California has a number of new laws looming on the horizon many of which will have another huge impact on California businesses. One has to wonder if the California Legislatures simply do not care about the enormous pressures employers are faced with on a daily basis. And let me be clear, not just about surviving as a business from a sales perspective, I am referencing the managing of their employees with the ever threatening “I will sue you” mentality! The more regulations that are mounted against employers, the more opportunity employees will have to drag their current or former employer into court. Enough said. Let’s take a look at a few of these and next week I will add a few more. Yes, there are more!
Senate Bill 655 is all honesty is not bad for employers. It seeks to codify the Holding in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, which clarified the application of the “mixed motive” defense in discrimination cases. Basically, the new law actually limits the remedies available where an employer can prove that the same adverse action employment action would have occurred for a lawful reason even if the employee proves that a protected characteristic was a substantial factor in the employer’s decision.
Senate Bill 390 would amend the Labor Code (Section 227) to allow the Labor Commissioner to pursue criminal prosecution and fines in connection with an employer’s failure to remit payroll taxes to the proper agency.
Senate Bill 400 would amend the Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA) by adding victims of stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence as protected categories. As amended, FEHA would prohibit any adverse actions by the employer because of the employee’s status as a victim and will require the employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for the employee/victim.
Senate Bill 435 would amend Labor Code Section 226.7 to provide rest breaks to piece-rate workers. Such pay will be based on the average piece –rate wage. The bill authorizes any piece-rate worker to file a civil action or a claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) to recover any unpaid piece-rate wage for each rest period which an employer failed to provide consistent with existing law. The bill excludes workers whose rest periods are expressly covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Senate Bill 390 would amend Labor Code to expand employer liability in connection with the use of independent contractors. Specifically, the bill will allow for employers to be liable for any damages caused by independent contractors to third parties, including wage & hour violations, penalties and fines, where the independent contractor utilized by the employer wore uniforms similar to the employer or used the employer’s logo at the time the injury or damage occurred.
More to come!