Legislative Update as of 6/7/2019

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.


Arbitration

AB 51 (Gonzalez D) Employment discrimination: enforcement.
Summary: Would prohibit a person from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or other specific statutes governing employment as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit. The bill would also prohibit an employer from threatening, retaliating or discriminating against, or terminating any applicant for employment or any employee because of the refusal to consent to the waiver of any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of specific statutes governing employment.

AB 692 (Maienschein D) Attorneys: arbitration of attorney’s fees.

Summary: Current law prohibits commencement of arbitration if a civil action requesting the same relief would be barred by existing law governing the time of commencing civil actions. Current law establishes an exception to that prohibition for a request for arbitration by a client pursuant to specified provisions for arbitration of attorney’s fees, following the filing of a civil action by the attorney. This bill would instead allow commencement of arbitration upon a request for arbitration by a client pursuant to those provisions, following the commencement of an action in any court or any other proceeding by the attorney.

SB 179 (Nielsen R) Excluded employees: arbitration. 

Summary: Would enact the Excluded Employee Arbitration Act to permit an employee organization that represents an excluded employee who has filed certain grievances with the Department of Human Resources to request arbitration of the grievance if specified conditions are met. The bill would require the designation of a standing panel of arbitrators and, under specified circumstances, the provision of arbitrators from the California State Mediation and Conciliation Service within the Public Employment Relations Board.

SB 707 (Wieckowski D) Arbitration agreements: enforcement. 

Summary: Current law regulates arbitrations conducted pursuant to an agreement, as specified. (1)In an employment or consumer arbitration in which the drafting party, as defined, is required to pay certain fees and costs before the arbitration can proceed, this bill would provide that if the fees or costs to initiate an arbitration proceeding are not paid within 30 days after the due date, the drafting party is in material breach of the arbitration agreement, is in default of the arbitration, and waives its right to compel arbitration. If the drafting party materially breaches the arbitration agreement and is in default of the arbitration, the bill would authorize the employee or consumer to either withdraw the claim from arbitration and proceed in a court of appropriate jurisdiction, or to compel arbitration in which the drafting party is required to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs related to the arbitration.

 

CELA SPONSORED BILLS

 

AB 403 (Kalra D) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement: complaint.
Summary: Current law authorizes a person who believes they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of any law under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement within 6 months after the occurrence of the violation.This bill would extend the period to file a complaint to within 2 years after the occurrence of the violation, except that violations of certain provisions may be filed within one year. This bill contains other related provisions and other current laws.

AB 673 (Carrillo D) Failure to pay wages: penalties.
Summary: Current law provides for a civil penalty, in addition to, and entirely independent and apart from other penalties, on every person who fails to pay the wages of each employee, as specified, including a provision prohibiting wage differential on the basis of sex, as specified. Current law requires the Labor Commissioner to recover that penalty as part of a hearing held to recover unpaid wages and penalties or in an independent civil action. Current law requires that a specified percentage of the penalty recovered under that provision be paid into a fund within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency dedicated to educating employers about state labor laws and that the remainder be paid into the State Treasury to the credit of the General Fund. This bill would also authorize the affected employee to bring an action to recover specified statutory penalties against the employer as part of a hearing held to recover unpaid wages.

AB 749 (Stone, Mark D) Settlement agreements: restraints in trade.
Summary: Would prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts a settling party that is an aggrieved person, as defined, from working for the employer against which the aggrieved person has filed a claim or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer. The bill would provide that a provision in an agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2020, that violates this prohibition is void as a matter of law and against public policy.

SB 135 (Jackson D) Paid family leave. 
Summary: Current law prohibits an employer with 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius to refuse to grant an employee a request to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family care and medical leave if the employee worked 1,250 hours in the prior 12 months. Current law includes within “family care and medical leave” the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child and the serious health condition of the employee’s child, parent, or spouse. This bill would expand the scope of those provisions to instead prohibit an employer with 5 or more employees to refuse to grant an employee a request to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family care and medical leave if the employee had 180 days of service with the employer.

SB 171 (Jackson D) Employers: annual report: pay data.
Summary: Would require, on or before March 31, 2021, and on or before March 31 each year thereafter, a private employer that has 100 or more employees and who is required to file an annual Employer Information Report under federal law, to submit a pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing that contains specified wage information. The bill would require the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to make the reports available to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement upon request.

SB 707 (Wieckowski D) Arbitration agreements: enforcement.
Summary: Current law regulates arbitrations conducted pursuant to an agreement, as specified. (1)In an employment or consumer arbitration in which the drafting party, as defined, is required to pay certain fees and costs before the arbitration can proceed, this bill would provide that if the fees or costs to initiate an arbitration proceeding are not paid within 30 days after the due date, the drafting party is in material breach of the arbitration agreement, is in default of the arbitration, and waives its right to compel arbitration. If the drafting party materially breaches the arbitration agreement and is in default of the arbitration, the bill would authorize the employee or consumer to either withdraw the claim from arbitration and proceed in a court of appropriate jurisdiction, or to compel arbitration in which the drafting party is required to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs related to the arbitration.

 

Civil Procedure

AB 1349 (Obernolte R) Civil actions: discovery.
Summary: Current law governs discovery in civil actions, and allows a party to obtain discovery from another party through written interrogatories and requests for admission, among others. Under current law, each response by the responding party to these discovery requests is required to include the same number or letter, and be in the same sequence, as the corresponding discovery request, as specified, but is not required to repeat the text of the particular discovery request. In order to facilitate the discovery process, this bill would, upon request in one of the aforementioned discovery methods, require a party to provide the requesting party with the document propounding or responding to the discovery request in electronic format within 3 court days of the request, except as specified.

AB 1361 (Obernolte R) Civil actions: satisfaction of money judgments.
Summary: Current law requires money received in satisfaction of a money judgment to be credited against costs, interest, court fees, and the principal amount of the judgment in a specified order.This bill would provide that payment in satisfaction of a money judgment, or a severable portion thereof, does not constitute a waiver of the right to appeal, except under certain circumstances. The bill would state that these provisions are declaratory of current law.

SB 17 (Umberg D) Civil discovery: sanctions.
Summary: The Civil Discovery Act authorizes a party to a civil action to obtain discovery, as specified, by inspecting documents, tangible things, land or other property, and electronically stored information in the possession of any other party to the action. Current law authorizes a court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, to impose sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process, as specified. (1)This bill would, except as specified, require a party to provide to the other parties an initial disclosure that includes certain information related to discoverable information within 45 days after service of any answer in a civil action, as specified.

SB 41 (Hertzberg D) Civil actions: damages.
Summary: Current law authorizes a person who suffers a loss or harm to that person or that person’s 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 past, present, or future personal injury or wrongful death damages from being reduced based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

SB 370 (Umberg D) Discovery: response to inspection demands.
Summary: The Civil Discovery Act requires any documents produced in response to an inspection demand to be produced as they are kept in the usual course of business, or be organized and labeled to correspond with the categories in the demand. This bill would eliminate the option to produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business, thereby requiring all documents or category of documents produced in response to a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling to be identified with the specific request number to which the documents respond.

SB 518 (Wieckowski D) Public records: disclosure: court costs and attorney’s fees.
Summary: The California Public Records Act, when it appears to a superior court that certain public records are being improperly withheld from a member of the public, requires the court to order the officer or person charged with withholding the records to disclose the public record or show cause why that officer or person should not do so. The act requires the court to award court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the plaintiff if the plaintiff prevails in litigation filed pursuant to these provisions, and requires the court to award court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the public agency if the court finds that the plaintiff’s case is clearly frivolous. This bill, for purposes of the award of court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to the above provisions, would specifically notwithstand a provision of existing law that prescribes the withholding or augmentation of costs if an offer is made before judgment or award in a trial or arbitration.

SB 749 (Durazo D) California Public Records Act: trade secrets.
Summary: Would provide that records relating to wages, benefits, working hours, and other employment terms and conditions of employees working for a private industry employer pursuant to a contract with a state or local agency are public records and shall not be deemed to be trade secrets under the California Public Records Act if the records are prepared, owned, used, or retained by a state or local agency.

 

Discrimination & Civil Rights

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 25 (Chau D) California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018.
Summary: Would exclude from the definition of “consumer” a natural person whose personal information has been collected by a business in the course of a person acting as a job applicant to, an employee of, a contractor of, or an agent on behalf of, the business, to the extent the person’s personal information is collected and used solely for purposes compatible with the context of that person’s role as a job applicant, employee, contractor, or agent of the business. The bill would also define “contractor” for purposes of that provision.

AB 160 (Voepel R) Employment policy: voluntary veterans’ preference.
Summary: Would enact the Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act to authorize a private employer to establish and maintain a written veterans’ preference employment policy, to be applied uniformly to hiring decisions, to give a voluntary preference for hiring or retaining a veteran over another qualified applicant or employee. The bill would provide that the granting of a veterans’ preference pursuant to the bill, in and of itself, shall be deemed not to violate any local or state equal employment opportunity law or regulation, including, but not limited to, the antidiscrimination provisions of California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

AB 242 (Kamlager-Dove D) Courts: attorneys: implicit bias: training.
Summary: Current law authorizes the Judicial Council to provide by rule of court for racial, ethnic, and gender bias, and sexual harassment training and training for any other bias based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation for judges, commissioners, and referees. This bill would authorize the Judicial Council to develop training on implicit bias with respect to these characteristics.

AB 365 (Garcia, Cristina D) State civil service: examination and hiring processes.
Summary: Under current state civil service law, the Department of Human Resources administers the Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP) to provide an alternative to the traditional civil service examination and appointment process to facilitate the hiring of persons with disabilities. Until January 1, 2021, the program includes persons with a developmental disability, as defined. Current law, until January 1, 2021, specifies that LEAP is a voluntary, additional method of applying for state employment and is not a mandate on any state agency employer or job applicant, except as specified. Current law also, until January 1, 2021, requires the department to develop and create an internship program, in coordination with specified state entities, and establish several related requirements to that effect. This bill would extend all of the above described LEAP program provisions indefinitely.

AB 1372 (Grayson D) Employers: prohibited disclosure of information: arrest or detention.
Summary: Current law prohibits an employer, as specified, from asking an applicant to disclose, or from utilizing as a factor in determining any condition of employment, information concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed, except in specified circumstances. Applicants for employment as peace officers, or with the Department of Justice, or with other criminal justice agencies, or persons already employed as peace officers, are an exception to these prohibitions, so that information about applicants for these positions or employees may be disclosed or sought. This bill would additionally include persons already employed as nonsworn members of a criminal justice agency, as specified, within the exception to these prohibitions, so that information about these employees may be disclosed or sought.

AB 1478 (Carrillo D) Employment discrimination.
Summary: Current law authorizes an aggrieved employee to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the Department of Industrial Relations. Current law, the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, authorizes an aggrieved employee on behalf of that employee and other current or former employees to bring a civil action to recover specified civil penalties, which would otherwise be assessed and collected by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, for the violation of certain provisions affecting employees. The act prescribes specified civil penalties for violations brought under these provisions. This bill would authorize an employee aggrieved under these provisions to bring a private civil action against the employee’s employer and would not require that employee to pursue any other remedy prior to bringing that action.

SB 188 (Mitchell D) Discrimination: hairstyles.
Summary: The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on specified personal characteristics, including race. The act also prohibits discrimination because of a perception that a person has one of those protected characteristics or is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics. Current law defines terms such as race, religious beliefs, and sex, among others, for purposes of the act. This bill would provide that the definition of race for these purposes also include traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, and would define protective hairstyles for purposes of these provisions.

SB 218 (Bradford D) Employment: discrimination enforcement: local government.
Summary: The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination in housing and employment on specified bases and provides procedures for enforcement by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Under current law, it is the intention of the Legislature that the act occupy the field of regulation of discrimination in employment, but that the act not limit or restrict the application of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The Unruh Civil Rights Act generally prohibits business establishments from discriminating on specified bases. This bill, among other things, would instead authorize the legislative body of a local government to enact their own antidiscrimination laws relating to employment, including establishing remedies and penalties for violations.

SB 310 (Skinner D) Jury selection.
Summary: The Trial Jury Selection and Management Act requires all persons be selected for jury service at random and from sources inclusive of a representative cross section of the population of the area served by the court. This bill would add the list of state tax filers within the area served by the court as an appropriate list for the selection of jurors, and when substantially purged of duplicate names, would require this list, together with the list of registered voters and the list of licensed drivers and identification cardholders, to be considered inclusive of a representative cross section of the population for the purposes of jury selection.

 

Family & Medical Leave

AB 196 (Gonzalez D) Paid family leave.
Summary: Would revise the formula for determining benefits available pursuant to the family temporary disability insurance program, for periods of disability commencing after January 1, 2020, by redefining the weekly benefit amount to be equal to 100% of the wages paid to an individual for employment by employers during the quarter of the individual’s disability base period in which these wages were highest, divided by 13, but not exceeding the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations.

AB 372 (Voepel R) State employees: Infant at Work programs.
Summary: Would, from January 1, 2020, until January, 1, 2022, establish the Infant at Work Pilot Program. The bill would authorize a state agency, as defined, to participate in the pilot program to allow an employee of the agency who is a new parent or caregiver to an infant to bring the infant to the workplace. The bill would establish certain required elements for adult, as specified. the pilot program. The bill would authorize a state agency to adopt regulations that it determines necessary to participate in the pilot program.

AB 406 (Limón D) Disability compensation: paid family leave: application in non-English languages.
Summary: Current law establishes, within the state disability insurance program administered by the Employment Development Department, a family temporary disability insurance program, also known as the paid family leave program, for the provision of wage replacement benefits to workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a minor child within one year of birth or placement, as specified. This bill, beginning January 1, 2025, would require the department to distribute the application for family temporary disability insurance benefits, in addition to the application in English, in all non-English languages spoken by a substantial number of non-English-speaking applicants.

AB 500 (Gonzalez D) School and community college employees: paid maternity leave.
Summary: Would require the governing board of a school district, the governing body of a charter school, and the governing board of a community college district to provide at least 6 weeks of a leave of absence with full pay for a certificated employee, or an academic employee, of the district or charter school who is required to be absent from duty because of pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, and recovery from those conditions. The bill would authorize the paid leave to begin before and continue after childbirth if the employee is actually disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition.

AB 555 (Gonzalez D) Paid sick leave.
Summary: Would modify a employer’s alternate sick leave accrual method to require that an employee have no less than 40 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 200th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period. The bill would modify that satisfaction provision to authorize an employer to satisfy accrual requirements by providing not less than 40 hours or 5 days of paid sick leave that is available to the employee to use by the completion of the employee’s 200th calendar day of employment. The bill would also provide that an employer is under no obligation to allow an employee’s total accrual of paid sick leave to exceed 80 hours or 10 days, as specified.

AB 1223 (Arambula D) Living organ donation.
Summary: Would require a private or public employer to grant an employee an additional unpaid leave of absence, not exceeding 30 business days in a one-year period, for the purpose of organ donation. The bill would require a public employee to first exhaust all available sick leave before taking that unpaid leave.

SB 135 (Jackson D) Paid family leave. 
Summary: Current law prohibits an employer with 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius to refuse to grant an employee a request to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family care and medical leave if the employee worked 1,250 hours in the prior 12 months. Current law includes within “family care and medical leave” the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child and the serious health condition of the employee’s child, parent, or spouse. This bill would expand the scope of those provisions to instead prohibit an employer with 5 or more employees to refuse to grant an employee a request to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family care and medical leave if the employee had 180 days of service with the employer.

SB 142 (Wiener D) Employees: lactation accommodation. 
Summary: Would require the California Building Standards Commission to develop and propose for adoption building standards for the installation of lactation space for employees using the Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance adopted in the San Francisco Police Code as the starting point and amending those standards as necessary.

 

Health & Safety

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 20 micrograms per deciliter to be injurious to the health of the employee and to report that case within 5 business days of receiving the report 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 1007 (Jones-Sawyer D) State Civil Service Act: adverse action: notice.
Summary: Would provide that for any adverse action not based on fraud, embezzlement, falsification of records, harassment on specified bases, sexual assault, or a cause for discipline that is the subject of a criminal investigation or criminal prosecution for a felony, notice would be required to be served within one year after the cause for discipline, upon which the notice is based, first arose, if the cause for discipline was discovered on or after January 1, 2020.

 

Human Trafficking

SB 35 (Chang R) Human trafficking: California ACTS Task Force.
Summary: Would establish the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery (California ACTS) Task Force to collect and organize data on the nature and prevalence of trafficking in persons in California. The bill would require the task force to examine collaborative models between local and state governments and nongovernmental organizations for protecting victims of trafficking, among other, related duties. Under the bill, the task force would be comprised of specified state officials and specified individuals who have expertise in human trafficking or provide services to victims of human trafficking, as specified.

 

Immigrant Employee Rights

AB 589 (Gonzalez D) Employment: unfair immigration-related practices.
Summary: Would make it unlawful for an employer to knowingly destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document of another person in the course of committing, or with the intent to commit, trafficking, peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or a coercive labor practice. The bill would impose specified civil and criminal penalties for a violation.

AB 668 (Gonzalez 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.

 

Labor Relations

AB 314 (Bonta D) Public employment: labor relations: release time. 
Summary: Current law, including the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, the Ralph C. Dills Act, the Trial Court Employment Protection and Governance Act, the Trial Court Interpreter Employment and Labor Relations Act, Judicial Council Employer-Employee Relations Act, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Transit Employer-Employee Relations Act, as well as provisions commonly referred to as the Educational Employment Relations Act and the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, regulates the labor relations of the state, the courts, and specified local public agencies and their employees. These acts generally require the public entities in this context to grant employee representatives of recognized employee organizations reasonable time off without loss of compensation or benefits for certain purposes in connection with labor relations, commonly referred to as release time. This bill would prescribe requirements relating to release time that would apply to all of the public employers and employees subject to the acts described above and would generally repeal the provisions relating to release time in those acts.

AB 378 (Limón D) Childcare: family childcare providers: bargaining representative.
Summary:  The Child Care and Development Services Act, administered by the State Department of Education, requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to administer childcare and development programs that offer a full range of services for eligible children from infancy to 13 years of age, including, among others, resource and referral programs, alternative payment programs, and family childcare home education networks. This bill would authorize family childcare providers, as defined, to form, join, and participate in the activities of provider organizations, as defined, and to seek the certification of a provider organization to act as the representative for family childcare providers on matters related to childcare subsidy programs pursuant to a petition and election process overseen by the Public Employment Relations Board or a neutral 3rd party designated by the board.

AB 418 (Kalra D) Evidentiary privileges: union agent-represented worker privilege.
Summary: Would establish a privilege between a union agent, as defined, and a represented employee or represented former employee to refuse to disclose any confidential communication between the employee or former employee and the union agent made while the union agent was acting in the union agent’s representative capacity, except as specified. The bill would permit a represented employee or represented former employee to prevent another person from disclosing a privileged communication, except as specified.

AB 1066 (Gonzalez D) Unemployment insurance: trade disputes: eligibility for benefits.
Summary: Would restore eligibility for unemployment benefits after the first 4 weeks of a trade dispute for an employee who left work because of the trade dispute. The bill would specify that the one-week waiting period otherwise required for unemployment benefits is not additionally required under these circumstances. The bill would also codify specified case law that holds that employees who left work due to a lockout by the employer, even if it was in anticipation of a trade dispute, are eligible for benefits. The bill would specify that the bill’s provisions do not diminish eligibility for benefits of individuals deprived of work due to an employer lockout or similar action, as specified.

 

Ocupational Safety

AB 1124 (Maienschein D) Employment safety: outdoor workers: wildfire smoke.
Summary: Would require, by June 13, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt emergency regulations that require employers to make respirators available to outdoor workers on any day the outdoor worker could reasonably be expected to be exposed to harmful levels of smoke from wildfires, or burning structures due to a wildfire, while working. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

AB 1805 (Committee on Labor and Employment) Occupational safety and health.
Summary: Current law defines “serious injury or illness” and “serious exposure” for purposes of reporting serious occupational injury or illness to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and for purposes of establishing the division’s duty to investigate employment accidents and exposures. This bill would recast the definition of “serious injury or illness” by removing the 24-hour minimum time requirement for qualifying hospitalizations, excluding those for medical observation or diagnostic testing, and explicitly including the loss of an eye as a qualifying injury. The bill would delete loss of a body member from the definition of serious injury and would, instead, include amputation.

 

Practice of Law

AB 424 (Gabriel D) Depositions: audio or video recordings.
Summary: Current law provides procedures for the recording of depositions by means of audio or video technology. A party who intends to offer an audio or video recording of the deposition in evidence must accompany the offer with a stenographic transcript prepared from the recording, unless a stenographic record was previously prepared.This bill would clarify that a stenographic transcript accompanying an audio or video recording of deposition testimony offered into evidence must be prepared by a certified shorthand reporter.

AB 692 (Maienschein D) Attorneys: arbitration of attorney’s fees.
Summary: Current law prohibits commencement of arbitration if a civil action requesting the same relief would be barred by existing law governing the time of commencing civil actions. Current law establishes an exception to that prohibition for a request for arbitration by a client pursuant to specified provisions for arbitration of attorney’s fees, following the filing of a civil action by the attorney. This bill would instead allow commencement of arbitration upon a request for arbitration by a client pursuant to those provisions, following the commencement of an action in any court or any other proceeding by the attorney.

 

Public Employment

AB 372 (Voepel R) State employees: Infant at Work programs.
Summary: Would, from January 1, 2020, until January, 1, 2022, establish the Infant at Work Pilot Program. The bill would authorize a state agency, as defined, to participate in the pilot program to allow an employee of the agency who is a new parent or caregiver to an infant to bring the infant to the workplace. The bill would establish certain required elements for adult, as specified. the pilot program. The bill would authorize a state agency to adopt regulations that it determines necessary to participate in the pilot program.

SB 179 (Nielsen R) Excluded employees: arbitration.
Summary: Would enact the Excluded Employee Arbitration Act to permit an employee organization that represents an excluded employee who has filed certain grievances with the Department of Human Resources to request arbitration of the grievance if specified conditions are met. The bill would require the designation of a standing panel of arbitrators and, under specified circumstances, the provision of arbitrators from the California State Mediation and Conciliation Service within the Public Employment Relations Board.

 

Sexual Harassment

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 170 (Gonzalez D) Employment: sexual harassment: liability.
Summary: Would require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for harassment for all workers supplied by that labor contractor. The bill would define the terms “client employer” and “labor contractor” for purposes of these provisions.

AB 171 (Gonzalez D) Employment: sexual harassment.
Summary: Current law prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off work to obtain specified relief or because of the employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the victim provides notice to the employer of the status or the employer has actual knowledge of the status. Current law authorizes an employee to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for a violation of these prohibitions within one year from the date of occurrence of the violation. Current law makes it a misdemeanor for an employer to refuse to rehire, promote, or restore an employee who has been determined to be so eligible by a grievance procedure or legal hearing. This bill would expand the scope of these provisions by defining “employer” for purposes of these provisions to mean any person employing another under any appointment or contract of hire and to include the state, political subdivisions of the state, and municipalities.

AB 547 (Gonzalez D) Janitorial workers: sexual violence and harassment prevention training.
Summary: Current law requires employers of at least one employee and one or more covered workers, as defined, who provide janitorial services, as specified, to register with the Labor Commissioner annually and prohibits them from conducting business without a registration. Current law requires an application for registration to be in a form prescribed by the commissioner and subscribed and sworn to by the employer, as specified. This bill would prohibit the division from approving a registration, as described above, if the employer does not include in their written application the name of any subcontractor or franchise servicing contracts affiliated with a branch location and the number of subcontracted or franchise covered workers servicing each of those contracts, the total number of covered workers working out of a listed branch office, and the address of each work location serviced by a branch office.

AB 628 (Bonta D) Employment: victims of sexual harassment: protections.
Summary: Current law prohibits an employer from discharging or discriminating or retaliating against, an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking because of the employee’s status as a victim, if the employer has notice or knowledge of that status. Current law additionally prohibits an employer with 25 or more employees from discharging, or discriminating or retaliating against, an employee who is a victim, in this regard, who takes time off to obtain specified services or counseling. This bill would extend these employment protections to victims of sexual harassment, as defined. The bill would also extend these employment protections to specified family members, as defined, of the victims for taking time off from work to provide assistance to the victims when seeking relief or obtaining those services and counseling, as specified.

AB 749 (Stone, Mark D) Settlement agreements: restraints in trade.
Summary: Would prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts a settling party that is an aggrieved person, as defined, from working for the employer against which the aggrieved person has filed a claim or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer. The bill would provide that a provision in an agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2020, that violates this prohibition is void as a matter of law and against public policy.

SB 71 (Leyva D) Political Reform Act of 1974: campaign expenditures: limitations.
Summary: The Political Reform Act of 1974 authorizes certain candidates and elective officers to establish a separate legal defense fund campaign account to defray attorney’s fees and other related legal costs incurred in the defense of the candidate or elective officer who is subject to one or more civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings arising directly out of the conduct of an election campaign, the electoral process, or the performance of the officers’ governmental activities and duties, as specified. This bill would prohibit the expenditure of funds in a legal defense fund campaign account to pay or reimburse a candidate or elected officer for a penalty, judgment, or settlement related to a claim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment filed against the candidate or elective officer in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding.

SB 530 (Galgiani D) Construction industry: discrimination and harassment prevention policy.
Summary: Would require the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to develop recommendations for an industry-specific harassment and discrimination prevention policy and training standard for use by employers in the construction industry, as defined. The bill would also require the Department of Industrial Relations to convene an advisory committee by March 1, 2020, consisting of specified representatives from the construction industry and state agencies to assist the division in developing the policy.

SB 778 (Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement) Employers: sexual harassment training: requirements.
Summary: Current law, by January 1, 2020, requires an employer with 5 or more employees to provide at least 2 hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees and at least 1 hour of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all nonsupervisory employees in California within 6 months of their assumption of a position. Current law also specifies that an employer who has provided this training to an employee after January 1, 2019, is not required to provide sexual harassment training and education by the January 1, 2020, deadline. This bill would require an employer with 5 or more employees to provide the above-described training and education by January 1, 2021, and thereafter once every 2 years.

 

Wage and Hour

AB 5 (Gonzalez D) Worker status: employees and independent contractors.
Summary: Would state the intent of the Legislature to codify the decision in the Dynamex case and clarify its application. The bill would provide that the factors of the “ABC” test be applied in order to determine the status of a worker as an employee or independent contractor for all provisions of the Labor Code and the Unemployment Insurance Code, unless another definition or specification of “employee” is provided. The bill would exempt specified professions from these provisions and instead provide that the employment relationship test for those professions shall be governed by the test adopted in S. G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations (1989) 48 Cal.3d 341 if certain requirements are met.
AB 233 (Cooley D) Insurance: licensees.
Summary: Current law requires the license of a residential property broker-agent, casualty broker-agent, personal lines broker-agent, or limited lines automobile insurance agent to be prominently displayed in the holder’s office. Current law requires the Insurance Commissioner to impose a $200 fine for the first violation of that requirement if it is not corrected within 45 days, and authorizes the commissioner to impose a $400 fine if another violation is committed within 3 years of the first violation. This bill would require a broker-agent, agent, or licensed organization that maintains multiple offices to prominently display a copy of its license in each office.

AB 267 (Chu D) Employment of infants: entertainment industry.
Summary: Current law regulates the employment of minors in the entertainment industry and requires the written consent of the Labor Commissioner for a minor under 16 years of age to take part in certain types of employment. Current law requires specified certification from a physician and surgeon in order for an infant under the age of one month to be employed on any motion picture set or location. Existing law makes it a crime to violate the provisions regarding infant employment. This bill would expand the certification requirements for infants to cover any employment in the entertainment industry.

AB 271 (Cooper D) Civil service: Personnel Classification Plan: salary equalization.
Summary: Would require the Department of Human Resources to, by December 31, 2020, and every 2 years thereafter, evaluate all civil service classifications and prepare a detailed report on gender and ethnicity pay equity in each classification where there is an underrepresentation of women and minorities. The bill would require each state agency to submit specified information to the department about each state civil service classification within the agency.

AB 403 (Kalra D) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement: complaint.
Summary: Current law authorizes a person who believes they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of any law under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement within 6 months after the occurrence of the violation. This bill would extend the period to file a complaint to within 2 years after the occurrence of the violation, except that violations of certain provisions may be filed within one year. This bill contains other related provisions and other current laws.

AB 467 (Boerner Horvath D) Competitions on state property: prize compensation: gender equity.
Summary: Would require the Department of Parks and Recreation, the State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission to include in permit or lease conditions, for a competition event to be held on land under the jurisdiction of the entity, as described, and that awards prize compensation, as defined, to competitors in gendered categories, a requirement that the prize compensation be identical between the gendered categories at each participant level.

AB 529 (Ramos D) Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric technician assistants: overtime.
Summary: Would prohibit a PT or psychiatric technician assistant (PTA) employed by the State of California in a specified type of facility from being compelled to work in excess of the regularly scheduled workweek or work shift, except under certain circumstances. The bill would authorize a PT or PTA to volunteer or agree to work hours in addition to his or her regularly scheduled workweek or work shift, but the refusal to accept those additional hours would not constitute patient abandonment or neglect or be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge, or any other penalty or employment decision adverse to the PT or PTA.

AB 555 (Gonzalez D) Paid sick leave.
Summary: Would modify a employer’s alternate sick leave accrual method to require that an employee have no less than 40 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 200th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period. The bill would modify that satisfaction provision to authorize an employer to satisfy accrual requirements by providing not less than 40 hours or 5 days of paid sick leave that is available to the employee to use by the completion of the employee’s 200th calendar day of employment. The bill would also provide that an employer is under no obligation to allow an employee’s total accrual of paid sick leave to exceed 80 hours or 10 days, as specified.

AB 673 (Carrillo D) Failure to pay wages: penalties.
Summary: Current law provides for a civil penalty, in addition to, and entirely independent and apart from other penalties, on every person who fails to pay the wages of each employee, as specified, including a provision prohibiting wage differential on the basis of sex, as specified. Current law requires the Labor Commissioner to recover that penalty as part of a hearing held to recover unpaid wages and penalties or in an independent civil action. Current law requires that a specified percentage of the penalty recovered under that provision be paid into a fund within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency dedicated to educating employers about state labor laws and that the remainder be paid into the State Treasury to the credit of the General Fund. This bill would also authorize the affected employee to bring an action to recover specified statutory penalties against the employer as part of a hearing held to recover unpaid wages.

AB 789 (Flora R) Itemized wage statements: violations: actions: Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004.
Summary: The Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 provides, as an alternative to civil penalties being assessed and collected by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, that civil penalties may be recovered through a civil action brought by an aggrieved employee on behalf of themself and other employees. The act requires the employee to follow prescribed procedures before bringing an action and authorizes an employer to cure specified itemized wage statement violations within 33 days of receiving notice of the violation. This bill would require, for an action under any of the above provisions to recover for any violation of the itemized wage statement requirement, that an employee or representative give prescribed notice of the alleged violation to the employer.

AB 1066 (Gonzalez D) Unemployment insurance: trade disputes: eligibility for benefits.
Summary: Would restore eligibility for unemployment benefits after the first 4 weeks of a trade dispute for an employee who left work because of the trade dispute. The bill would specify that the one-week waiting period otherwise required for unemployment benefits is not additionally required under these circumstances. The bill would also codify specified case law that holds that employees who left work due to a lockout by the employer, even if it was in anticipation of a trade dispute, are eligible for benefits. The bill would specify that the bill’s provisions do not diminish eligibility for benefits of individuals deprived of work due to an employer lockout or similar action, as specified.

AB 1768 (Carrillo D) Prevailing wage: public works.
Summary: Would expand the definition of public works to include work conducted during site assessment or feasibility studies. This bill would also specify that preconstruction work, including design, site assessment, feasibility studies, and land surveying, is deemed to be part of a public work, regardless of whether any further construction work is conducted.

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 171 (Jackson D) Employers: annual report: pay data.
Summary: Would require, on or before March 31, 2021, and on or before March 31 each year thereafter, a private employer that has 100 or more employees and who is required to file an annual Employer Information Report under federal law, to submit a pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing that contains specified wage information. The bill would require the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to make the reports available to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement upon request.

SB 229 (Hertzberg D) Discrimination: complaints: administrative review.
Summary: Current law prohibits a person from discharging or otherwise discriminating, retaliating, or taking any adverse action against any employee or applicant for employment because the employee or applicant engaged in specified protected conduct. Current law authorizes the Labor Commissioner to issue citations to persons determined to be responsible for violations. Current law requires a petitioner seeking a writ of mandate to first post a bond equal to the total amount of any minimum wages, liquidated damages, and overtime compensation. Current law requires an employer who willfully refuses to comply with a final order pursuant to these provisions to pay prescribed civil penalties directly to the affected employee. This bill, among other things, would authorize the commissioner to file a certified copy of a citation, or a petition for injunctive or other monetary relief, with the superior court for judicial enforcement in any county in which the person assessed the penalty has or had property or a place of business, unless the person cited requests an informal hearing to challenge the citation, as specified.

SB 671 (Hertzberg D) Employment: payment of wages: print shoot employees.
Summary: Current law generally requires that if an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately. Current law establishes specific provisions that entitle an employee engaged in the production or broadcasting of motion pictures, as defined, whose employment terminates, to receive payment of the wages earned and unpaid at the time of the termination by the next regular payday, as defined. Current law establishes penalties for certain violations relating to payment in accordance with these specific provisions. This bill would establish similar specific provisions for a print shoot employee, as defined.

SB 688 (Monning D) Failure to pay wages: penalties.
Summary: Current law makes an employer or other person acting individually or as an officer, agent, or employee of another person who fails to pay or causes a failure to pay an employee a wage less than the minimum wage subject to citation by the Labor Commissioner, a civil penalty, restitution of wages, liquidated damages, and certain other applicable penalties. This bill would provide that if the Labor Commissioner determines that an employer has paid a wage set by contract in excess of minimum wage, the Labor Commissioner may issue a citation to the employer to recover restitution of the amounts owed.

SB 698 (Leyva D) Employee wages: payment.
Summary: Would require that employees of the Regents of the University of California be paid on a regular payday. The bill would require those university employees who are paid on a monthly basis to be paid no later than 5 days after the close of the monthly payroll period and would also provide that those employees who are paid on a more frequent basis be paid in accordance with the pay policies announced in advance by the university.

SB 730 (Stern D) Commission on Tech Equity and the Future of Work.
Summary: Would, until January 1, 2025, would establish in state government the Commission on Tech Equity and the Future of Work, which would consist of 6 appointed members, as specified, and the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Department and the Controller servicing as ex officio members. The bill would require the commission to, among other things, commission research to understand the impact of innovation and technology in certain key areas, develop recommendations on a policy framework to manage the development, deployment, regulation, taxation, and fair distribution of the benefits of innovation and technology, as specified, and submit the recommendations to the Legislature and to the Governor no later than January 1, 2022, and annually on or before January 1, thereafter.

 

Whistleblower

AB 333 (Eggman D) Whistleblower protection: county patients’ rights advocates.
Summary: Current law prohibits an employer, as defined, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, as defined, from, among other things, preventing an employee from, or retaliating against an employee for, providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a law, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s job duties. A violation of these provisions is a crime. This bill would extend the protections afforded to employees under these provisions to county patients’ rights advocates appointed or under contract to provide services relating to mental health advocacy.

SB 322 (Bradford D) Health facilities: inspections: employee reporting.
Summary: Current law provides for the licensure and regulation of health facilities by the State Department of Public Health. Current law prohibits a health facility from discriminating or retaliating against a patient, employee, member of the medical staff, or other healthcare worker of the health facility because that person has presented a grievance, complaint, or report to the facility, or has initiated, participated, or cooperated in an investigation or administrative proceeding related to the quality of care, services, or conditions at the facility. This bill would provide an employee or the employee’s representative with the right to discuss possible regulatory violations or patient safety concerns with the department’s inspector privately during the course of an investigation or inspection by the department.

 

Workers Comp

AB 346 (Cooper D) Workers’ compensation: leaves of absence.
Summary: Would add police officers employed by a school district, county office of education, or community college district to the list of public employees entitled to a leave of absence without loss of salary, in lieu of temporary disability payments, while disabled by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment.

AB 1400 (Kamlager-Dove D) Workers’ compensation: firefighting operations: civilian employees.
Summary: Current law provides that in the case of active firefighting members of certain fire departments, a compensable injury includes cancer that develops or manifests while the firefighter member is in the service of the public agency and exposed to a known carcinogen, as defined. Current law establishes a presumption that the cancer in these cases arose out of, and in the course of, employment, unless the presumption is controverted by evidence that the primary site of the cancer has been established and that the carcinogen to which the member has demonstrated exposure is not reasonably linked to the disabling cancer. This bill would enact a similar law that would be applicable to other employees of a city, county, city and county, district, or other municipal corporation or political subdivision whose job duties cause them to be regularly exposed to active fires or health hazards directly resulting from firefighting operations.