The legislative session came to a close at midnight on September 1, 2010. California still does not have a budget and that suggests that there will be more activity (and perhaps a few deals cut); however some things are known. The farm labor overtime bill was vetoed by the Governor. The employment-related bills that have cleared both houses and are up for the Governor’s consideration are summarized below. We will continue to monitor and report on these developments.

AB 482:

Would create Labor Code Section 1024.5; declaring that an employer shall not use a consumer credit report for employment purposes unless “the information contained in the report is substantially job-related, meaning that the position of the person on whom the report is sought has access to money, other assets, trade secrets, or other confidential information.” There is an exception permitting continued use of such reports for managerial positions.

AB 569:

Would amend Labor Code Section 510 on meal periods for specific industries provided the employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, however, this is essentially the same legislation the Governor has vetoed in prior years.

AB 677:

Revises the definition of “public works” for prevailing wage purposes to include construction, alteration, demolition, installation, and repair work done under private contract when specified conditions are met; including the requirement that the work is either a) performed in connection with the construction or maintenance of renewable energy generation capacity, b) located on property wholly or partially owned by a school district or community college district, or c) on public property deemed to serve a school district or community college district.

AB 1881:

Changes the liquidated damages imposed for failure to pay minimum wages when due from one times the underpaid amount, to two times the underpaid amount. Thus, if an employer underpaid the minimum wages by $1,000 the liquidated damage amount assessed would be an additional $2,000.

AB 2032:

Would add Labor Code Section 1308.10; adjusting the existing requirement for a permit from the Labor Commissioner for all minors employed in the entertainment industry, and authorizing the Commissioner to impose a permit fee up to $50.

AB 2187:

Would add Labor Code Section 1199.6; imposing criminal penalties and civil restitution obligations for an employer who fails to pay wages due within 90 days of resignation or termination. This would be in addition to other waiting-time penalties.

AB 2340:

Would add Labor Code Section 230.5; prohibiting employers from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against employees inquiring about, requesting, or taking up to three days of bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner.

AB 2468:

Would add Labor Code Section 1034 as follows:

(a) An employer may use the designation “Breast-Feeding Mother-Friendly Workplace” on its promotional materials if the employer submits its workplace breast-feeding policy to the Labor Commissioner and the Commissioner determines that the policy provides for all of the following:

(1) Flexible work scheduling, including scheduling breaks and permitting work patterns that provide time for expression of breast milk;

(2) A convenient, sanitary, safe, and private location, other than a toilet stall, allowing privacy for breast-feeding or expressing breast milk;

(3) A convenient, clean, and safe water source with facilities for washing hands and rinsing breast-pumping equipment located in or near the private location specified in paragraph (2); and

(4) A convenient hygienic refrigerator in the workplace for the temporary storage of breast milk.

(b) The Labor Commissioner shall maintain a list of employers who are eligible to use the “Breast-Feeding Mother-Friendly Workplace” designation and shall publish that list on the Department’s website.

AB 2774:

Would make some significant changes in the way Cal-OSHA issues citations and classifies such citations for penalty purposes. A separate alert on this topic is soon to follow.

SB 903:

Would add Labor Code Section 200.5; extends the statute of limitations for the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement to bring an action to collect a penalty or fee from one year, to three years.

SB 1230:

Would add Labor Code 2696 as follows:

(a) An employer shall, as soon as practicable, prepare and post in a conspicuous location frequented by employees a notice in substantially the following form:

“Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and California law. If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave – whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, or any other activity – call the numbers below to access help and services: Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or the California Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) at 1-888-KEY-2-FRE(EDOM) or 1-888-539-2373. The toll-free hotlines are:

Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Operated by nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations.

Anonymous and confidential.

Accessible in more than 160 languages.

Able to provide help, referral to services, training, and general information.

(b) The Labor Commissioner shall determine in what languages the notice required by subdivision (a) shall be provided and shall make the notice available the on the Department of Industrial Relations’ website or by any other means the Labor Commissioner deems appropriate. The Labor Commissioner is not otherwise required to produce or distribute the notice.

SB 1304:

Would add Labor Code Sections 1508-1512; requiring private employers to grant 30 days paid leave for employee organ donors and 5 days paid leave for employees who donate bone marrow. If the employee had accrued but unused vacation or other leave the employer can charge the five days of bone marrow transplant leave and up to two weeks of sick or vacation for organ transplant leave.

SB 1370:

Would amend Labor Code 2751; and require that all employees paid on a commissioned basis be engaged pursuant to a written contract.