Top Ten List – Track These 10 Important Employment Bills as the California Legislative Year Comes to a Close

by Fisher Phillips

Fisher Phillips

When the Legislature reconvenes from its summer recess on August 21, it will have only a few short weeks to finish work on legislation for this year.  All bills must be passed and sent to Governor Brown by September 15, who will have until October 15 to sign or veto bills.

This year, the Legislature introduced a whopping 2,495 bills – and hundreds of these had to do with labor and employment issues.  Some bills failed to make it out of policy or fiscal committee.  Some bills were made into “two year” bills, meaning they were put on hold for this year but may be taken up again in 2018.  Most, however, continue to move through the process as the legislative year comes to a close.

So which bills are the most important to track?  Here’s our list of the ten most significant labor and employment bills still pending in Sacramento.  Most of these would add significant responsibilities and obligations to businesses – so California employers should closely track these proposals as they near the finish line.

So with that, here’s our “top ten list” of pending bills to watch:

AB 168 (Eggman) – Ban on Salary History Inquiries

This topic is likely a familiar one for employers, as it has been the subject of previous legislative efforts in California.  In addition, several states and cities (including San Francisco) are adopting their own local ordinances on this subject – so it is one that has been in the news of late.  AB 168 prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment.  Equal pay advocates have argued that employer reliance on prior salary history perpetuates wage inequality based on factors such as gender.  In addition, AB 168 requires an employer to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant, upon reasonable request.  Governor Brown vetoed a previous version of this bill, but this measure has bipartisan support, including two Republican co-authors.

Status: This bill is pending on the Senate Floor.

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.  In recent weeks, media stories have reported several instances of ICE agents showing up at Labor Commissioner hearings, allegedly at the instigation of the employer.  These stories may increase the chances that Governor Brown will sign legislation such as AB 450.

Status: This bill is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher) – Discrimination: Reproductive Health

AB 569 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).

Status: This bill is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 1008 (McCarty) – “Ban the Box”

Another hot topic at the state and local levels are proposals that seek to limit an employer’s ability to consider criminal history information about applicants for employment.  AB 1008 is largely based on an ordinance adopted by the City of Los Angeles.  The 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.

Status: This bill is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher) – Gender Pay Differentials

Sticking with the theme of gender pay equality, AB 1209 seeks to change employer behavior through the public disclosure of gender pay data.  AB 1209 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.  Employer representatives have objected that this bill does not acknowledge there may be lawful, legitimate and nondiscriminatory reasons for pay differentials, which are not accounted for in this public disclosure.  Instead, opponents contend this bill seeks to compel changes in corporate behavior through public shaming, which may not be based on accurate or complete information.

Status: This bill is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 1565 (Thurmond) – Overtime Salary Threshold

Thought debate over the Obama Administration DOL “overtime rule” was over?  Wrong!  This bill 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.  This figure roughly represents the amount proposed by the Obama Administration – which equates to an annual salary of $47,472.  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.  California’s exemption will reach this salary level on its own in 2019 (or 2020 for smaller employers) as our minimum wage increases, but this bill will speed up the process.

Status: This bill is pending on the Senate Floor.

SB 49 (De León and Stern) – California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2017

Beware of bills with lofty titles!  While the “California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2017” (or SB 49) is aimed primarily at safeguarding California environmental protection against anticipated encroachment by the Trump Administration, buried in the bill’s language is a significant provision that impacts labor and employment standards.  Among other things, SB 49 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.  This could impact workplace health and safety and other labor and employment matters.

Status: This bill is pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 63 (Jackson) – New Parent Leave

This bill would provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected family leave to bond with a new child for employees that work for employers with 20 or more employees (as opposed to CFRA, which applies to employers with 50 or more employees).  This bill is similar to the author’s SB 654, which was vetoed last year by Governor Brown.  Notably, that bill only provided for six weeks of job-protected leave, whereas SB 63 would authorize up to 12 weeks.

Status: This bill is pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 306 (Hertzberg) – Employment Retaliation

SB 306 dramatically revises retaliation claim procedures under California law.  Among other things, this bill authorizes injunctive relief (such as reinstating the employee) in retaliation cases, before 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.

Status: This bill is pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 396 (Lara) – “The Transgender Work Opportunity Act”

This bill requires the already-mandated (AB 1825) sexual harassment training requirement for supervisory employees (of employers with 50 or more employees) to include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  This bill also requires employers to post a poster on “transgender rights” in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.

Status: This bill is pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


Things will move quickly when the Legislature reconvenes on August 21, so monitor these bills closely.  In addition, bills are often amended during the last few weeks of the year – as deals are made and authors try to negotiate language that has the best shot at getting a signature from the Governor.  Bills can be significantly amended (for good or for bad) during the last few weeks of session.  Finally, beware of last minute “gut and amend” proposals that represent completely new bills rushed through the process at the last minute.

We’ll keep you updated on latest developments.


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.

© Fisher Phillips | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Fisher Phillips

Fisher Phillips on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.