California Update

Handful of Workplace Issues Teed Up for Final Action in Sacramento

Jul 29, 2015
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July 17 marked the deadline this year for bills in Sacramento to pass out of committee in the second house in California before the Legislature went out on recess. One significant piece of legislation, AB 1383, which allows a California employer to establish a voluntary preference in the hiring of veterans, did not meet the deadline and thus has been held for further consideration in 2016.

Days before the deadline, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), expressed concerns during a hearing on Days before the deadline, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), expressed concerns during a hearing on AB 1383 that some unscrupulous employers could use the preference afforded by the bill to discriminate against protected classes in California. Unfortunately, with such a short timeline available to reach consensus, final language to address her concerns was not agreed upon before the committee deadline. Thus, SHRM and CalSHRM will continue to work closely with Jackson and her staff to craft language that would protect against discrimination and protect employers from unwarranted litigation. All stakeholders have agreed to continue to finalize the language and take up the bill again early next year when the Legislature returns for the second year of the session.

Throughout the legislative process, SHRM has been actively involved in the advocacy efforts on AB 1383. SHRM’s lobbyist in Sacramento, Jason Gabhart, has met directly with legislators and staff advocating for the bill’s passage. In addition, California members of SHRM’s Advocacy Team were mobilized to help move the bill out of the Assembly on a unanimous and bipartisan vote. CalSHRM leaders also testified before both the Assembly Committee on Labor & Employment and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A number of other bills that CalSHRM and SHRM are following did pass out of their committees and will be heard in the fiscal committee in the near future. These include:

  • SB 406, which will expand the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and redefine “employer” to include any person employing 25 or more persons, instead of the current number of employees, which is 50. CalSHRM and SHRM are opposed to this bill and will continue to work with stakeholders throughout the legislative process.
  • SB 358, which prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility and when performed under similar working conditions.
  • AB 1017, which prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information from an applicant for employment and from releasing the salary history of any current or former employee without written authorization from that individual.
  • AB 622, which prohibits an employer from using the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of an existing employee or an applicant who has not received an offer of employment, except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds.
  • AB 1506, which amends the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) to allow employers an opportunity to appropriately address two wage statement violations (as to employer name and pay period dates) before being subjected to potentially costly civil actions. CalSHRM supports this bill.
In other news, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and California Attorney Kamala Harris have teamed up to combat minimum wage and overtime violations, as well as misclassification of employees as independent contractors in California. The memorandum of understanding was signed on July 28 by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division and the Attorney General, and will last for three years. To read more about the memorandum of understanding, please click HERE.
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