The California Legislature has returned from its summer recess, with a fairly large number of employment bills to consider before the August 31st deadline. Although the majority of bills introduced in 2014 remain pending, the Legislature hit the ground running passing several bills on to California Governor Jerry Brown who has either vetoed or signed them into law.
One such example of a bill signed into law during this session is Assembly Bill 2743. On August 19, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2743 amending California Labor Code §203 to correct a previous prohibition against theatrical and concert-venue employees from pursuing liquidated damages against employers who fail to pay them.
The law covering theatrical employees allows unionized, regular short-term theatrical, and concert-venue employees to pursue liquidated damages against employers who fail to pay them their wages after discharge. Prior to the amendment, those employees who were enrolled in a system of regular, short-term employment were exempt from rules requiring payment of wages immediately upon discharge.
The theatrical workers appeared to be the only group of private employees excluded from pursuing liquidated damages when they were not paid immediately after discharge. Their exclusion is considered an inadvertent error made when lawmakers amended the Labor Code in 2006 through Senate Bill 1719.
Governor Brown also signed Assembly Bill 2074 which amended Labor Code § 1190.2 to provide that a claim for liquidated damages arising out of an employer’s failure to pay minimum wages carries a three-year statute of limitations. For a more detailed discussion of this bill on our blog, click here.
Both bills, which go into effect on January 1, 2015, expand the protections on the rights of employees who sue their employers for violations of minimum wage laws.