United States: California's 2014 Bill Signings And Vetoes Are Almost Complete

Last Updated: September 25 2014
Article by Christopher E. Cobey

California Governor Jerry Brown has until next Tuesday, September 30, to sign or veto bills recently passed by the California Legislature. 

Signed Legislation Relating to Private-Sector Employers

Signed by the Governor since our last update

  • AB 1522 (paid sick leave). This is the most important private-sector employment bill of the year. The new law takes effect January 1, 2015; covered employees may begin to qualify for paid sick leave starting July 1, 2015.  The 14-page bill's eight new statutes create a right to three days of paid sick leave per year for any employees (with four groups of exceptions) working at least 30 days in a year measured from the time of first employment.  For a comprehensive explanation of the bill, see Litter's ASAP on AB 1522, The Epidemic Continues: California Enacts Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law, by Michelle Barrett Falconer and Pam Salgado. 
  • AB 1660: among other purposes, this measure clarifies existing law prohibiting discrimination against people who hold or present a driver's license, as specified, under the Fair Housing and Employment Act. The law prohibits national origin discrimination and the closely related issue of differential treatment on the basis of immigration status that may be presumed on the grounds that an individual possesses a particular driver's license.
  • AB 1443: prohibits unlawful harassment of unpaid interns.
  • AB 1634: enacts various provisions of law related to an employer's obligation to abate an alleged workplace safety and health hazard.
  • AB 253: adds training in "abusive conduct" to existing required training of supervisors concerning sexual harassment (Gov't Code § 12950.1).  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has indicated, in response to questions from Littler's Workplace Policy Institute®, that there will be no Departmental requirement on how many minutes must be devoted to abusive conduct training as part of sexual harassment training.  In response to a question on the required content of AB 2053 abusive conduct training, the Department has recommended that training cover the language as written in new Government Code section 12950.1(g)(2).  The Department has indicated that it would be reasonable to state that although workplace bullying is not actionable under the FEHA, its prevention is nonetheless included in the training as a good business practice.
  • AB 2536: expands the definition of emergency rescue personnel to include an officer, employee, or member of a disaster medical response team sponsored or requested by the state, and requires the designated employee to notify his or her employer of deployment for leave purposes. 

Vetoed by the Governor

  • AB 2271: would have enacted various provisions of law related to discrimination based on an individual's employment status (present unemployment). 

Still on the Governor's Desk Awaiting Approval or Veto

  • AB 26: clarifies that work performed during the post-construction phases of construction on a public works project, including all cleanup work at the jobsite, is considered part of the project and should be compensated at the prevailing wage rate.
  • AB 1556: codifies a number of reforms to the policies and practices in the unemployment insurance (UI) program.
  • AB 1723: stipulates that minimum wage citations issued by the Labor Commissioner will also include any applicable "waiting time" penalties provided for under existing law.
  • AB 1792: requires the preparation of an annual report related to employers with employee beneficiaries who are enrolled in public assistance programs ("public shaming").
  • AB 1870: makes changes to existing law related to the distribution of training contributions by the California Apprenticeship Council (CAC) to approved apprenticeship programs.
  • AB 1897: establishes specified liability for client employers that obtain workers from third-party labor contractors.  The California Chamber of Commerce (Cal Chamber) has labeled this a "job killer" bill.
  • AB 2272: specifies that "public work" for purposes of prevailing wage law also means infrastructure project grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) pursuant to existing law.
  • AB 2617: prohibits the enforcement of arbitration agreements or pre-litigation settlement agreements that require the individuals to waive their rights to pursue a civil action for the alleged violation of civil rights.  Cal Chamber has labeled this a "job killer" bill.
  • SB 477: requires foreign labor contractors to register with the Labor Commissioner, as well as follow additional contractual and bonding requirements.
  • SB 556: establishes requirement for identification of providers of health and safety labor services.
  • SB 610: constitutes a major overhaul of law governing franchises.
  • SB 1087: strengthens the farm labor contractor (FLC) standards by, among other things, increasing bonding requirements and raising licensure fees for FLC licensure enforcement, as specified; and prohibits the FLC who engages in sexual harassment from being issued a FLC's license or renewing the license.
  • SB 1299: requires Cal-OSHA, no later than July 1, 2016, to adopt standards that require specified hospitals to adopt a workplace violence prevention plan as part of their injury and illness prevention plan. 

Local Ordinances

  • City of San Diego: The mayor vetoed the City's minimum wage and sick leave law on August 8; the City Council voted to override the mayor's veto on August 18; opponents of the measure last week submitted more than 56,000 signatures – about 22,000 more than the 34,000 required – on petitions requiring the city to hold a referendum on the proposal in June 2016.  Validation of the signatures is in progress. A report on whether the referendum qualifies is expected from the Registrar of Voters by October .

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Christopher E. Cobey
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