The following legislation was recently passed in the state of California. As an employer, the information included in this post may apply to your business. It is every employer’s responsibility to verify that they are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Assembly Bill 933 (2023-2024)
Privileged Communications: Incident of Sexual Assault
On October 10th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 933 into law. The new law expands on existing law that makes certain publications and communications privileged and therefore protected from civil action, including complaints of sexual harassment by an employee, without malice, to an employer based on credible evidence. AB 933 includes among those privileged communications a communication made by an individual regarding an incident of sexual assault, harassment, or discrimination. The law also specifies the attorney’s fees and damages available to a prevailing defendant in any defamation action.
AB 933 takes effect on January 1st, 2024.
Assembly Bill 1355 (2023-2024)
Employment: Benefits: Electronic Notice and Documents
On September 30th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1355 into law. The new law acknowledges that the Earned Income Tax Credit Information Act requires an employer to notify all employees that they may be eligible for income tax filing assistance programs and antipoverty tax credits by handing certain documents directly to the employee or mailing documents to the employee twice annually. The law also authorizes the employer to provide the first notification via email if the employee affirmatively, and in writing or by electronic acknowledgment, opts into receipt of electronic statements or materials.
AB 1355 takes effect on January 1st, 2024.
Senate Bill 428 (2023-2024)
Temporary Restraining Orders and Protective Orders
On September 30th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 428 into law. The new law authorizes any employer whose employee has suffered harassment to seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction on behalf of the employee and other employees upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that, among other things, an employee has suffered harassment. It also requires an employer seeking such a temporary restraining order to provide the employee whose protection is sought the opportunity to decline to be named in the order, before the filing of the petition.
SB 428 takes effect on January 1st, 2025.
Senate Bill 497 (2023-2024)
Protected Employee Conduct
On October 8th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 497 into law. This law acknowledges that existing law prohibits retaliation against an employee for various reasons. It also establishes that in addition to other remedies, an employer is liable for a civil penalty not exceeding a specified amount per employee for each violation to be awarded to the employee who was retaliated against.
SB 497 takes effect on January 1st, 2024.
Senate Bill 525 (2023-2024)
Minimum Wages: Health Care Workers
On October 13th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 525 into law. The law establishes a specified number of separate minimum wage schedules for covered health care employees, depending on the nature of the employer. It also requires, for specified covered health care facility employers with a specified number or more full-time equivalent employees, the minimum wage for covered health care employees to be a specified amount per hour. Finally, it also requires, for specified clinics that meet certain requirements, the minimum wage for covered health care employees to be a specified rate.
SB 525 takes effect on June 1st, 2024.
Senate Bill 553 (2023-2024)
Occupational Safety: Workplace Violence: Restraining
On September 30th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 553 into law. The law acknowledges the existing law that authorizes any employer, whose employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual that can reasonably be construed to be carried out or to have been carried out at the workplace, to seek a temporary restraining order and an order after hearing on behalf of the employee and other employees. The new law now authorizes a collective bargaining representative of an employee to seek a temporary restraining order and an order on behalf of the employee.
SB 553 takes effect on January 1st, 2025.
Senate Bill 616 (2023-2024)
Paid Sick Days Accrual and Use
On October 4th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 616 into law. This law relates to the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. It modifies the employer’s alternate sick leave accrual method to additionally require that an employee have specified hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the specified calendar day of employment or each calendar year. It also raises the employer’s authorized limitation on the use of carryover sick leave to specified hours in each year of employment.
SB 616 takes effect on January 1st, 2024.
Senate Bill 700 (2023-2024)
Employment Discrimination: Cannabis Use
On October 7th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 700 into law. The law states that information about a person’s prior cannabis use obtained from the person’s criminal history would be exempt from the existing law and bill provisions relating to prior cannabis use if the employer is permitted to consider or inquire about that information under a specified provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or other state or federal law.
SB 700 takes effect on January 1st, 2024.
Senate Bill 723 (2023-2024)
Employment: Rehiring and Retention: Displaced Workers
On October 10th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 723 into law. The law acknowledges that existing law requires an employer to offer its laid-off employees specified information about job positions that become available for which the laid-off employees are qualified, and to offer positions to those laid-off employees based on a preference system. The new law creates a presumption that a separation due to a lack of business, reduction in force, or other economic, nondisciplinary reason is due to a reason related to the COVID-19 pandemic, unless the employer establishes otherwise.
SB 723 took effect on October 10th, 2023.
Senate Bill 848 (2023-2024)
Employment: Leave for Reproductive Loss
On October 10th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 848 into law. The regulation makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to a specified number of days of reproductive loss leave following a reproductive loss event. It also makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to retaliate against an individual because of the individual’s exercise of the right to reproductive loss leave or the individual’s giving of information or testimony as to reproductive loss leave.
SB 848 takes effect on January 1st, 2024.
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