In California state lawmaking, the Governor has until October 1st every year to sign or veto new legislation. Typically, new laws come into effect on January 1 of the upcoming new year. Every year, legislators work on bills to ensure that workers have equal opportunities, access, and benefits and that businesses’ rights to due process and a fair commercial playing field are also protected.
At Valerian Law, we wait in hopeful anticipation that further protections in employment law are implemented, and we lend our voice to legislative advocacy efforts when our expertise is requested.
We provide this update as of August 24, 2022.
New and Exciting Bills Working Their Way Through California Legislature
The following pending bills, if passed, will break new ground in employee protection.
Pay Transparency for Pay Equity Act – SB 1162 (Senator Limón).
This bill would require employers with 250 or more employees to publicly report pay data broken down by race, ethnicity, and sex for both direct employees and employees hired through a third-party staffing agency. Additionally, this bill would require employers to provide a salary range on all job postings, and to make promotional opportunities available to current employees.
Caregiving for Chosen Family – AB 1041 (Assemblyperson Wicks).
This bill would expand the definition of “family member” for purposes of paid sick leave and family and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act, to allow workers to take time off to care for a “designated person.”
Bereavement Leave – AB 1949 (Assemblyperson Low).
This bill would amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act to require employers to grant an employee 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a family member.
Immigration Status Privacy Protection Being Restored
Immigration Status Protections – SB 836 (Senator Weiner).
This bill would reinstate the expired provision of law that protects a person’s immigration status from disclosure in public court proceedings. This protection, originally enacted in 2018, sunsetted at the beginning of this year. This is considered “urgency legislation” because it would restore safeguards immediately so that immigration status cannot be used to intimidate workers and thereby prevent them from asserting their rights.
Bills That Stalled This Time, But May Be Revisited in the Next Legislative Session
Family Caregiver Discrimination – AB 2182 (Assemblyperson Wicks).
This bill would prohibit discrimination against employees based on their family responsibilities and would ensure working families have access to reasonable accommodations to deal with unforeseen school and care closures. Specifically, this bill would add “family responsibilities” to the list of protected categories under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and would also provide employees with caregiving responsibilities with the right to reasonable accommodations to deal with unforeseen school or care closures under FEHA.
Workplace data and technology rights – AB 1651 (Assemblyperson Kalra).
This bill will establish a framework to help workers assert their rights regarding data collected about them, to curtail harmful electronic monitoring, to reduce the use of AI (artificial-intelligence-based) management, and to hold employers accountable for harms caused by this technology.
In the State Senate and the Assembly, the bills will go through the committee process and undergo amendments. Each committee votes whether to pass a bill onto the next step of the process, and some ultimately pass both houses of the California Legislature to land on the Governor’s desk. Some bills will pass through the legislative process, while others won’t. Stay tuned for updates on new employment legislation as we near the end of the 2021-2022 cycle.