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2014 New Employment Laws for California Employers

NEW EMPLOYMENT LAWS – 2014
The following is a summary of new laws for 2014 that affect California employers operations and policies. Unless otherwise indicated, all new legislation went into effect on January 1, 2014. Should you have any questions about these laws, or any other employment related matters, feel free to contact Stacy Henderson at (209) 599-5003 or shenderson@thtlaw.com.


1. WAGE AND HOUR
AB 10
Raises the minimum wage from $8.00 per hour to $9.00 on July 1, 2014 and $10.00 on January 1, 2016.

AB 241
Enacts the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which will expire on on January 1, 2017. This law requires people who hire in-home employees as “personal assistants” to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 9 in one day or 45 in one week.

SB 435
Mandates that employers not require employees to work during “recovery periods” as defined by OSHA.

AB 442
Expands the penalty issued by the Labor Commissioner for minimum wage violations to included liquidated damages to the employee.

AB 263
Imposes increased civil penalties for using the immigration law to retaliate against employees who exercise their written or oral rights under
Labor Code. Authorizes various penalties against employers who engage in unfair immigration-related practices.

AB 1386
Allows the Labor Commissioner to file a lien on employers’ real property.

SB 462
Eliminates the right of employers who prevail in wage and hour litigation to recover attorney’s fees unless the employer proves the action was pursued in “bad faith”.

SB 390
Creates a criminal penalty for an employer who fails to remit withholdings related to employee wages.

AB 1384
Creates a civil penalty for garment manufacturers for failure to display name, address and registration number at the front entrance of the premises.

AB 1387
Increases bond requirements for employers in the car wash industry, but exempts an employer if it has a CBA that meets criteria.

SB 168
Provides that a company that acquires a farm contractor business in some circumstances assumes the liability for wage violations by the predecessor company.

AB 1336; SB 54; SB 377; SB 776
A number of bills related to prevailing wages for employers who provide services or construction work for government/public entities to pay prevailing wage, which is significantly higher than minimum wage.

SB 54
Expands payment of prevailing wages to privately financed refinery construction projects.


2. DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION PROTECTIONS

AB 556
Adds “military and veteran status” to the list of classifications protected from employment discrimination under the FEHA.

SB 292
Clarifies that conduct which may constitute sexual harassment does not need to be motivated by sexual desire.

SB 496
Expands whistleblower protection to include reports alleging a violation of local rule or regulation. Also protects against retaliation by employers for employees who disclose or may disclose information.


3. IMMIGRANT PROTECTIONS

AB 163
Prohibits employers from engaging in unfair immigration-related practices.

SB 666
Calls for disbarment of an attorney who threatens to report a litigation witness to immigration authorities. Also allows the state to suspend or revoke an employers’ business license for threatening to report an employee’s immigration status.

AB 524
Clarifies that threatening to report immigration status may make a person guilty of criminal extortion.

AB 60
Allows a driver’s license to be issued to undocumented immigrants. This card is not an acceptable for Form I-9 verification. (This law does not take effect until January 1, 2015, or on the date the DMV’s director executes a specified declaration, whichever is sooner).


4. LEAVES AND BENEFITS

SB 288
Adds new protected time off for crime victims.

SB 400
Adds new protected time off and new requirements for accommodating victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and adds stalking victims to the protected class. Mandates employers to take reasonable safety precautions to protect victims.

AB 11
Requires an employer with 50(+) employees to provide a temporary leave of absence of up to 14 days per calendar year to employees who perform emergency duties as a volunteer firefighter, reserve peace officer or emergency rescue personnel to engage in fire, law enforcement or rescue training.

SB 770
Expands Paid Family Leave benefits to include time off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law. (This law does not take effect until July 1, 2014).
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San Francisco’s “Family-Friendly Workplace Ordinance” requires certain employers to consider employee requests for flexible or predictable work arrangements.


5. BACKGROUND CHECKS

AB 218
Limits circumstances in which public employers may ask about criminal convictions to when the agency determines the applicant meets the minimum qualifications for the position the person is applying for. (This law does not take effect until July 1, 2014).


6. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

AB 1309
Out of state professional athletes making workers’ compensation claims in California will have to prove they worked a good part of their career for California teams or spent 20% of professional time working in California.

AB 607
Relates to death benefits for dependent children.

AB 1376
Relates to language assistance and interpreters.

SB 146
Deals with medical treatment, billing and copies of prescription.

SB 809
Involves reporting of controlled substances.
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