CalChamber Status Update on Major Employment-Related Legislation

September 15 is the last day for the Legislature to pass bills to the Governor for consideration.
September 15 is the last day for the Legislature to pass bills to the Governor for consideration.

The following list summarizes top priority employment-related bills for the California Chamber of Commerce and their status as of July 21, when the Legislature began its summer recess.

CalChamber will publish a second report in September, showing the status of priority legislation when the Legislature begins its interim recess on September 15.

October 15 is the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature on or before September 15. Bills signed by the Governor will become law on January 1, 2018. Urgency, tax and budget-related measures go into effect immediately upon being signed.

CalChamber will publish its final report, showing the ultimate fate of bills sent to the Governor this year, in October. In addition, CalChamber’s employment law experts will prepare their annual new laws white paper analyzing the significant pieces of employment legislation affecting California employers for 2018.

Bill Status
Employer Liability. AB 450 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) places employers in a no-win situation between federal immigration enforcement and state enforcement by punishing employers — rather than providing tools and resources for employees when federal immigration enforcement appears at their workplace regardless of whether a violation of law has been committed by the employer. Oppose. Senate Appropriations Hearing 8/21/17
Access to Employer Records. AB 978 (Limón; D-Goleta) inappropriately allows organizations unaffiliated with the employer to access an undefined and potentially unlimited scope of employer internal documents and circumvents the rulemaking process now underway to provide for access by employees to their employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). Oppose unless amended. Senate Floor 7/11/17
Increased Cal/OSHA Costs on Employers. SB 772 (Leyva; D-Chino) imposes excessive costs on employers without transparency and without consideration of alternative methods for Cal/OSHA regulations to meet policy objectives, by exemption from Major Regulation statutory requirements for economic analysis of the most costly regulations. Oppose. Assembly Floor 7/20/17
Public Shaming of California Employers. AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) imposes new data collection mandate on California employers to collect and report data to the Secretary of State regarding the mean and median salaries of men and women in the same job title and job description, determine which employees perform “substantially similar” work, and then have that report posted on a publicly accessible website, where such employers will receive undue scrutiny and criticism for wage disparity that is not unlawful and justified by a bona fide factor. Oppose/Job Killer. Senate Appropriations Hearing 8/21/17
Imposes New Maternity and Paternity Leave Mandate. SB 63 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) unduly burdens and increases costs of small employers with as few as 20 employees by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for child bonding and exposes them to the threat of costly litigation. Oppose/Job Killer. Assembly Appropriations Suspense File 7/19/17
Significant Expansion of California Family Rights Act. SB 62 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), before amendments, increased costs, risk of litigation and created less conformity with federal law by expanding the family members for whom leave may be taken, which will provide a potential 24-week protected leave of absence for employers to administer. Gutted and amended March 20, 2017 to a different subject area. Job killer and oppose tag removed. No position/former Job Killer. Assembly Appropriations 7/19/17
Significant Cost Increase on Employers and Costly Litigation. AB 1565 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) unnecessarily accelerates the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees, which will significantly increase costs, especially on small employers who currently have a delayed increase under the current minimum wage scheduled increases. Oppose. Senate Floor 7/18/17
Labor Commissioner Enhanced Authority. SB 306 (Hertzberg; D-Van Nuys) unnecessarily allows the Labor Commissioner to seek injunctive relief before completing an investigation and determining retaliation has occurred, as well as requiring an employer to pay the costs and fees of the Labor Commissioner to pursue a civil action for retaliation, even if the claim lacks merit, as well as exposes employers to a daily $100 penalty, capped at $20,000 for a posting violation. Oppose. Assembly Appropriations 7/5/17
Expansion of Liability. AB 1701 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) unfairly imposes liability onto a direct contractor, as defined, for the wage-and-hour violations of a subcontractor that the direct contractor did not cause. Oppose. Assembly Appropriations 7/5/17
Increased Litigation. AB 1008 (McCarty; D-Sacramento) exposes employers to increased litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for utilizing relevant criminal history of an applicant in its employment decisions to maintain safety in its workplace. Oppose unless amended. Senate Appropriations Hearing 8/21/17
Pregnancy Discrimination. AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) creates a new mandate in the Labor Code, prohibiting employers from taking any adverse employment action against an employee due to the employee’s use of various medical options for reproductive health, even though the FEHA currently provides these protections to employees, thereby creating inconsistencies and confusion amongst employers with regard to interpretation and enforcement of these competing provisions. Oppose. Senate Appropriations Hearing 8/21/17
Exposure to Litigation. AB 168 (Eggman; D-Stockton) exposes employers to costly litigation for inquiring into an applicant’s prior salary or failing to provide a pay scale upon demand, even though the employee has not suffered any harm or wage loss as a result of the violation. Oppose. Senate Floor 7/18/17
Terrorism/Workplace Violence. AB 44 (Reyes; D-Grand Terrace), before amendments, exempted from utilization review medical treatment for employees or first responders who are injured as a result of an action of terrorism or violence in the workplace. Opposition removed due to April 20, 2017 amendments. Neutral. Senate Appropriations Hearing 8/21/17

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