California Employment Related Legislation to Watch
Topics: New Laws & Legislation
Below is a list of notable employment-related bills pending before the California Legislature for the 2009-2010 session.
AB 335 (Choice of Law/Forum Selection Clauses): This bill would make void and unenforceable any provision in an employment contract that requires an employee to agree to a forum other than California, or to the laws of any state other than California, for the resolution of employment-related disputes.
AB 1000 (Paid Sick Leave):This bill would require employers to provide paid sick leave of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked to all employees who work in California for 7 or more days in a calendar year. An employee would be entitled to use accrued paid sick days beginning on the 90th calendar day of employment. Accrued, unused sick days would carry over to the following year, though small employers (10 or fewer employees) could limit an employee’s use to 40 hours in a calendar year and larger employers (more than 10 employees) could limit an employee’s use to 72 hours in a calendar year.AB 1000 would also create a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation in circumstances where an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of the employee (1) opposing a policy, practice or act that is in violation of the sick leave laws, (2) filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner alleging a violation, or (3) cooperating in an investigation of an alleged violation.
AB 353 (Statute of Limitations/Libel and Slander):This bill would extend the statute of limitations for a cause of action for libel or slander from one year to three years.
AB 793 (Statute of Limitations/Claims Relating to Discriminatory Compensation): This bill would follow the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2009), by providing that for any unlawful employment practice with respect to compensation, including discrimination claims and Labor Code violations, an employee’s cause of action accrues when any of the following occur: (1) a compensation decision or other practice is adopted; (2) an individual becomes subject to a compensation decision or other practice; or (3) an individual is affected by the application of a compensation decision or other practice, including each time when wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid.
AB 514 (Lactation Accommodation):This bill would expand an employer’s existing obligation to provide a reasonable amount of break time to employees for lactation purposes, by requiring that employers provide a 20-minute paid rest period for lactation purposes during each four-hour work period, immediately preceding or following the employee’s rest period. These 20-minute paid rest periods for lactation purposes would be separate and in addition to the employer’s obligation to provide meal and rest periods to the employee.
AB 527 (Falsified Payroll Records): This bill would provide that in circumstances where an employee files a complaint or claim with the Labor Commissioner, if the Labor Commissioner finds that payroll records submitted for any pay period relating to the claim have been intentionally falsified, all payroll records relating to that claim must be presumed false and disregarded.
AB 569 (Meal Periods/Exemptions):This bill would provide an exemption from California’s meal period requirements for construction employees and for commercial drivers in the transportation industry who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement containing meal period provisions.
AB 842 (WARN Act): This bill would extend the period of notice required for a qualifying layoff, from 60 days to 90 days, under the California WARN Act.
AB 943 (Consumer Credit Reports): This bill would prohibit employers from obtaining and utilizing consumer credit reports for employment purposes, except in limited circumstances such as where the information is substantially job related and the employee is in a managerial position and/or the information is required to be disclosed to the employer under law. The bill exempts certain financial institutions.
AB 1001 (FEHA Protections): This bill would add “familial status” as a protected class under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, thereby protecting individuals from employment discrimination based on familial status. “Familial status” is defined as having or providing care for a child, domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, or spouse.
SB 187 (Alternative Workweek Schedules): This bill would allow an individual employee to request an alternative workweek schedule of up to 10 hours per day, 40 hours per week with employer approval, without the requirement of overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day.
AB 849 (CFRA Leave): This bill would expand leave rights under the California Family Rights Act by broadening the definitions of “child” and “parent” and by adding additional categories of family members for whom an employee could take leave to care for a serious health condition.
AB 5 (Electronic Discovery): This bill would add provisions to the Code of Civil Procedure addressing electronic discovery in civil litigation. This bill is intended to implement electronic discovery rules in California similar to those recently implemented under federal law by amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
We will continue to monitor the progress of these bills and post significant developments. In the meantime, more information regarding the content and status of the bills may be found at www.leginfo.ca.gov.