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In Part One of this article, we began discussing new laws that go into effect in California in 2020 that will impact employers and employees. Each year, there are numerous employment law changes, so we are continuing our overview here with additional laws that may apply to you come January 1, 2020. For information about a specific situation, please schedule a consultation directly with our California employment law attorneys at Mara Law Firm.

Assembly Bill 51 and Senate Bill 707 – Both of these new laws involve arbitration between employers and employees regarding legal conflicts. Employers generally prefer arbitration to litigation and, therefore, have often tried to compel employees into signing arbitration agreements that waive their rights to litigation as a term of employment.

However, the law is trending against mandatory arbitration agreements for employees, and when AB 51 goes into effect on January 1, employers will be prohibited from requiring applicants or employees to automatically waive their rights or procedures under California labor and employment laws as a condition of employment or benefits. An employer will not be able to threaten your employment if you refuse to agree to mandatory arbitration.

SB 707 also involves employment arbitration. This new law states that if an employer fails to pay arbitration fees and costs within 30 days of the date they are due, the employer then breaches the arbitration agreement. A breach means the employer gives up its right to compel an employee to arbitrate a matter. In this situation, an employee could withdraw from arbitration and file a claim in civil court.

Senate Bill 142 – This new law adds protections for mothers who are breastfeeding after returning to work. Employers will have to provide a separate room or location (other than a restroom) that meets the following requirements:

  • Not in public view
  • Is close to the employee’s workspace
  • Clean and safe with no hazardous exposure
  • Free from others intruding while the employee is expressing milk
  • Has electricity
  • Has a place to sit
  • Has a place for personal items and a breast pump

The employer also must provide a sink and a refrigerator that is close to the employee’s work area.

Employers also must have implemented lactation policies that inform employees of their right to request accommodations for expressing milk. Employers with 50 or fewer employees may be exempt from this law if they can show undue hardship if they comply. Nonexempt employers will face a $100 penalty each time they violate the new law.

Speak with a California Employment Law Attorney about a Possible Case Today

There are numerous other laws that affect the employment and labor law landscape in California in the coming year. If you believe your rights under any labor law have been violated, you should not wait to consult with the legal team at the Mara Law Firm. We are dedicated to helping employees like you, so please call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online for more information today.

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