Six New California Workplace Laws Expand Protection from Harassment and Discrimination

The state of California is implementing several new workplace laws.

The California Chamber of Commerce published a list November 13 detailing what these provisions entail.

One category, however, is targeting areas related to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation problems in the workplace.  . 

Here are six new laws California workers can look forward to soon:

1. Assembly Bill 1660- Non-discrimination: Driver’s License for Undocumented Persons:

Employees are not required to present a license to their employer unless it’s mandatory by state law and the employer is permitted to conduct such actions. If an employer asks for driver’s license information, they are expected to keep it confidential.

Additionally, under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it’s a violation for employers to discriminate against a worker who carries a driver’s license for an undocumented person—especially if it proves his identity and residency. Any inquires about a driver’s license has to be in compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

2. Assembly Bill 2751- Immigration-Related Protections:

AB 2751 aims to vanquish any unfair practices against immigrant workers. This includes reporting false reports or threatening to file a complaint with a local or federal agency. Police reports are the only exclusions.

3. Assembly Bill 1792- Prohibition of Discrimination Against Public Assistance Recipients:

Any retaliation done to employees receiving public assistance from Medi-Cal is forbidden. California’s local agencies are also require to submit a list once a year detailing the top 500 businesses that employ the highest number of public assistance recipients.

4. Assembly Bill 1443- Protections for Unpaid Interns and Volunteers:

Under AB 1443, it protects unpaid interns, apprentices, and volunteers from on the job harassment and workplace discrimination. Individuals are also granted protection related to their religious beliefs and employers are expected to provide the necessary accommodations.  

5. Senate Bill 1087- Harassment Prevention Training for Farm Labor Contractors:

Farm labour contractors will soon be denied working license for any behavior mirroring sexual harassment. The bill requires contractors to enroll in a sexual harassment training class once a year, in accordance to a three-year commitment. This also includes supervisors and other superiors on the job.

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License restrictions will also be placed on farm labour contractors who manipulate the system by increasing the license fees or tampers with the examination requirements.

6. Assembly Bill 2053- Harassment Prevention Training for Prevention of Abusive Conduct:

Employers, who are required to abide by sexual harassment prevention training, will also have to include an “abusive conduct” prevention component.

Other additional laws also involve adjustments to leave of absence, wage-and-hour obligations, and workplace safety protection. 

Here are a few examples of these impending provisions:

  • Labor contractors will now face legal liability if they, a) fail to properly compensate contractors for their work, and b) violate wage-and-hour obligations by using staffing agencies to find and hire work. 
  • Starting July 1, 2015, employers will be required to provide paid sick leave to employees who have worked in California at least 30 days “at an accrual rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.”
  • Employers will no longer have to use a telephone or telegraph to submit work-related injury reports. They will now have the option to use email instead when sending reports to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

All business will be expected to abide by most of these regulations starting January 1, 2015.  

Image Source: Wikipedia: California State Legislature 




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