As the September 14, 2023, deadline to pass bills during the current session of the California Legislature fast approaches, the California Senate and Assembly are considering several employment law bills. Many are likely to pass. Below is a summary of some of the more significant bills.
The California Legislature is poised to make it even more difficult for hospitality and business service providers to operate in California. Senate Bill (SB) No. 723 amends California Labor Code Section 2810.8, which provides recall rights to certain hospitality and business services employees laid off because of COVID-19 and is scheduled to sunset in December 2024. SB 723 eliminates the sunset provision and makes Section 2810.8 permanent.
A bill pending in the California Senate, Senate Bill (SB) No. 616, proposes to expand the number of paid sick days that California employers must offer to employees.
On April 14, 2023, the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) announced that it will consider providing employers two-month extensions on the upcoming May 10, 2023, deadline to comply with the state’s new pay data reporting obligations regarding workers supplied by labor contractors.
The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) recently issued new guidance confirming that private colleges and universities and labor contractors are subject to the newly expanded pay data reporting obligations added as part of the state’s pay transparency law, Senate Bill (SB) 1162, enacted in September 2022. The state has set up an online portal to submit 2022 pay data reports, which are due on May 10, 2023.
The California Civil Rights Division (CRD) recently released updated guidance in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for the 2022 California pay data reports, which covered employers must submit via the CRD’s pay data portal by May 10, 2023.
Employers posting jobs to be filled in California must now include a pay range in the posting under new requirements that took effect at the beginning of 2023. Senate Bill (SB) 1162, which was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2022, seeks to address racial and gender pay disparities by requiring employers to post pay ranges in job postings and expanding employers’ pay data reporting obligations with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD). In December 2022, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) released updated guidance for employers regarding the compliance with the new pay transparency obligations.
California recently enacted a landmark pay transparency law that requires employers to disclose pay ranges in job postings, joining a growing number of states and municipalities that impose such requirements aimed at improving pay equity. But beyond the pay scale requirements, Senate Bill (SB) 1162, signed in September 2022 by Governor Gavin Newsom, further broke new ground in expanding pay data reporting processes and requirements for California employers, and thus increasing employers’ compliance burden.
California is extending COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) through the end of 2022 under a bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 29, 2022. Assembly Bill (AB) 152 will also set up a program to provide grants of up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses to cover costs incurred for COVID-19 SPSL.
Beginning on January 1, 2024, California employers will be prohibited from discharging employees or refusing to hire individuals based on their off-duty use of marijuana.
California employers may soon be barred from discharging employees or refusing to hire individuals based on their off-duty use of marijuana, under a new bill headed to the governor’s desk. On August 30, 2022, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill (AB) 2188, which would prohibit employers from discriminating against “a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment” based on “the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.”
California could soon extend its COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) through the end of 2022 and provide relief to small businesses incurring the costs of such leave if Governor Gavin Newsom signs a bill sent to his desk on August 31, 2022.
California’s minimum wage rate will rise to $15.50 per hour, beginning on January 1, 2023, due to a cost-of-living increase provision found in the state’s minimum wage law.
With the first six months of 2022 completed, this is a good time to review a busy government reporting season.
A bill recently introduced in the California Assembly proposes to prohibit discrimination against employees who use cannabis off the job. The legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) No. 2188, would amend California’s employment antidiscrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and make it an unlawful practice for an employer to discriminate against an adult applicant or employee based upon the “person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.”
California law generally prohibits the enforcement of nonsolicitation agreements, but the law includes a narrow exception associated with the sale of a business. In Blue Mountain Enterprises, LLC v. Owen, a recent decision from the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District, the appellate court upheld a ruling in favor of the buyer of a business under this exception.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) posted updates to its California Pay Data Reporting Portal User Guide and California Pay Data Reporting: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guidance for the 2021 reporting year on its pay data reporting landing page on January 31, 2022. The DFEH has set the deadline for filing 2021 pay data reports as April 1, 2022.
As the United States gradually emerges from the pandemic, employers (and especially those in the tech sector whose workforces can easily work remotely) are looking for ways to help frazzled and burned-out employees. In addition, many employees are seeking opportunities to preserve the flexibility they gained during pandemic remote-work arrangements. Time off, company holidays, and workday flexibility are among the top remedies for these concerns. But outmoded state and federal labor laws may impede a new era of worker freedom.
Taking a meal break in California is no simple affair. Culminating seven years of litigation involving one California employer, on February 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of California issued its unanimous opinion in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC, resolving two questions regarding California meal periods. The court’s opinion also raised, but did not resolve, questions regarding meal period compliance that will likely challenge employers and litigants for years.
On September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a pay data reporting requirement for employers that assigns responsibility for collecting such data to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). To assist employers with this filing requirement, the DFEH recently established a web page and published answers to a a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that address several topics related to the upcoming filings, which are due no later than March 31, 2021.
On September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 3075, which amends the California Labor Code to allow employees to collect wage and hour judgments not only from their employers, but also from certain successor businesses that take over operations when the employers have failed to pay the judgment debts.
Despite all that is going on in the world, the California legislature has been busy this year. Below is a summary of the major employment law bills that are working their way through the state Assembly and Senate.
On May 20, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) published an online harassment prevention training module designed to meet a recent California mandate that nonsupervisory employees receive one hour of harassment prevention training every two years.
With the rapid onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, California employers have endeavored to ensure the health and safety of their workforces while at the same time heeding the anti-discrimination provisions of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Addressing a number of unique issues arising out of the current crises, on March 20, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) issued answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAQs address compliance with both the anti-discrimination provisions in FEHA as well as leave of absence rights found in the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
Under a California law that took effect on January 1, 2020, employers will have to provide extra notices to California employees enrolled in flexible spending accounts (FSAs) explaining the “use it or lose it” federal tax rules that apply to those FSAs.
Employment litigation settlement agreements often include a mutually negotiated “no-rehire” provision by which the departing employee agrees not to seek employment with the company in the future. A recently enacted California law will require companies to refrain from including such provisions in most instances.
On August 30, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 778 into law, thereby giving employers more time to comply with the state’s sexual harassment training requirement.
Signaling a growing movement to align culturally inclusive practices with legal protections, California has become the first state to expressly ban discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture associated with a person’s race. On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsome signed into law Senate Bill No. 188, the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act).
Currently, certain employers are required under federal law to file annual Employer Information Reports (EEO-1) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These EEO-1s must contain data regarding demographics of the employer’s workforce. Accordingly, employers covered by federal EEO-1 reporting requirements were required to file EEO-1 Component 1 data from 2018 by May 31, 2019, and must still submit Component 2 EEO-1 (pay and hours worked) data for their workforces by September 30, 2019. Not to be outdone, the State of California is poised to impose a similar requirement on employers.
California is expanding state benefits available to workers who lose wages while taking time off to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. On June 27, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed California’s 2019-20 state budget, which included an expansion of the state’s family temporary disability insurance program administered through the Employment Development Department (EDD). The benefit program is commonly referred to as “paid family leave” or PFL.