California Legislative Session – “It’s a Wrap!”

California’s 2012 legislative session has come to an end.  Want to know how passed bills affect you as an employer? Compliance Poster Company’s Legal Research Team has the answers.  All bills are effective January 1, 2013, unless otherwise specified.

Religion and Reasonable Accommodation – (CA AB 1964). This landmark bill clarifies and strengthens existing law by creating the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012. It prohibits employers from discriminating against employees for religious dress practice or grooming practice as a belief or observance. It also prohibits employers from segregating employees.

Employers:

  • It is likely that this bill will result in changes to the CA “Discrimination and Harassment in Employment are Prohibited by Law” posting, included on our CA All-On-One poster.
  • Update handbook, procedures, and policies including uniforms, to ensure full compliance with the law.

Sex Discrimination and Breastfeeding – (CA AB 2386). This bill expands the scope of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. It adds breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding to the statutory definition of “sex”.

Employers:

  • It is highly likely the expansion of the definition will be added to the CA “Discrimination and Harassment in Employment are Prohibited by Law” poster.  We’ll take care of you there with our updated CA All-On-One poster.
  • Remember that under California Labor Code Section 1030-1033 employers are required to provide reasonable break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk. Inform employees of their rights under this law by posting the “California We Support Breastfeeding” poster.
  • Update policies and procedures, including the handbook to ensure full compliance with the law.

Itemized Wage Statements/Temporary Agency Employers – (CA AB 1744 & CA SB 1255). Temporary staffing employers must disclose the name, physical address of the main office, mailing address if different from the physical address of the main office, and telephone number of the legal entity for whom the employee will perform work. Starting July 1, 2013 temporary agency employers must also include itemized statements that include the rate of pay and total hours worked for each assignment.

Employers:

  • Evaluate the substance and format of wage statements.
  • Evaluate programs/systems used to generate wage statements.

Employment Records & Right to Inspect – (CA AB 2674). This bill relates to inspections and retention of personnel records. It requires, among other things that an employer maintain personnel records for at least 3 years and to provide a current or former employee, or a representative, an opportunity to inspect and receive a copy of those records no later than 21 calendar days after the request, except during a pending lawsuit related to a personnel matter. Finally the bill provides an employer is not required to comply with more than 50 requests. Employees with collective bargaining agreements are exempt.

Employers:

  • It is possible this bill will result in changes to the California Industrial Wage Orders (IWC’s).
  • Identify procedures designed to handle requests for personnel records, including the channel of command.
  • Review policies and procedures for retention of personnel records.

Employment/Wages & Hours – (CA AB 2103). This bill amends existing law which established an 8-hour work day and a 40-hour workweek. It requires that nonexempt employees paid on a salary basis be paid overtime above and beyond salary. Payment of a fixed salary to a nonexempt employee is deemed to provide compensation only for the employee’s regular, non-overtime hours.

Employers:

  • It is possible this bill will result in changes to the California Industrial Wage Orders (IWC’s).
  • Examine method of calculating overtime for employees who are salaried or nonexempt.

Social Media & Personal Passwords – (CA AB 1844). This bill prohibits employers from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant to give a username or password to access personal types of social media. It also prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, or threatening to discharge, discipline, or retaliate against an employee or applicant for non compliance with a request or demand.

Employers:

  • Should review and update any social media policy. If you don’t have a social media policy, create one.

Commission Agreements – (CA AB 2675). When an employer enters into a contract of employment with an employee for services to be rendered within this state and the method of payment involves commissions, the contract must be in writing with specified commission details, how they are computed and paid. This bill exempts temporary, variable incentive payments that increase, but do not decrease.

Employers:

  • Should review commission contracts.

Welfare and Institutions Code, Relating to Mental Health – (CA AB 2399). This bill requires state hospitals to update their injury and illness prevention plans at least once every year and establish an injury and illness prevention committee. The committee must meet at least 4 times a year to recommend to the hospital’s director updates to the injury and illness prevention plan. The bill also requires each state hospital to develop an incident reporting procedure of patient assaults on employees and assist the hospital in identifying risks of patient assaults on employees.

Employers:

  • Must review their Injury Illness Prevention Plans.
  • Must establish injury and illness prevention committees.
  • Committees must meet at least 4 times a year.
  • Develop incident reporting procedure.

Food-Related Health and Safety – (CA AB 1427). This bill amends the Health and Safety Code allowing for manual sanitization in the final sanitizing rinse for utensils.

Employers:

  • Must review their sanitizing policies and procedures.
  • Must train workers on the changes to law.
  • Compliance Poster Company has a full line of restaurant “Food Safety Sense” posters which are undergoing updates to reflect the change in law.

Workers’ Compensation – (CA SB 863). This bill makes wide-ranging changes to the workers’ compensation system, including increased benefits to injured workers.

Employers:

  • We anticipate changes to the CA W.C. posting which is included on the CPC California All-On-One poster.
  • Visit the CA Department of Industrial Relations web page devoted to the sweeping changes at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/SB863/SB863.htm

CPC’s Legal Research Department will keep you posted as we approach the end of the year and these bills become effective.

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