As previously reported here, the California Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) has once again identified a handful of “job killer” bills moving through the legislative process. This year’s crop of legislative proposals are expected to, among other things, inflate employer data reporting requirements and further expand the reach of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Several of these recently introduced bills have already passed one of the two chambers of the California legislature and are now moving to a vote in the second chamber. These invoices include:

Communication and publication of data

  • SB 1162 (Limón; D-Goleta) Publication of payroll data – requires private employers with 100 or more employees to submit a wage data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) and imposes civil penalties on employers who fail to do so. SB 1162 also requires DFEH to post the salary data report on a public website. Additionally, SB 1162 requires employers with 15 or more employees to include the salary range for each position in all job postings.

Expansion of the FEHA

  • AB 2188 (Quirk; D-Hayward) Cannabis use and employment discrimination – makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, firing or any term or condition of employment, or to otherwise penalize a person, on the basis of cannabis use outside of work and at outside the workplace. AB 2188 includes a narrow exclusion for workers in the building and construction trades and makes clear that it does not prejudge any state or federal laws requiring employees to be tested for controlled substances. Additionally, AB 2188 prohibits the use of traditional (accurate) marijuana tests, such as urine and hair tests.

Labor relations

  • AB 2183 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley) Agricultural Labor Relations – modifies the methods of union election of agricultural employees by essentially abolishing the election by secret ballot and replacing it by the delivery of representation cards signed by more than 50% of the employees. AB 2183 also limits employers’ ability to challenge submitted ballots, requiring employers to post bond, and includes a presumption of retaliation if an employer sanctions, suspends, demotes, terminates, terminates, or takes adverse action against a worker during a labor organization’s ballot representation campaign.

states of emergency

  • SB 1044 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Emergency state – prohibits employers from taking or threatening to take adverse action against any employee for refusing to report or leave work “because the employee does not feel safe”. This bill does not apply to a limited group of employees, including first responders and others called upon to assist in an emergency response. SB 1044 also prohibits employers from limiting employee use of cell phones or other communication devices in such an instance, if the employee wishes to communicate about their safety, seek emergency assistance, or assess the situation. .

workers compensation

  • SB 213 (Cortese; D-San Jose) Compensation for work accidents Extension of the presumption of injury – creates a rebuttable presumption that infectious diseases (including COVID-19), cancer, musculoskeletal injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and respiratory diseases occurred outside of work for any employee of the hospital that provides direct patient care, increasing workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals. In addition, the bill extends these presumptions for specified periods after the termination of an employee’s employment.

We will continue to monitor the progress of these bills as they pass through the Legislature and/or are signed by the Governor.