Compliance Check List for California Employers-2 | DCR Workforce Blog

Compliance Check List for California Employers-2

california lawIn our previous post, Compliance Check List for California Employers – 1, we covered ten of the new employment-related bills enacted by California. Unless stated otherwise, these laws take effect on the 1st of January 2015. It is a ‘now or never’ situation for employers who want to stay compliant with state regulatory requirements and avoid the legal actions, penalties and other consequences for non-compliance.

In this blog, we review the remaining eleven laws which impact California’s employers:

  1. AB 326 allows an employer to report a serious work-related injury by email. Previously, the injury had to be reported by telephone or telegraph.
  2. SB 477 regulates the use of foreign labor contractors who recruit foreign workers for assignments in California. “Foreign labor contracting activity” is redefined to mean recruiting or soliciting for compensation a foreign worker who resides outside of the United States prior to that worker’s employment in California.
  • “Foreign labor contracting activity” does not include activities of an employer.
  • Contracting activity is solely meant to find and contract with workers for the employer’s own use.
  • A “Foreign labor contractor” is defined as any person or entity that performs foreign labor contracting activity.
  • These contractors need to register with the Labor Commissioner by July 1st, 2015 by paying a registration fee. They must post a surety bond, based on annual gross receipts, between $25000 and $150000.
  • Employers are forbidden to use foreign labor contractors not registered with the labor commissioner. Violations could invite civil actions and monetary penalties.
  1. SB 1034 repeals language in the Health and Safety Code that provides a different insurance waiting period inconsistent with the 90-day period authorized under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law also makes other conforming changes, including requiring the employer to notify an employee of the consequences of failing to enroll for coverage during an open enrollment period.
  2. AB 1897 imposes Joint Employer Liability for Wage and Hour Violations. Companies using the services of temporary staffing firms and other labor providers share civil legal liability in cases where the required wages are not paid in full or the worker is not provided valid workers’ compensation coverage.

However, the act exempts the following, from its purview:

  • Employers who employ less than 25 workers
  • Business entities with five or fewer workers provided by labor contractors at any given time
  • The State or any political subdivision of the state
  • Motor carriers of property, motor club services, cable providers, telephone corporations and motion picture payroll services

Other labor providers who are exempt from AB 1897 include non-profit, community-based organizations that provides services to workers, labor professional organizations, apprenticeship programs, a motion picture payroll services company, or third-party leasing company arrangements in which the company using the workers is contractually obligated to assume all of the civil legal responsibility and other liability that exists under the new law.

The law does not apply to workers who are exempt from the payment of overtime compensation. Before filing a civil action against the labor contractor’s customer, a worker or his or her representative must provide 30 days’ notice to the customer of the alleged violations. The new law prohibits the customer from taking any adverse action against a worker who has provided notification of violations or filed a claim or civil action.

  1. AB 2074 extends the powers of existing laws when collecting unpaid wages from employers. The law allows a claim for liquidated damages to be filed at any time prior to the expiration of the statute of limitation that applies to underlying action over unpaid wages.
  2. AB 2288 protects child labor as per the Labor Code. Penalties have increased to $25000 -$50000 for minors of age 12 or younger. The act also awards triple damages if an employee is discriminated against or an employer retaliates against anyone who alleges a child labor violation. The law allows claims related to the employment of minors to be accepted and applied retroactively until the worker reaches 18 years of age.
  3. AB 2743 is specific in its scope, as it applies to the final wages of Theatrical and Concert Event Venue Employees. If a discharged employee is not paid final wages at the time of discharge, a monetary penalty is applied for such late payments.
  4. AB 2617 amends the protections against discrimination and harassment based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability or medical condition afforded by the Civil Code.

Businesses are also expressly prohibited from requiring an individual to agree to arbitrate or to waive their rights to protection against discrimination as a condition of employment or basis for conducting business. Any such agreement, which is set as a pre-condition to a contract will be considered involuntary and cannot be enforced by any law.

  1. AB 2634 Protects against violation of civil rights and provides individual remedies against such actions which include a civil action for damages and injunctive relief against individuals or companies which interfere with workers’ civil rights.
  2. AB 1634 prohibits modifications to the penalties imposed for serious violators of safety and health unless they corrected the violation before an inspection was conducted and prior to the issuance of citations. Other actions warranting special consideration would be the submission of a signed statement and supporting evidence declaring that the violation had been abated within 10 working days. Failure to provide such a statement within 10 working days could result in the California division of Occupational Safety and Health to retroactively impose additional civil penalties on the employer followed by a re-inspection.
  3. AB 2494 provides judges and arbitrators with the authority to award monetary sanctions when litigants employ bad-faith litigation tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, when opposing actions without merit are introduced, or for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party. Monetary sanctions under this law are not available in connection with discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions. The law also sunsets by January 1, 2018.

Employers in California and businesses which operate from California have only a few weeks left to review and amend their existing policies. With such widespread changes, actions should be immediately taken to stay compliant with these new laws.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.