As we have reported every year, the California Legislature likes to create more procedural hurdles for, and more potential claims against, employers.  2013 will be no exception.

AB 1396 & AB 2675 (Commission Agreements) AB 1396 requires all commission-based compensation be in writing.  And, it must specify how commissions will be calculated and paid, a copy must be given to the employee, and the employer must receive a signed receipt acknowledgement from the employee.  Also, the terms survive the agreement’s expiration and remain in effect unless the employee is no longer working under its terms or the commission agreement is superseded.  Under AB 2675, commissions do not include temporary, variable incentive payments “that increase, but do not decrease, payment under the written contract.”

AB 1844 (Social Media) Prohibits employers from requiring or asking an employee or job applicant to give up their e-mail or social media account usernames or passwords.  The law also bars employers from requiring the employee or applicant to access his or her personal social media in the employer’s presence and disclosing personal social media, unless reasonably believed to be relevant to the investigation of alleged misconduct or illegal conduct.

AB 1875 (Depositions) Depositions in employment lawsuits will be exempt from the seven-hour limit imposed upon depositions in other civil litigation.

AB 1964 (Religious Dress/Grooming)

As previously reported, religious garb and religious grooming will be protected practices under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  Segregating or hiding that observant employee will not be considered reasonable accommodation.

AB 2343 (Criminal Background) Any business or person who receives a “State Summary Criminal History” or subsequent arrest notification from the California Department of Justice, and uses that information for an adverse employment action, will have to expeditiously provide a copy of the information to the impacted employee.

AB 2386 (Breastfeeding) This law will expand the definition of “sex” under FEHA to include breastfeeding and related medical conditions.

AB 2675 (Personnel Records) Employers will be required to keep employee records for three (3) years following the end of employment.  And, within 30 days after receipt of a written request, the employer must give current and former employees an opportunity to inspect those employee records.  Violators are subject to a $750 penalty, injunctive relief, and liability for attorney’s fees.