NEW LABOR LAWS THIS YEAR THAT MAY AFFECT YOU
Unless otherwise noted they were effective January 1, 2014
CALIFORNIA WAGE AND HOUR LAWS
Rising Minimum Wage AB 10 Make sure your company is paying the current minimum wage which is now $9 an hour and will go up again in July 2016 to $10 per hour.
Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: AB 241 Certain in-home caregivers will now get overtime. The bill includes personal attendants for the ill, disabled or elderly persons, for in-home care. Many of these workers have 12 hour shifts, and did not previously get overtime.
Breaks for Meals and Rest periods: SB435 Further protections extended to “cool down” periods for those working in the heat. This mean you cannot be required to perform other indoor work duties while you are on a rest period.
Monetary FINES for Violating Minimum Wage: AB 442 An added deterrent to employers who might try to short change employees, AB442 creates MANDATORY fines for employers who are found guilty of violating wage laws.
Real Property Liens For Cheaters: AB 1386 THIS ONE IS BIG! Before AB1386 a company facing a lawsuit for wage claims could close up shop, claim bankruptcy and you would have no way to collect even after you won in court. Not anymore! This law means the state can bind their physical property with a lien so they cannot sell, re-finance or use it as collateral until they pay you what you are owed.
Criminal Charges For Wage Withholding Violators: SB390 Similar to the last two laws, SB390 is YET ANOTHER deterrent for law breakers. No more deep pockets to solve the problem, employers can actually get jail time for refusing to pay employees their lawful wages.
NEW PROTECTION FOR CALIFORNIA EMPLOYEES
STAND UP: AB 263 Retaliating against an employee for speaking up about rights or wage violations now carries a minimum $10,000 penalty for each offense.
Whistle-blower Protection: SB 496 In addition to AB263, new whistle-blower laws provide even more protection for those who speak up about rights and wage violations in the workplace, whether their own or someone elses.
Immigration Status Reporting: AB 263 Also makes it illegal for any employer to use threats of reporting employees to the INS, to force them to work in sub-par conditions or for unlawful wages.
Revoking Business licenses: SB 666 To further the protections above, your company’s license can be revoked or not approved if they violate these protections, for nation of origin.
Background Checks For Job Applicants: AB218 If you made past mistakes this could make all the difference. CA employers can no longer ask questions of criminal history on initial interviews or applications(unless the position involves children or a few other exceptions). You must be deemed otherwise proficient in the job which you have applied for before you can be submitted to a background check.
Penalties For Filing a False Claim: JUST DON”T DO IT! As you can see, most of the new laws on the books are to protect employees from bad bosses, but this one is for the employer. If you attempt to fabricate a case against an employer you are liable for their legal fees and damages, and this will add up fast. SO DO NOT FILE A FALSE CLAIM.
New Discrimination Class Added: AB 556 The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) is charged with defining all classes protected from discrimination, added to this list in 2014 is “Veteran and Military status,” to include, “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.” For full protections provided see more here. Additional protections are provided for veterans under AB556.
Sexual Harassment NOT Sexual Intent: SB 292 This further explanation of sexual harassment states that no actual attraction or sexual intent toward the victim is required for the perpetrator’s actions to constitute harassment.
Emergency Duty Workers Leave: AB 11 Any part time or reserve emergency worker who works for a company with at least 50 employees must be allowed to take time off to train for or perform these duties with no adverse effects on their position in the company with regard to pay, raises, promotions, layoffs etc.
Paid Family Leave Benefits Extended: SB 770 Extends the statutes of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to caring for an in-law, grand parents, grandchildren or siblings.
Farm Labor Contracts Assumed: SB 168 Contractors who take over a job are liable to pay wages and penalties owed to the previous contractor if they meet the criteria laid out in SB 168 which you can see at the link above.