A Plethora of New Labor Laws for 2012

January 17th, 2012 by Nina Yablok Business & Law No responses

It’s not a big surprise that Governor Brown’s administration has passed a whole slew of labor laws.  Employers in California will have to comply with these new laws starting January 1, 2012 in most cases.  The following is the briefest of summaries of the laws most likely to impact small California employers.  If you have any questions, please see your attorney or contact me.

AB 469 requires that all private employer give non-exempt (hourly) employees written notice that includes:

  • The rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, whether paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or otherwise, including any rates for overtime, as applicable.
  • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage,including meal or lodging allowances.
  • The regular payday designated by the employer
  • The name of the employer, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer.
  • The physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address, if different.
  • The telephone number of the employer.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
  • Any other information the Labor Commissioner deems material and necessary.

The Labor Commissioner’s office has a template which is available here

AB 22 : This law prohibits most employers/prospective employers from obtaining a consumer credit report about an applicant/employee, for employment purposes, unless the position of the applicant/employee is a management position or one meeting an assortment of specific criteria mostly involving being in a position of handling personal information or money.

AB 1236  Confirms that E-Verify which is used to verify that employees are authorized to work in the US is voluntary as far as California goes.

AB 1401 Changes the enforcement of the laws concerning child employment in the entertainment industry.

SB 559 brings California law into compliance with Federal law in prohibiting discrimination in housing or employment based on “genetic testing.” In other words you can’t discriminate because you know someone was tested for predisposition to certain diseases.

AB 887 adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” to protected categories housing and employment purposes.  This effectively requires that an employer allow an employee to dress consistently with the employee’s gender identity.

SB 757 requires employers provide equal benefits for employees’ same sex spouses or registered domestic partners as they do for married employees and SB 117 applies this to most California government contractors whether they are California employers or not.

SB 299 requires that employers continue to maintain health benefits for employees who are out on maternity and pregnancy related leaves at the same level as if the employee were not on leave.

SB 1304 require employers with more than 15 employees provide paid leave for the purpose of being a organ or bone marrow donor.

AB 592 prevents employers from “interfering with, restraining or denying an employee’s right to family leave in addition to “refusing” family leave. In other words, if someone is entitled to take family leave you can’t make it difficult for them to do so.

SB 459 prohibits a “pattern and practice” of “willfully misclassifying” employees as independent contractors.  As many of you know this is a pet peeve of mine, and I find the chilling effect these laws have on the legitimate use of ICs to be dangerous for a thriving business economy. Having climbed on and off my soap box, the penalties under SB 459 range from $5,000 to $25,000.  This also makes advising someone to misclassify workers liable along with the employer.

And since the soap box is here anyway, even Lexis-Nexis which does not normally editorialize in it’s legal updates stated about SB 459 “This legislation is likely to have a chilling effect on the ability of businesses, especially small businesses, to retain the services of independent contractors.”

AB 240 give the Labor Commissioner broader authority to formulate awards in wage and hour claims than was previously allowed, specifically it allows for an award of liquidated damages where actual damages cannot be ascertained.

Union Activity – there was some new legislation but since it doesn’t apply to most of my clients I’m not going into it here.

Farm Labor – there was some new legislation but since it doesn’t apply to most of my clients I’m not going into it here.

Confused?  Well I’m a little overwhelmed by it all.  But I’m not confused so shoot me an email if you have any questions.

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