New Year, New Laws

By February 20, 2020WDACS News

EMPLOYMENT/BUSINESS

SB 3 – Minimum wage increase: New phase of the minimum wage requirement: The law raises the state minimum wage to $13 an hour for workplaces with 26 or more employees and to $12 for workplaces with fewer than 26 employees. The law outlines incremental minimum wage increases through 2023 when it will reach $15 an hour for all workplaces.

AB 5 – Gig worker law: Reclassification of some independent contractors as employees. Under AB-5, workers would be considered employees and not independent contractors if the employer controls the work, directs them in the course of their work or if the worker’s job is part of a company’s core business. It aims to provide new protections for so-called gig economy workers such as minimum wage, paid sick days and health insurance benefits.

AB 9 – Employment discrimination: The law allows employees up to three years to file complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Previously, employees had only had one year to file a complaint.

AB 51 – Arbitration agreements: Mandatory arbitration agreements require people to resolve legal conflicts with an arbitrator, rather than the courts. The new law prevents anyone, including employers, from requiring employees or applicants to sign the agreement. The law does not apply to arbitration agreements entered into prior to January 1, 2020.

SB 83 – Extending paid leave: The law increases paid leave from six to eight weeks for people taking care of a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.

SB 142 Lactation accommodations: While California has had a law requiring employers to provide breaks for nursing mothers, many were forced to express breast milk in a bathroom stall or office closet. This new law requires companies to provide appropriate lactation accommodations that is close to the employee’s work area, has electrical plugs and is free of intrusion

SB 188 – Hairstyle discrimination: The law protects employees from racial discrimination because of hairstyles, such as afros, braids, twists and locks. California is the first state in the nation to ban such practices.

AB 673Failure to pay wages – penalties: Starting January 1, California employees will be able to seek penalties from their employers for late payment of wages. Under labor code § 210, the penalties for late paid wages are $100 for the first violation and $200 for each subsequent violation. In addition, the employer must pay 25 percent of the wages that were paid late.

AB 749Limits on Settlement Agreements: Any settlement agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2020 will be void if it contains a provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts an “aggrieved person” from working for the employer in the future. However, employers can still agree with the aggrieved person to end a current employment relationship or to prohibit the aggrieved person from obtaining future employment with the employer if the employer has made a good faith determination that the person engaged in sexual harassment or sexual assault.

SB 1343 – Sexual harassment training: The law requires workplaces with five or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training within six months of being hired and every two years after that.

AB 1804 – Occupational injuries and illnesses reporting: Requires employers to immediately report any serious occupational illness, injury or death to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, by telephone or by an online mechanism to be established for this purpose. This requirement is in addition to the existing employer requirement to report any workplace injury or illness resulting in lost time beyond the date of the injury or illness, or that requires medical treatment beyond first aid, to the Department of Industrial Relations on a form provided for this purpose, within 5 days of the employer’s knowledge of the injury or illness.  In the event a death results from the reported injury or illness, the employer must amend the original report within 5 days of learning of the death.

AB 1429 – Hazardous materials: business plans: Allows a facility that handles hazardous materials and is required to submit a Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) per California threshold amounts to submit a HMBP every three years instead of annually if they meet the following reporting requirements.

  • The business is not required to submit tier II information under federal provisions and is not subject to provisions under the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA).
  • This does not apply if there are significant changes that would require the HMBP to be updated.
  • Significant changes include name, ownership or address change; or if there is a 100 percent or more increase in the quantity of previously disclosed material.

AB 1202Consumer Privacy Disclosure: Grants a consumer a right to request a business to disclose the categories and specific pieces of personal information that it collects about the consumer, the categories of sources from which that information is collected, the business purposes for collecting or selling the information, and the categories of third parties with which the information is shared. Consumers may also request businesses delete any information they have about you.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/LAW ENFORCEMENT

SB 230Law enforcement training: By no later than January 1, 2021, requires that basic training include lessons on de-escalation tactics, as well as awareness of mental illness, bias and cultural competency. It also requires law enforcement agencies to adopt policies that say officers must de-escalate situations when feasible, only use force proportional to the situation and intervene if they see other officers using excessive force.

AB 32– Private for-profit detention facilities: Would end the state’s use of private, for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities and prohibits the state from entering into new such contracts or renewing old ones starting Jan.1. These facilities would then have until 2028 to shut down.

AB 45 Inmate medical fees: Prohibit the secretary or a sheriff, chief or director of corrections, or chief of police from charging a fee for an inmate-initiated medical visit of an inmate of the state prison or a county or city jail, and would make a conforming change. The bill would also prohibit those officials from charging an inmate of the state prison or a city or county jail a fee for durable medical equipment or medical supplies.

AB 278California Conservation Corps – parolees: Allows the California Conservation Corps to accept applicants who are on parole

AB 1261Controlled substances: narcotics registry: Eliminates the requirement for individuals convicted of a certain drug offense to register with local law enforcement. The bill would prohibit the statements, photographs, and fingerprints obtained pursuant to these requirements as they read on January 1, 2019, from being inspected by the public or by any person other than a regularly employed peace or other law enforcement officer

SB 310Jury Service: Convicted felons who have completed their sentences, parole, probation and supervision will no longer be disqualified from serving as jurors and continues to prohibit persons while they are incarcerated in any prison or jail, persons who have been convicted of a felony and are currently on parole, postrelease community supervision, felony probation, or mandated supervision for the conviction of a felony, and persons who are currently required to register as a sex offender based on a felony conviction.

HOUSING

AB 1482 – Tenant Protection Rent Cap: Assembly Bill 1482 caps rent increases at 5% each year plus inflation until Jan. 1, 2030. The bill will also ban landlords from evicting tenants without just cause, meaning someone can’t be evicted so the landlord can raise the rent for a new tenant.

AB 68 – Accessory dwelling units: Makes it cheaper and faster for homeowners of single-family homes who apply to build accessory dwelling units, or “granny flats,” to also build a second, “junior” ADU on their property. considered a way to address state’s housing crisis.

SB 222Housing discrimination VASH: Housing discrimination on account of military or veteran status is unlawful in California by explicitly stating so within the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In addition, by defining a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher as a source of income for purposes of FEHA, the bill prohibits landlords from discriminating against a tenant on the basis that the tenant pays part or all of the rent using a VASH voucher.

SB 329 Housing voucher discrimination: Prohibits landlords from issuing blanket denials against the 300,000 low-income Californians who receive Section 8 housing vouchers. An estimated 300,000 low-income Californians rely on state and federal housing vouchers to avoid homelessness and deep poverty.