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New Laws Regarding California Employers and Employees

There are several new laws and amendments currently under consideration by the Governor of California, as well as the legislature.

The Recorder reports that three bills, AB 267, AB 325, and AB 559, are currently sitting before the Governor Brown.

  • AB 267 prohibits “choice of law” or “forum selection” clauses in employment contracts if those clauses require the use of non-California law or litigation outside of California.
  • AB 325 would allow up to 3 days bereavement leave and would prohibit discrimination against employees who take time off for the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner.  A successful plaintiff could recover back wages and attorneys’ fees.
  • AB 559 would modify a rule denounced by the California Supreme Court (Chavez v. City of Los Angeles, 47 Cal.4th 970) granting courts the authority to limit attorneys’ fees awards when the case could have been brought in limited jurisdiction as opposed to unlimited jurisdiction.

The California Chamber of Commerce and other pro-employer entities oppose these bills, and in the past have successfully defeated similar bills while Schwarzenegger was in office.

Governor Brown has already signed into law the following bills affecting employers and employees in California:

  • AB 240 Compensation recovery actions: liquidated damages.
  • AB 587 Public works: volunteers.
  • SB 117 Public contracts: prohibitions: discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.
  • SB 374 Gambling control: key employee licenses.
  • SB 559  Discrimination: genetic information.
  • SB 609 Public Employment Relations Board: final orders.

Of course we can’t forget about AB 889 regarding domestic workers, which I’ve discussed before.

If you work or do business in California, especially if you do business on any public works projects, you should familiarize yourself with any new requirements applicable to your industry.

The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
95 South Market Street, Suite 520
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel. 408-293-6341
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.
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