On October 10, 2019, Governor Newsom signed new employment related bills into law. These include:
- AB 9: Also known as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extention Act, this bill extends the deadline to file harassment, discrimination, or other civil rights-related claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Previously, the law required a person claiming to be mistreated by alleged workplace harassment to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year from the date of occurrence. AB 9 extends the deadline to three years.
- SB 688: This bill expands the Labor Commissioner’s authority to pursue wage claims. Under previous legislation, the Labor Commissioner only had the authority to enforce actions for violations alleging unpaid minimum wages. SB 688 now provides the Labor Commissioner the authority to issue citations for violations of unpaid wages that were less than the wage set by contract in excess of minimum wage.
- AB 51: Prohibits employers from requiring employees or applicants for employment to waive any right, forum, or procedure under FEHA or the Labor Code as a condition of employment, continued, employment, or the receipt of employment-related benefits. The bill is California’s attempt to outlaw the common practice of employers requiring employees to submit to binding arbitration.
- AB 673: Employees will now possess the right to recover civil penalties for unpaid wages. These wages were previously enforceable solely through an action by the Labor Commissioner, but now the employee will be entitled to recover $100 for each initial violation for failure to pay said employee, and for a “subsequent violation, or any willful or intentional violation” $200 for each failure to pay.
- AB 35: Creates an occupational lead poisoning prevention program.
- AB 203: Mandates awareness training on Valley Fever to at risk employees annually.
- AB 355: Brings Orange County Transportation Authority under PERB.
- SB 142: Requires employers develop and implement a policy regarding lactation accommodation and make it available to employees.