New California Employment Laws to go into Effect in 2013

The California legislative season ended on September 30, with Governor Jerry Brown signing several new bills into law. While some of these new California employment laws break new ground, most of them extend or expand existing legislation. They go into effect on January 1, 2013. We will be highlighting these laws in greater detail in future posts. Below is a brief summary of eight new bills signed into law by the Governor:

  • AB 1844 – Social Media Password Restrictions. Prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for employment to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media, to access personal social media in the presence of the employer, or to divulge any personal social media.
  • AB 2103 – Wage and Hour Overtime Laws. Prohibits paying a salary to non-exempt employees that includes compensation for overtime hours (this law was designed to overturn a 2011 court decision).
  • AB 1964 – Protection of Religious Dress and Behavior. An extension of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), this bill includes religious dress or religious grooming practices as a belief or observance covered by the protections against religious discrimination. It specifies an accommodation of an individual’s religious dress or grooming practice that would require that person to be segregated from other employees is not considered a reasonable accommodation.
  • AB 2386 – Breastfeeding in the Workplace. This new law expands the definition of ‘sex’ under FEHA, which currently prohibits discriminatory practices relating to gender, pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth as protected under ‘Sex’. The new law includes breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding.
  • AB 2396 – Employment of infants in the entertainment industry. This bill extends the current law which restricts the employment of infants in the entertainment industry, by requiring the completion and submission of a medical certification and approval before a temporary permit for the employment of the infant may be issued.
  • AB 2674 – Inspection of Employee Files. Under this expansion of the existing law, both current and former employees must be granted access to their employee files, employers must develop and provide written request forms upon the verbal request of an employee to view their files, and employers must provide copies to the employee within 30 days of the request, or face a penalty.
  • SB 1193 – Human Trafficking. This bill will require specified employers to post a notice that contains information related to slavery and human trafficking in a conspicuous area, readily visible to employees and the public.
  • SB 1255 – Itemized Wage Statements. In addition to the information that is already required to be included on pay stubs, this new law requires that itemized wage statements issued by temporary staffing firms must include the rate of pay and total hours worked for each temp assignment.

For a glimmer of hope for employers, there were two employment-related bills that the Governor vetoed:

  • AB 889, which would have extended wage-and-hour protections to baby sitters, caregivers to the elderly and disabled, and other domestic workers.
  • AB 1450, which would have forbidden discrimination against the unemployed.

These are only a few of the changing rules for employers taking effect in 2013. Stay tuned as more details of these California labor laws are clarified in future posts.