salon industry.  This bill provides that wages paid to licensed employees, when paid as a percentage or a flat sum portion paid to the employer by the client, constitute “commissions”, provided that the employee is paid a regular hourly rate of at least two times the state minimum wage.

SB 772 (Leyva) – Cal/OSHA Regulations – Existing state law requires an in-depth economic assessment (known as the Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment – SRIA) of any regulation estimated to cost employers over $50 million.  This bill would exempt Cal/OSHA regulations from that requirement.  The author of this bill sponsored legislation last year (SB 1167) to require the adoption of an indoor heat illness standard.  She indicates that this bill is intended to help expedite the adoption of that regulation and argues that the SRIA requirement is duplicative and can lead to unnecessary delay.

Senate Appropriations Committee – August 21, 2017 (Monday) – 10:00 a.m. – Room 4203

AB 46 (Cooper) – Gender Pay Inequality – Provides that the California Equal Pay Act applies to both public and private employers.

AB 450 (Chiu) – Immigration Worksite Enforcement Actions - This bill places California employers squarely in the middle of the national debate about immigration.  Among other things, the bill (1) requires employers to demand warrants and subpoenas from ICE prior to immigration worksite enforcement actions, and (2) requires employers to notify the workers, their representatives, and the Labor Commissioner prior to immigration enforcement activity.  Violations of any of the bill’s provisions are punishable by a civil penalty of between $2,000 and $10,000.  Read more about this bill here.

AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher) – Discrimination: Reproductive Health - Prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee based on the employee’s reproductive health care decisions, including the use of any drug, device, or medical service related to reproductive health of the employee or a dependent.  In addition, the bill prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to sign or adhere to a code of conduct that purports to deny the employee the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions.  Because this bill adds a new section to the Labor Code, any violation would be subject to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

AB 1008 (McCarty) – “Ban the Box” – This bill prohibits employers with five (5) or more employees from considering criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.  If an employer decides to deny employment based on the criminal history, they must make an individualized assessment and provide the applicant with a five day opportunity to respond before the employer can make a final decision.

AB 1080 (Gonzalez Fletcher) – Public Contracts: Bid Preferences: Employee Health Care Expenditures – Requires state agencies awarding public works and other specified contracts (including package delivery and custodial or janitorial services) to provide a 5 percent bid preference to a bidder or subcontractor that provided “credible health care coverage” during the 12 months preceding submission of the bid.

AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher) – Gender Pay Differentials – This bill requires employers with 500 or more employees, beginning in July 2020, to report information (by job classification or title) on salary differences between male and female exempt employees and board members.  This information would be reported to the Secretary of State, who would publish the information on a public website.

AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) – Counties: Contracts for Personal Services - Limits the ability of counties to contract for personal services by imposing significant hurdles, including a cost/benefit analysis. 

AB 1700 (Cooper) – Cannabis: OSHA Training – Requires applicants for a state cannabis license to provide a statement that the applicant employs (or will employ within one year of receiving a license) an employee who has successfully completed an OSHA 10-hour general industry course.

Assembly Appropriations Committee – August 23, 2017 (Wednesday) – 9:00 a.m. – Room 4202

SB 49 (De León) – California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2017 – Among other things, this bill prohibits a state agency that implements specified federal laws from amending or revising its rules and regulations in a manner that is less stringent in its protection of workers’ rights or worker safety than standards established by federal law in existence as of January 1, 2016.

SB 219 (Wiener) – LGBT Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights – This bill would prohibit skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, and residential care facilities from taking specified actions based on a resident’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status, including refusing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronoun.

SB 295 (Monning) – Farm Labor Contractors – This bill provides that violations of specified sexual harassment training requirements applicable to farm labor contractors are violations of the Labor Code and subject to citation by the Labor Commissioner.  The bill also requires that sexual harassment training for each agricultural employee be in a language understood by that employee.

SB 306 (Hertzberg) – Retaliation – This bill dramatically revises retaliation claim procedures.  Among other things, this bill authorizes injunctive relief (such as reinstating the employee) in retaliation cases, before the case has been completely investigated or litigated to determine whether a violation has occurred.  The bill also allows the Labor Commissioner to cite an employer for retaliation independently, without an employee complaint.

SB 396 (Lara) – Harassment Training: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation – Requires mandated sexual harassment training for employers with 50 or more employees to include training on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  This bill also requires employers to post a notice developed by DFEH regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.  Read more about this bill here.

SB 548 (Atkins) – PERB: Expedited Petitions – Authorizes PERB to grant expedited status for specified matters, and requires PERB to grant expedited status for other matters that meet certain criteria.

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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