New California Employment Laws

Laws You Should Know – Branigan Robertson has reviewed recent legislative enactments coming out of California’s government. Here are the main employment laws that workers should know about:

  • AB 292 – Which codifies a law reversing Kelly v. Conco Companies (2011) 196 CA 4th 191, to clarify that sexual harassment does not have to be motivated by sexual desire. Governor Brown signed this measure. This is especially important in same sex sexual harassment cases where there is no evidence that the harasser actually desires to engage in sexual activities with the victim.
  • SB 655 – Addresses Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal4th 203, by defining a “substantial motivating factor” for purposes of discrimination or retaliation claims and providing an additional remedy, a statutory penalty up to $25,000, for an employee in a mixed motive case.
  • SB 770 – Expands California’s Paid Family Leave program to include time off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law.
  • SB 462 – Fixes Labor Code § 218.5’s fee shifting provision by requiring a showing of bad faith in order for an employer to recover attorneys’ fees in a wage claim action. Governor Brown signed this measure.
  • AB 10 – Raises the minimum wage in California from $8.00 per hour to $10.00 per hour. AB 10 will raise California’s minimum wage in two one-dollar increments, from $8 per hour today to $9 per hour, effective July 1, 2014 and from $9 per hour to $10 per hour, effective January 1, 2016.

These are fantastic laws that will dramatically help employees vindicate their rights in California when employers treat them poorly.

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