Legislative Update as of 12/26/2018

If you have experience with any of the legislative issues listed below or if you have any feedback you would like to share, please email our Legislative Counsel & Policy Director, Mariko Yoshihara at mariko@cela.org.

CELA is an organization that advocates for policy change through volunteerism. With our strong grassroots efforts, we can effect broad scale change! Like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/CELALawyers and follow us on Twitter with the handle @CELA_Lawyers.

For more information on any of the bills listed below, please click on the bill or visit www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov or email mariko@cela.org.

AB 5 (Gonzalez D) Worker status: independent contractors.
Summary: Current law, as established in the case of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 (Dynamex), creates a presumption that a worker who performs services for a hirer is an employee. Current law requires a 3-part test, commonly known as the “ABC” test, to establish that a worker is independent contractor.This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to include provisions within this bill would codify the decision in the Dynamex case and clarify its application.


AB 9 (Reyes D) Employment discrimination: limitation of actions.
Summary: The California Fair Employment and Housing Act makes specified employment and housing practices unlawful, including discrimination against or harassment of employees and tenants, among others. Current law authorizes a person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful practice to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year from the date upon which the unlawful practice occurred, unless otherwise specified. This bill would extend the above-described period to 3 years for complaints alleging employment discrimination, as specified.


AB 26 (Rodriguez D) Emergency ambulance employees.
Would require an emergency ambulance provider to provide each emergency ambulance employee, who drives or rides in the ambulance, with body armor and safety equipment to wear during the employee’s work shift. The bill would also require the emergency ambulance employer to provide training to the emergency ambulance employee on the proper fitting and use of the body armor and safety equipment. The bill would not apply to the state or a political subdivision thereof.

AB 27 (Rodriguez D) Emergency Ambulance Employee Safety and Preparedness Act.
Would require every current emergency ambulance employee, on or before July 1, 2020, and every new employee hired on or after January 1, 2020, within 6 months of being hired, to attend a 6-hour training on violence prevention that includes, among other things, understanding types of anger, proven and effective verbal deescalation skills, and hands-on demonstrations, workshops, and role-playing scenarios. The bill would require an emergency ambulance employee, following the completion of the 6-hour violence prevention training, to receive a one-hour refresher course each calendar year thereafter.

AB 35 (Kalra D) Worker safety: blood lead levels: reporting.
Summary: Would require the State Department of Public Health to consider a report from a laboratory of an employee’s blood lead level at or above 25 micrograms per deciliter to be injurious to the health of the employee and to report that case within 5 business days to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The bill would further provide that the above-described report would constitute a serious violation and subject the employer or place of employment to an investigation, as provided, by the division, and would require the division to make any citations or fines imposed as a result of the investigation publicly available on an annual basis.


AB 51 (Gonzalez D) Employment discrimination: enforcement.
Summary: Would prohibit a person from, as a condition of employment, continued employment, the receipt of any employment-related benefit, or as a condition of entering into a contractual agreement, prohibiting an applicant for employment, employee, or independent contractor from disclosing to any person an instance of sexual harassment that the employee or independent contractor suffers, witnesses, or discovers in the workplace or in the performance of the contract, or otherwise opposing any lawful practice, or from exercising any right or obligation or participating in any investigation or proceeding with respect to unlawful harassment or discrimination.


AB 71 (Melendez R) Employment standards: independent contractors and employees.
Summary: Current case law establishes a three-part test, known as the “ABC” test, for determining whether a worker is considered an independent contractor for purposes of specified wage orders. Under this test, a worker is properly considered an independent contractor only if the hiring entity establishes; 1) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for performance of the work and in fact; 2) that the worker performs work outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and 3) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity. This bill would, instead, require a determination of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor to be based on a specific multifactor test, including whether the person to whom service is rendered has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the result desired, and other identified factors.


SB 1 (Atkins D) California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019.
Summary: Current state law regulates the discharge of air pollutants into the atmosphere. The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act regulates the discharge of pollutants into the waters of the state. The California Safe Drinking Water Act establishes standards for drinking water and regulates drinking water systems. The California Endangered Species Act requires the Fish and Game Commission to establish a list of endangered species and a list of threatened species, and generally prohibits the taking of those species. This bill would require specified agencies to take prescribed actions regarding certain federal requirements and standards pertaining to air, water, and protected species, as specified.


SB 17 (Umberg D) Civil discovery: sanctions.
Summary: Current law authorizes a court to impose sanctions on a party, person, or attorney in connection with conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process in a civil action, as specified. This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require a court to impose sanctions against any party, person, or attorney who engages in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process in a civil action.


SB 31 (Lara D) Courthouses: Privilege from civil arrest.
Summary: Would clarify the power of judicial officers to prevent activities that threaten access to courthouses, including by protecting the privilege from arrest at a courthouse. The bill would provide that no person shall be subject to civil arrest in a courthouse while attending a court proceeding or having legal business in the courthouse. The bill would also authorize the Attorney General to bring a civil action to obtain equitable and declaratory relief for a violation of this section, and it would allow a party in a successful action to enforce liability for a violation of this section to recover court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.


SB 35 (Chang R) Human trafficking.
Summary: Would express the intent of the Legislature to establish a task force to combat human trafficking that would collect and organize data on the nature and prevalence of trafficking in persons in California and organize collaborative efforts between local and state governments and nongovernmental organizations for protecting victims of trafficking, among other, related duties.


SB 41 (Hertzberg D) Civil actions: damages.
Summary: Current law authorizes a person who suffers a loss or harm to himself or herself, or his or her property, from an unlawful act or omission of another to recover monetary compensation, known as damages, from the person in fault. Current law specifies the measure of damages as the amount which will compensate for the loss or harm, whether anticipated or not, and requires the damages awarded be reasonable. This bill would prohibit the estimation, measure, or calculation of civil damages from being based on, or considering, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.