New California Employment Laws That Could Affect YOU and your paycheck
WAGE AND HOUR LAWS
Minimum Wage: AB 10 July 1st 2014 California minimum wage rose from to $9 an hour. Minimum wage will rise again January 1st, 2016 making it $10 per hour. Did your wage go up?
Domestic Employees: AB 241 Includes the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights which provides overtime to in-home workers who fall under certain rules. Personal attendants for the elderly, disabled or ill are among those included. Many workers who currently work 12 hour shifts without getting overtime pay may now be entitled to it.
Meals and Rest periods: SB435 Meal and rest period protections now extend to “recovery” periods taken to prevent heat related illnesses. During any rest period you cannot be required to work in any capacity. There are now monetary penalties if denied such a rest period.
New penalties for Violations: AB 442 If your employer violates the new minimum wage laws there are new monetary penalties. Not only will they have to pay you any damages, but there are fines from the state for breaking the law.
Real Property Liens: AB 1386 If found guilty of wage violations and your employer doesn’t pay, the state labor commission may now place a lien against their physical property or assets in order to force them to pay you.
Criminal Penalties for Wage Withholding: SB390 If your employer owes you money required by state, federal or local regulations they may now face criminal charges rather than just fines.
NEW LAWS OF PROTECTION
Defending Your rights: AB 263 Employers are bared from retaliating if employees assert their rights. There is a new standard civil penalty up to $10,000 per employee, per violation.
Whistle-blower Protection: SB 496 The new regulation provides protection to any employee who reports criminal action or violations by their employer from retaliation such as termination or poor treatment.
Immigration Status: AB 263 Employers may not threaten to contact immigration authorities to keep an employee from filing a complaint.
Business License Revoked: SB 666 A business license may be revoked or suspended if any employer threatens to report, or reports any employee to a federal law enforcement agent for immigration status. ALL EMPLOYEES have rights to fair wages and proper work conditions.
Background Check on Application:AB218 You can no longer be subject to a background check until you have been deemed qualified for the job. This means they cannot write you off before giving a proper interview and deciding if you are otherwise a good fit.
False claims: This one protects employers against false claims by employees. If any employee files a claim deemed by the court to be not in good faith, the employer is entitled to legal fees and other penalties.
Aditional Discrimination Classes: AB 556 “Military and Veteran status” is being added as a protected class with regards to discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). According to the FEHA “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” is now protected against discrimination in the workplace or in housing related matters.
Sexual Harassment Definition: SB 292 The clarification under this law makes it known that sexual desire is not a requisite of harassment. It can still be deemed sexual harassment even if the defendant denies and desire for the plaintiff(victim).
San Francisco Leave for Caregivers: New Family-Friendly Workplace Ordinances require covered employers to consider all requests for “flexible or predictable working arrangements to assist with care giving responsibilities.” These employees are shielded from adverse action by employers that result from such requests.
Protections for Victims of violent crime: SB 400 Current laws protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have been extended to victims of stalking. You cannot be fired for attending to legal matters stemming from your status as a victim. In addition, your boss cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodation to keep you safe at work.
Time off to Serve: AB 11 Volunteer firefighters training for emergency duty and whose company has at least 50 employees must allow time off to do so. As well as registered reserve peace officers or emergency rescue personnel, all must be given up to 14 days for such training and time to serve.
Time Off for Victims of Crime: SB288 Expands some victim’s’ rights; they may now take time off to appear during court proceedings if such proceedings may affect their rights as a victim. Specific to type of case and you still have to follow your company’s rules in requesting time off.
Expanding Paid Family Leave Benefits: SB 770 The Paid Family Leave Act expanded allowing workers to receive partial wage replacement benefits while caring for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-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 INDUSTRY SPECIFIC CALIFORNIA LABOR LAWS
Farm Labor Contracts: SB 168 New contractors taking over a contract are 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 here.
Garment Manufacturers: AB 1384 Licensed garment manufacturers must now clearly post their company name, physical address and registration number at the entrance to their business or face penalties.
Car Washing Businesses: AB 1387 Raises the required bond from $15,000 up to $150,000. Employers who have a collective bargaining agreement providing for all wages, hours of work, conditions and “an expeditious process to resolve disputes concerning nonpayment of wages” are exempt from this increase.