June 11, 2024

Eyes on Sacramento

It is time to take stock of where we are with potential new employment-related laws now that we have passed the first major deadline in California’s legislative calendar. May 24 marked the deadline for pending legislation to pass out of the house of origin and continue through the legislative process.

Potential Employment Laws to Watch

We now have a better understanding of what bills might make their way to the governor’s desk, though there is still time for each bill’s language to be amended. A few of the bills we have been keeping our eyes on are the following:

  • AB 1870 Would expand the content of the required workplace postings to include information concerning an injured employee’s ability to consult a licensed attorney to advise them of their rights under workers’ compensation laws.
  • AB 2288 Would expand the available remedies under California’s Private Attorneys General Act to include injunctive relief.
  • AB 2299 Would require the Labor Commission to develop a model list of employees’ rights and responsibilities under the whistleblower laws that employers could use to satisfy their compliance obligations for posting such a list in the workplace.
  • AB 2374 Would expand the Displaced Janitor Opportunity Act, including by expanding its reach to anyone who employs janitors and contracts for janitorial or building maintenance services, as opposed to the current 25-employee threshold; and would expand the janitorial employees subject to the act by removing the 15-hours-per-week requirement.
  • AB 2499 Would revise and recast the jury, court, and victim time-off provisions for employees as unlawful employment practices within the Fair Employment and Housing Act by substantially revising existing provisions. This will result in broader protections, including referring to a “qualifying act of violence,” as defined, instead of crime or crime or abuse, and providing for leave if a family member is a victim of a qualifying act of violence.
  • SB 1466 Would prohibit a grocery or retail drug establishment, as defined, from providing a self-service checkout option for customers unless specified conditions are satisfied, including having no more than two self-service checkout stations monitored by any one employee and requiring the employee to be relieved of all other duties; and would require such establishments to notify employees, unions, and the public 60 days in advance of implementing any “consequential workplace technology,” as defined, that will impact, eliminate, or automate the core job functions of employees, including self-checkout robotics, wearable sensors, scanners, and electronic monitoring.

Employment Related Bills that Did Not Make the Cut

A few notable bills that failed to make it out of their house of origin include:

  • AB 2751 Would have required public and private employers to establish a workplace policy that provides employees the right to disconnect from the employer during non-working hours, i.e., employees could ignore non-emergency calls and communications during non-working hours.
  • SB 1345 Would have expanded the Fair Employment and Housing Act to, among other things, prohibit an employer from requiring as a condition of employment, that an applicant waive the applicant’s right to privacy in criminal history information or otherwise provide an authorization for the employer to obtain the applicant’s criminal history information under specified law, or from taking an adverse action based on the criminal history information, unless the employer can demonstrate a business necessity.

The next major date for the legislature is the Aug. 31 deadline for each house to pass bills and send them to the governor for consideration. Check back in September and October to see which bills will make their way to the governor’s desk and the governor’s response to each.