The California government has recently approved a set OF laws in favor of employees in California which include new arbitration protection laws. The most important bills included SB 1063, approved on September30th, 2016, stating that all employees must be equally paid when working with the same skill-set and under same conditions, regardless of gender, race, and ethnicity. Further amendment AB 1676, in the bill, regulates that “prior salary shall not, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation.”
Another bill prohibits employers from labeling a single-user toilet facility as reserved for either gender – male or female. AB 1732, effective since March 1st, 2017, was approved after considering the rights of LGBT community, caretakers, and other personnel within the vicinity who may require convenient access to toilets without much hassle.
Under AB 2377, employers are required to notify employees of their right to avail domestic violence leaves, which also includes leaves for protection against stalking and sexual assault. Other bills include the prohibition of employers from questioning their employees about juvenile convictions, minimum wage limit, and prohibition of cigarettes and e-cigarettes at work.
However, the most notable of all bills were the ones regarding arbitration protection, since arbitration in California is a suppressed issue for several years now.
Arbitration Protection Bill
California’s legislature approved the new statutes, after the Wells Fargo scandal, on mandatory arbitration laws for employees in CA.
The first approved statute concerning arbitration was SB 1007, passed on September1st, 2016. It specifically touched on the rights of either party in an arbitration to arrange for a certified stenographer to record the proceedings of the arbitration. These records may be helpful if an arbitration is not successful and employees seek help from the state.
While most businesses seek mandatory arbitration and oppose all bills against this practice, the government has therefore made it mandatory to keep records of the proceedings of such arbitrations to prevent exploitation of either party.
Another new law on arbitration protection that was passed on September 9th, 2016 – Statue SB 1241 -requires employees within California to refrain from taking the assistance of arbitration laws practiced outside the state. Since its approval, employees are now legally barred from claiming their arbitration in other states, and from applying laws practiced in other states to California.
Though it was primarily opposed by businesses owing to the fact that California state government legally protects employees that have been forced into out-of-state for dispute handling, the bill was approved considering the exploitation of employees by employers who required them to practice laws from other states even when the employment is in California.