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A Couple of New California Employment Laws that Require Attention

Here are two recently signed laws that will go into effect 1/1/17.

California’s New Law Requires Cal/OSHA To Provide Copies of Citations Issued To Contractors to The Contractor’s State Licensing Board

On September 15, 2016, Governor Brown approved Senate Bill 465 which requires the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, after consultation with the California Contractors’ State Licensing Board, to transmit to the Board copies of any citations or other actions taken by the Division against a contractor.

San Francisco Amends Paid Parental Leave Law to Adapt to State Law Changes and to Clarify Requirements

On September 14, 2016, San Francisco amended its Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (PPLO). The law will go into effect on January 1, 2017 for employers with 50 or more employees.1 The law requires private employers to provide supplemental compensation to employees who use California paid family leave (PFL) benefits for new child bonding. The amendments both respond to changes the California Legislature made to the PFL benefits program and attempt to clarify an employer’s PPLO supplemental compensation obligations.

California Employers Must Provide Written Notice of Right to Take Domestic Violence Leave

On September 14, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2377 into law which expands the employer notice requirements regarding domestic violence employee protections provided by Labor Code section 230.1. Despite the protections under current law, many employees remain uninformed about their employment-related rights when it comes to domestic violence. This new bill requires employers of 25 or more to provide written notice to employees of their rights to take protected leave for domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Employers must inform each employee of his or her rights upon hire and at any time upon request. The Labor Commissioner must develop and post online a form that employers may use to satisfy these new notice requirements by July 1, 2017. An employer’s obligation to comply with these new disclosure requirements will become effective when the Labor Commissioner posts the new form.

The Early Bird Catches the Worm: Delaying Motion to Compel Arbitration Can Waive Right to Arbitration in California

On June 16, 2016, a California Court of Appeal, in an unpublished decision, issued yet another ruling applying the doctrine of waiver to arbitration agreements in the employment litigation context. In Ogannesian v. ICC Collision Centers, Inc., a defendant waited eight months after responding to a complaint before bringing its motion to compel arbitration. During those eight months, the court-determined trial date had been set and the defendant had participated in the discovery process by serving and responding to written discovery. The court of appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision that the defendant had waived its right to compel arbitration by waiting eight months to file a motion.

Avoid These Common Mistakes in Classifying Workers

The Department of Labor (DOL) has made it clear. Regardless of the reason, classification errors can be costly for employers, as the error often affects a number of employees having similar job titles and therefore lends itself to class treatment of the claim. Furthermore, if you are on the unlucky end of a DOL audit, you will likely be stuck paying payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, overtime, as well as a host of fines, fees and other costs.

TIP POOLING BECOMES MORE COMPLEX

The American custom of tipping wait staff can lead to wage-hour compliance issues under California and federal law. Because of tips, wait staff may be among the highest compensated employees in a restaurant, sometimes earning more than their managers. Meanwhile, cooks who prepare the food typically earn only a fixed wage, and dishwashers may work for minimum wage. Yet, each of these employees contributes to the customer’s dining experience.

Farmworkers’ “Phase-In” Overtime Bill Officially Sprouts

Much like the agricultural harvest cycles it may affect, September 12, 2016, marks the planting season for the Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016.

California Agricultural Industry Wage Pains Not Just A Phase

On September 12, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016 (AB 1066) into law, providing more stringent overtime protections for agricultural workers. California law currently requires that employers only pay agricultural workers overtime when they work more than 10 hours in a day, but under the new law, sponsored by the United Farm Workers’ union, employer compensation obligations will increase considerably.

San Diego Issues Required Postings, Acknowledgement Form under Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance

The City of San Diego’s Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect on July 11, 2016. Beginning October 1, 2016, employers must post two new notices in the workplace and give employees and new hires a notice containing certain employer information. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in significant civil penalties.