Each year, the California legislature passes a variety of laws, many of which pertain to employees and employers. This year, there are a handful of laws taking effect on January 1, 2020, and it is important for everyone in our state to understand how these laws will affect them. In Part One of this article, we will review a few key employment laws of which Californians should take note, and Part Two will review some additional laws. If you have any questions pertaining to your specific employment experience, please contact our California employment law attorneys directly.
Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension (SHARE) Act – California law already protects employees from harassment and discrimination based on a wide range of protected characteristics. Now, this amendment extends the- deadline for an employee to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) from one year (as previously enforced) to three years from the date of the harassment or discrimination.
Assembly Bill (AB) 673 – This passed bill provides the right to employees to directly seek civil penalties when their employer fails to pay the necessary wages. Before, employees could only receive civil penalties from an employer if the Labor Commissioner took action for them. As of 2020, however, employees are entitled to receive $100 in penalties for initial unpaid wage violations, and $200 for each willful, intentional, or subsequent violation. There may be additional penalties available for certain types of wage violations.
Assembly Bill 749 – When an employee takes legal action against an employer in court or through an administrative agency, the employer and employee may reach a settlement agreement. The terms of each settlement are different, and some employers would include a no-rehire provision, which prevented the employee from getting employment from the company or its affiliates after the agreement is signed. Now, AB 749 bans this type of no-hire provision in settlement agreements. This ban also applies to employees who complain internally and reach a severance agreement with the employer. The law does not apply if the employer reached a settlement with an employee whom the company believes engaged in sexual assault or harassment.
Senate Bill 688 – Currently, the Labor Commissioner in California only had the authority to enforce actions stemming from allegations of minimum wage violations. Now, SB 688 expands the Commissioner’s authority to enforce and issue citations to an employer that fails to pay wages as set by an employment contract, even if the wages are above minimum wage.
At the Mara Law Firm, we know that employment laws are always changing, but employers are still expected to prepare and adapt to comply with the changes. As an employee, you should know your rights under the upcoming laws, and you should not hesitate to enforce those rights with the help of an experienced California employment law attorney. Call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online for more information about our legal services today.
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