Ring in the new year by preparing your business for new California workplace laws! The past year has had human resource professionals scrambling to keep up. The California Legislature passed several laws that will affect California employers. Our employment law attorneys have listed “22 for 2022” new employment laws that you need to know about as we head into the new year. Hold on to your seats!
SB 93: Rehiring and Retention Law
SB 93 requires that employers in certain industries, particularly the hospitality industry, make written job offers to employees whom they laid off because of COVID-19. Employees have five business days to respond, and employers must keep records for three years.
AB 1003: Wage theft
AB 1003 makes intentional theft of wages in an amount greater than $950 from any one employee or $2350 in from 2 or more employees in any consecutive 12-month period punishable as grand theft, which is punishable either as a misdemeanor or felony. Examples of wage theft include being paid less than minimum wage per hour, not being allowed to take meal and rest breaks, owners or mangers taking tips, bounced checks, to name a few.
AB 1033: Expansion for CFRA Leave to Include Parents-in-Law
Employers must grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected time off from work annually for the purposes of providing care to a parent-in-law with a serious medical condition under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
AB 685: Noticing Requirements
AB 685 establishes employer reporting and noticing requirements upon notice of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at the workplace. If an employer receives a notice of a potential exposure to COVID-19, the employer must, within one business day, provide written notice to all employees and the employers of subcontracted employees that were on the premises at the same worksite, provide information regarding benefits, and notify all employees of the disinfection and safety plan.
AB 654: Employer Reporting Requirements Revised
AB 654 expands the types of employers who are exempt from COVID-19 outbreak reporting requirements. Employers such as community clinics, adult day health centers, community care facilities, and child daycare facilities are exempt from COVID-19 outbreak reporting required under AB 685.
AB 2537 and SB 275: PPE Requirement
AB 2537 and SB 275 requires that employers provide certain employees (those working in hospitals) with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and maintain a three-month stockpile and provide inventory information to Cal/OSHA upon request.
SB 331: Limits NDAs and Settlement Agreement Terms in Employment Cases
SB 331 further limits the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and settlement agreement terms when settling employment legal claims involving harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.
SB 1159: COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation
SB 1159 expands access to workers’ compensation so that first responders, health care workers and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work get support, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. Employers are required to notify their insurance carriers and/or third-party administrators, in writing, of all known employee COVID-19 positive cases, whether the case is work-related or not, within 3 business days.
SB 807: Personnel Records Retention
SB 807 extends the current personnel records retention requirement to 4 years.
SB 1383: California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Expanded to Cover Businesses with Five or More Employees
SB 1383 expands CFRA to employers with five or more employees and expands the scope of “family members” for whom employees take leave to include many additional categories. The new law replaces the new Parent Leave Act. The new law allows for the ability to care for a “family member” with a serious health condition: Family members expanded to include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and domestic partners. The definition of “child” is expanded to include adult children.
AB 2399: Paid Family Leave for Active Military Duty
AB 2399 extends the definition of Paid Family Leave under the state’s Unemployment Insurance Code to include coverage for active military members and their families. It provides wage replacement benefits for employees to take time off to care for a seriously ill family member.
AB 2043: Occupational Safety and Health, Agricultural Employers and Employees
AB 2043 requires employers to disseminate information of best practices for COVID-19 infection prevention to agricultural employees, in both English and Spanish. It also requires that Cal/OSHA work with employers and employees on outreach campaigns targeting agricultural employees. The law only applies during the state of emergency.
AB 1867: Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
AB 1867 expands supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19- related reasons for employers not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – employers with 500 or more employees, as well as health care providers and first responders.
Vaquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. (Cal. Sup. Court, Jan. 14, 2021)
In the case of Vaquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., the California Supreme Court ruled that the independent contractor ABC test in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (Dynamex) applies retroactively to all cases “not yet final” as of the date of the Dynamex decision. A business that relied in good faith on Borello can now be liable for not following the ABC test before the Dynamex decision was ever issued.
AB 1512: Security Guard Rest Breaks
AB 1512 changes the law to provide that security guards may be required to remain on the premises during rest periods and to remain on call during the rest period.
AB 3075: Expansion of Successor Liability for Labor Code Judgements
AB 3075 provides that "[a] successor to a judgment debtor shall be liable for any wages, damages, and penalties owed to any of the judgment debtor's former workforce pursuant to a final judgement, after the time to appeal therefrom has expired and for which no appeal therefrom is pending." AB 3075 also adds new obligations for a company when submitting its statement of information with the California Secretary of State, to state whether "any member or any manager has an outstanding final judgment issued by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or a court of law, for which no appeal therefrom is pending, for the violation of any wage order or provision of the Labor Code."
Brown v. TGS Management Co., LLC (2020)
Brown v. TGS Management, LLC (2020) the California Court of Appeal decision holds that an employee confidentiality agreement may be voided as a de facto unlawful non-compete agreement if it has the effect of preventing the employee from working in the industry.
AB 1947: Complaints with DLSE
Effective date: January 1, 2021. This legislation extends the statute of limitations to file a complaint with the State of California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement from six months after the occurrence of the alleged violation(s) to within one year after the occurrence of the alleged violation(s).
SB 973: New Pay Data Reporting Obligations for Employers with 100 or More Employees
SB 973 requires employers with 100 or more employees and who are required under federal law to file an annual federal Employer Information Report (EEO-1) to submit an annual pay data report to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The report must include the number of employees and the hours they worked by race, ethnicity and gender in 10 federally identified job categories and whose annual earnings fall within the pay bands used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Occupational Employment Statistics survey. Since SB 973 was enacted on September 30, 2020, private emloyers with 100 or more employees must submit their pay data reports to the DFEH by March 31, 2021, and annually thereafter.
AB 2143 – Loosened Restrictions on “No Re-Hire” Provisions in Employment Settlement Agreements
AB 2143 requires that the aggrieved former employee must have filed the claim in good faith in order for the prohibition against “no-rehire” provisions apply. AB 2143 Expands this "no-rehire" exception to allow no-rehire provisions when the former employee engaged in any criminal conduct, rather than limiting the exception to sexual harassment or sexual assault. To qualify for the "good faith determination" exception, an employer's determination must have been made and documented before the aggrieved person filed the claim or complaint.
California Proposition 22 (Prop 22): Exempts App-Based Drivers from AB 5
Prop 22 allows app-based ride share and food delivery companies to treat workers as independent contractors, even though they do not qualify as such under the AB 5’s “ABC” Test. Workers are only independent contractors if the workers have freedom to determine dates and times of work, and the company does not restrict the driver from performing rideshare or delivery services for other companies.
There are several new laws that require employers of all sizes to update their employee handbooks. Employee handbook revisions should address remote work rules, COVID-19 specific workplace safety plans, expanded leave rights (CFRA), and changes to crime victims leave and organ and bone marrow donation. Contact our employment law attorneys at Schneiders & Associates for a review of your current handbook.
By: Christopher Correa, Esq.
This summary of new laws will be discussed on January 25, 2022 by Schneiders & Associates Partners Roy and Ted Schneider. Roy and Ted will present the 2022 Annual Employment Law Update – an in-depth discussion and further explanation of new laws, via Zoom. Please register for this free webinar at www.rstlegal.com. We hope to see you there to answer all your new employment law related questions!
Please note, this webinar is approved for one hour of MCLE credit.