California Governor Signs Some Employment Bills and Vetoes Others
Topics: New Laws & Legislation
Yesterday was the last day for California’s Governor to sign or veto legislation passed by the California Legislature this term. In the past few days he finally acted on various pieces of employment-related legislation, by signing several bills into law and vetoing a couple.
Bills Signed Into Law
AB 2386 (FEHA amendment): This bill includes breastfeeding and conditions related to breastfeeding under the definition of “sex” under FEHA, making clear that discrimination against a woman because of breastfeeding (or related conditions) is unlawful.
AB 1744 (temporary services employers): This bill amends Labor Code section 226 relating to itemized wage statement requirements to impose additional requirements on temporary services employers (with the exception of security services companies) effective July 1, 2013. In addition to the information already statutorily required to be included on employees’ wage statements, temporary services employers will also need to provide itemized information concerning the rate of pay and total hours worked for each assignment. The bill also amends Labor Code section 2810.5—the statute requiring employers to provide written notice to new employees of certain wage-related information—to require temporary services employers (effective July 1, 2013) to provide the name, physical and mailing address and telephone number of the main office of the legal entity for whom the employee will perform work. Again, security services companies are exempt from this requirement.
AB 2103 (fixed salaries and overtime): This legislation overturns a 2011 California court decision in Arechiga v. Dolores Press, which held that an employer and employee can agree to a fixed salary that includes payment of overtime compensation. Under the new law, Labor Code section 515 is amended to provide that payment of a fixed salary to a non-exempt employee will be deemed to be payment only for the employee’s regular non-overtime hours, notwithstanding any private agreement to the contrary.
AB 2674 (inspection of personnel records): This bill amends Labor Code section 1198.5, which allows employees to inspect certain of their personnel records. First, the new law makes clear that the inspection right applies to both current employees and former employees. Second, the new law requires employers to maintain personnel records (including records relating to an employee’s performance and to any grievance concerning the employee) for at least three years after termination of employment. Third, the new law requires that a current or former employee (or any authorized representative) is entitled to inspect (and to receive a copy, upon request) personnel records relating to their performance and/or to any grievance concerning the employee within 30 days of making a request. The employee or representative must make the inspection request in writing, but may request a form from the employer to do so, which then must be provided by the employer. The employer may redact the name of any non-supervisory employees referenced in the records, prior to making them available for inspection. The employer may charge the employee the actual cost of reproduction if copies are requested. The employer is not required to comply with more than 50 requests in any calendar month by a representative of employees for personnel records. Additionally, if a former employee has an employment-related lawsuit pending against the employer, the employer is not required to make personnel records available under Section 1198.5 during the pendency of the lawsuit. Finally, the new law establishes that if an employer fails to comply with inspection and copying requests under Section 1198.5, either the employee/former employee or Labor Commissioner may collect a penalty of $750.
AB 2675 (commission contracts): Last year, legislation was enacted requiring commission payment arrangements to be in writing for California employees. AB 2675 amends Labor Code section 2751 to exempt certain payments from this requirement. Specifically, it exempts temporary, variable incentive payments that increase, but do not decrease, payment under the written contract.
SB 1255 (penalties for wage statement violations): Under this new law, it will be easier for employees to prove “injury” for itemized wage statement violations and thereby recover damages or penalties. The new law provides that employees are “injured” if the employer fails to provide a wage statement or fails to provide an accurate and complete wage statement from which the employee can promptly and easily determine the amount of the gross or net wages paid to the employee during the pay period or other specified information, the deductions the employer made from the gross wages to determine the net wages paid to the employee during the pay period, the name and address of the employer or legal entity that secured the services of the employer, and the name of the employee and only the last 4 digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, as specified.
AB 1844 (social media policies): This legislation prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for employment to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media, to access personal social media in the presence of the employer, or to divulge any personal social media. This legislation also prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, threatening to discharge or discipline, or otherwise retaliating against an employee or applicant for not complying with a request or demand by the employer that violates these provisions.
AB 1450 (discrimination against unemployed): This bill would have made it unlawful for employers to place ads for employment that include a requirement that applicants be currently employed to be eligible. It also would have made it unlawful to discriminate against applicants because of their status as unemployed.
AB 889 (domestic employee wage and hour requirements): This bill would have placed onerous wage and hour requirements (including relieving employees of duty for meal and rest breaks) on employers of domestic services employees (e.g. babysitters and nannies).
New laws take effect January 1, 2013 unless otherwise noted. Employers should review their personnel policies and procedures to ensure compliance with these new laws and to minimize risk and exposure to lawsuits, particularly in the area of wage statement compliance and personnel records inspection.