New 2016 Employment Laws


Phillip Griego & AssociatesEMPLOYMENT ADVISORY: NEW LAWS FOR 2015

Once again the California legislature and courts have been extremely busy trying to provide additional protections for employees. This year, we've also seen a number of citywide ordinances that will impact the wages and benefits companies provide their employees. Employers need to be aware of the changes, so they can modify their policies to comply with state, federal and local laws.

The following is a quick summary of the most significant changes in the law impacting California businesses.

Professional sports teams have an obligation to make sure cheerleaders are classified as employees. AB 202

AB 215 places a limit on how much a Local agency can pay contract employees to buy them out of their contracts.

Public works require payment of the prevailing wage. Public works now defined to include concrete delivery.

State employees may now receive travel reimbursements for short-term rentals and on line private driver services. AB 229

Grocery Employees. Upon a change in ownership of a grocery establishment AB 359 requires the incumbent grocery employer to prepare a list of eligible grocery workers for a successor grocery employer, and would require the successor grocery employer to hire from this list during a 90-day transition period. The bill requires the successor grocery employer to retain those employees 90 days. The new employer cannot fire those workers without cause for 90 days. At the end of 90 days the new employer require the successor grocery employer to consider offering continued employment to those workers. The legislature has committed to amend this bill to exempt grocery business who have ceased operations for at least six months. This was accomplished in AB 897.

This bill would provide school employees taking pregnancy leave an additional 12 weeks of differential pay between their full pay and the amount paid for substitute teachers over and above the same benefit for ordinary sick leave. AB 375

This bill would establish the Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program pursuant to which, notwithstanding any law, a motor carrier performing drayage services may be relieved of liability for statutory or civil penalties associated with misclassification of commercial drivers as independent contractors if the motor carrier enters into a settlement agreement with the Labor Commissioner, with the cooperation and consent of the Employment Development Department, prior to January 1, 2017, whereby the motor carrier agrees to convert all of its commercial drivers to employees. AB 621

This bill prohibits an employer or any other person from using the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of an existing employee or an applicant unless they have been offered employment except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds. The employer must provide employee any notification issued by the Social Security Administration or the United States Department of Homeland Security containing information specific to the employee’s E-Verify case or any tentative nonconfirmation notice. Each violation carries a civil penalty of $10,000. AB 622

This bill provides that a person shall not be excluded from receiving benefits under the Uninsured Employers Fund or the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund based on his or her citizenship or immigration status. SB 623

For the purposes of an action for gender violation this bill incorporates the definition of “gender” contained in the Unruh Rights Act: gender, includes a person’s gender identity and gender expression. AB 830

This bill expand the definition of “public works,” for the purposes of provisions relating to the prevailing rate of per diem wages, to include any construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work done under private contract on a project for a general acute care hospital. AB 852

This bill authorizes the Labor Commissioner to investigate and, upon a request from the local entity, to enforce local laws regarding overtime hours or minimum wage provisions and to issue citations and penalties for violations, except when the local entity has already issued a citation for the same violation. AB 970

This bill prohibits an employer from retaliating or otherwise discriminating against a person for requesting accommodation of his or her disability or religious beliefs, regardless of whether the accommodation request was granted. AB 987

This bill would provide that a transportation network company is eligible and required to participate in the Department of Motor Vehicles’ pull-notice system to regularly check the driving records of a participating driver regardless of whether the participating driver is an employee or an independent contractor of the transportation network company. AB 1422

Public Attorney Generals Act (PAGA) This bill would provide an employer with the right to cure a violation of the requirement that an employer provide its employees with the inclusive dates of the pay period and the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer before an employee may bring a civil action under the act. The bill would provide that a violation of that requirement shall only be considered cured upon a showing that the employer has provided a fully compliant, itemized wage statement to each aggrieved employee, as specified. The bill would limit the employer’s right to cure with respect to alleged violations of these provisions to once in a 12-month period. AB 1506

AB 1509 This bill would extend the protections against retaliation for making bone fide complaints of discrimination and other prohibited conduct to an employee who is a family member of a person who engaged in, or was perceived to engage in, the protected conduct.

AB 1513 This bill repeals obsolete provisions of workers’ compensation law provides piece-rate compensation calculations.

This bill would enact the California Wounded Warriors Transitional Leave Act. The bill would grant a state officer or employee who is a military veteran hired on or after January 1, 2016, with a military service-connected disability rated at 30% or more by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs an additional credit for sick leave with pay of up to 96 hours for the purpose of undergoing medical treatment for his or her military service-related disability. The bill would require that the sick leave be credited to a qualifying officer or employee on the first day of employment and remain available for use for the following 12 months of employment. The bill would prohibit this sick leave from being carried over after the 12-month period. SB 221

SB 358 The bill would prohibit an employer from prohibiting an employee from disclosing the employee’s own wages, discussing the wages of others, inquiring about another employee’s wages, or aiding or encouraging any other employee to exercise his or her rights under these provisions.

Garnishment Orders This bill reduces the amount of an individual judgment debtor’s weekly disposable earnings subject to levy under an earnings withholding order from exceeding the lesser of 25% of the individual’s weekly disposable earnings or 50% of the amount by which the individual’s disposable earnings for the week exceed 40 times the state minimum hourly wage, or applicable local minimum hourly wage, if higher, in effect at the time the earnings are payable. SB 501

This bill grants the Labor Commissioner to enforce judgments for unpaid wages, levy on property belonging to the judgment debtor, and makes agents acting on behalf of the employer liable as an employer for violations of the wage and hour laws. SB 588

Disability Waiting Period This bill, beginning July 1, 2016, waives the current 7-day waiting period for an individual who has already served the 7-day waiting period for a previous claim when that person files a subsequent claim for disability benefits for the same or a related condition within 60 days after the initial disability benefit period. SB 667

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