Which New Labor Laws Will Affect Me?
Below are the recent developments in California Employment Code, most of the laws took affect January 1st of 2014.
I have given simple summaries for each here, but you may click on any code for the full bill. If you believe your company is violating any of these, or existing laws, we encourage you to contact our San Francisco Employment Attorneys offices for answers and assistance in protecting your rights.
LOS ANGELES WAGE AND HOUR REGULATION
NEW Minimum Wage AB 10 July 1st marked a new higher minimum wage of $9 an hour as a state minimum. It will go up again January 1, 2016 to $10 per hour. Make sure your check is RIGHT!
Domestic Workers: AB 241 The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights could mean overtime pay for some in-home caretakers, including personal attendants for the elderly, disabled or ill. It is common for these workers to work in 12 hour shifts and have not traditionally been paid overtime.
Meal and Rest Period: SB435 Will extend meal and rest protections to all “recovery” periods. These rest rimes may be taken to prevent heat, related illnesses. No employee can be required to do an indoor or desk job during recovery periods.
Additional penalties for Minimum Wage Violation: AB 442 Any employer found guilty of minimum wage violations will also be fined by the state for doing so. This is an attempt, in theory, to further deter companies from trying to cut corners.
Real Property Lien: AB 1386 This is a BIG ONE! Now if you win a case against your employer and they fail to pay, the state can place a lien against their actual property. In other words your boss can’t file for bankruptcy and go live in their 5 Million dollar house without paying you what they owe.
Criminal Penalties For Wage Withholding Violations: SB390 Any employer failing to remit wages withheld from an employee which were required by state law may now face criminal fines and penalties as well as any other liabilities.
ADDITIONAL PROTECTION LAWS
Defending Your rights: AB 263. No employer may retaliate against an employee or employees for asserting their rights as defined by the law. Included is a standard civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each worker, per violation, by the employer.
Whistle-blower Protection: SB 496 Provides further protection for employees who speak up against a company or boss who allows illegal action in the workplace. You cannot be retaliated against for making a report of such action whether it is happening to you or a coworker.
Immigration Status: AB 263 Further language in SB-263 mentioned above makes it illegal to use a workers real or supposed immigration status as leverage. In other words you cannot be mistreated by your boss and threatened with a call to the INS if you don’t just “shut up and do your job”.
Suspension of Business license: SB 666 Your employer can have their business license revoked or denied renewal if they are found to be making treats of reporting an immigrant to INS or using the treat to force an employee to work in illegal conditions. That means if they pay you under minimum wage and tell you if you complain they will report you, their ability to even operate their business can be taken away.
Background Checks for New Applicants: AB218 No longer does one mistake have to ruin your life. It is now state law that no applicant can be forced to submit to a background check or even be asked about past criminal history until after they have been determined to be otherwise qualified for the position. This means you can’t be asked about criminal charges on your initial interview, rather once you have made it through the first round and seen as capable of the position then all applicants alike must give information.
Filing a False claim: As you see most of these new laws are to protect the employee however this one provides protection for employers if an employee makes a false claim against them. If you should make a BAD claim or fabricate the details you can face fines and even criminal charges.
New Discrimination Classes: AB 556 The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) currently defines all classes protected from discrimination. This year they have added “Veteran and Military status” including, “a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Armed Forces Reserve, the U.S. National Guard, and the California National Guard.” You cannot be denied a position or promotion because you may have to serve or any other reason linked to your status as a member of the armed forces.
Redefining Sexual Harassment: SB 292 It has been established that sexual desire on the part of the perpetrator of the harassment is not a requirement for their actions to be defined as sexual harassment.
Caregiver Leave, San Francisco: Under The Family-Friendly Workplace Ordinance, relevant employers must consider employees needs for “flexible or predictable working arrangements to assist with care giving responsibilities.” You cannot be given worse shifts or otherwise retaliated against for such requests. All companies with San Francisco locations will have to post this ordinance in the workplace with other required postings.
Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Stalking: SB 400 Current protection laws now extend to victims of stalking. You cannot suffer adverse action at work because you need time off to appear in court to testify against an attacker or other time needed to recover from or tend to legal matters stemming from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. You can also require qualifying employers to make “reasonable safety accommodations.”
Emergency Duty Workers: AB 11 Any employer with at least 50 employees must allow up to 14 days off to serve emergency duty as needed for such individuals as peace officers, volunteer firefighters etc.
Victims of Crime: SB288 Some crime victims have seen an extension of rights so that they may take time off from work to appear in court anytime the proceedings may affect their rights as a victim. This does not apply to ALL victims and you must still follow your employer’s rules for requesting time off.
Expansion of Paid Family Leave Benefits: SB 770 The Paid Family Leave Act had expanded to allow for partial wage replacement benefits to continue while caring for a grandparent, grandchild, sibling and parent-in-law. The right to receive PFL benefits from the state, remains separate from an employee’s right to take time off. The definition of “family” was not changed in other leave statutes including the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
NEW CALIFORNIA LABOR LAWS FOR SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES
Farm Labor Contract Takeover: SB 168 sets out regulations that mean a new contractor who takes over a contract is liable for wages and penalties owed to the previous contractor if they meet at least two of the criteria as set in the law. You can see these specifics at the link above.
Garment Manufacturers: AB 1384 States all licensed garment manufacturers are now subject to civil penalties unless the clearly post their company name, physical address and registration number at the entrance to their business.
Car Washing Businesses: AB 1387 the new law has upped the required bond held by the business from $15,000 up to $150,000. There is however an exemption for any employer who has a collective bargaining agreement providing for all wages, hours of work, conditions and “an expeditious process to resolve disputes concerning nonpayment of wages.”
Does this affect you and you paycheck? Make sure your employer is compliant with new California Labor Codes and protect your rights at work. Please contact us if you have questions as to whether or not a new law affects you.