The California Chamber of Commerce annual Job Killer list initially identified 31 bills that would harm California’s economic growth and job creation should they become law, several of those dealing with labor and employment issues.
“These bills represent some of the worst policy proposals affecting California employers and our economy currently being considered by Legislature,” said CalChamber President Allan Zaremberg. “Some of these bills have been rejected time and again by the Legislature or vetoed by the previous Governor. Legislators should, instead, focus on removing impediments to economic growth and creating upward mobility for all Californians.”
Out of the 31 Job Killer bills identified, only five remain. Here is an updated list of the 2019 employment-related job killers and their current status:
AB 51 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Ban on Arbitration Agreements — Significantly expands employment litigation and increases costs for employers and employees by banning arbitration agreements made as a condition of employment, which is likely preempted under the Federal Arbitration Act and will only delay the resolution of claims. Banning such agreements benefits the trial attorneys, not the employer or employee. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. vetoed a similar measure last year and stated it “plainly violates federal law.” Passed out of Committee on June 19, 2019.
AB 628 (Bonta; D-Oakland) Uncapped New Leave of Absence for Employees and Their Family Members — Significantly expands the definition of sexual harassment under the Labor Code, which is different than the definition in the Government Code, leading to inconsistent implementation of anti-harassment policies, confusion, and litigation. Also, provides an unprecedented, uncapped leave of absence for victims of sexual harassment and their “family members” which is broadly defined, that will add another layer of burdens on employers and their ability to manage their workforce. Failed passage in Assembly May 29, 2019. This bill is unlikely to move this year.
AB 673 (Carrillo; D-Los Angeles) Unfair Expansion of Penalties Against an Employer for Alleged Wage Violation — Before amendments, unfairly penalized an employer twice for the same Labor Code violation and created a new private right of action, allowing three different avenues of recovery for the same alleged violation while reducing revenue to the State. Opposition and job killer tag removed due to May 24, 2019 amendments. CalChamber has no position. The current version of the bill just identifies whether the existing penalty goes to the Labor Commission or the employee.
AB 790 (Levine; D-San Rafael) Increased Cost on Employers for Use of Personal Services Contracts — Discourages and reduces the use of “personal services contracts” as defined, by requiring the hiring entity to pay a minimum contractual compensation rate at 85 percent of the area median income, which will presumably include wages from different industries and occupations that are not comparable to personal services, and reduce jobs for individuals who perform the work under personal services contracts. Held in Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 16, 2019. This bill failed the legislative deadline to move and is not eligible to continue through the legislative process.
AB 882 (McCarty; D-Sacramento) Limitation on Ability to Maintain a Safe Workplace — Significantly undermines an employer’s ability to maintain a safe, drug-free workplace, by prohibiting an employer from discharging an employee who has tested positive for a drug that is being used for medical purposes, which will expose employers to costly litigation. In Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. This bill failed the legislative deadline to move and is not eligible to continue through the legislative process.
AB 1066 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Unemployment During Trade Disputes — Would significantly increase costs on employers engaged in a trade dispute by allowing employees on strike to receive unemployment benefits if the strike lasts more than four weeks, incentivizing strikes, raising costs for employers, and potentially affected the solvency of California’s UI fund. This bill is still moving through the legislative process and will likely be heard in a Senate policy committee within the next two weeks.
AB 1332 (Bonta; D-Oakland) Contract Prohibition for Businesses that Provide Services to Federal Government — Prohibits California public entities from contracting with, or investing in, any business that provides data-related services to an undefined group of federal agencies. Will create litigation and uncertainty for businesses that continue to work with California public entities, as the bill provides no clear guidance on how to comply with terms, and also in limited circumstances, compels public entities to breach signed contracts. This bill failed the legislative deadline to move and is not eligible to continue through the legislative process.
SB 135 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Substantial Expansion of California Family Rights Act — Significantly harms small employers in California with as few as five employees by requiring these employers to provide 12 weeks of a protected leave of absence each year, in addition to existing leaves of absences already required, as well as potentially requiring larger employers to provide 10 months of protected leave, with the exposure to costly litigation for any alleged violation. This bill was placed on the Senate Inactive File on May 30, 2019 at author’s request, which means it is unlikely to move this year
SB 561 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Significant Expansion of Liability and Litigation Under California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018 — Creates an onerous and costly private right of action that will primarily benefit trial lawyers, allowing them to sue for any violations of the CCPA, and removes businesses’ 30-day right to cure an alleged violation of the CCPA as well as businesses’ ability to seek guidance from the Attorney General on how to comply with this confusing and complex law. This bill failed the legislative deadline to move and is not eligible to continue through the legislative process.
SB 567 (Caballero; D-Salinas) Expands Costly Presumption of Injury — Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases and injuries are caused by the workplace and establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector. This bill failed the legislative deadline to move and is not eligible to continue through the legislative process.
CalChamber will periodically release job killer watch updates as legislation changes. Track the current status of the job killer bills on www.CalChamber.com/jobkillers.