On September 30, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1947, which extends the period to file a discrimination or retaliation complaint to one year with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) or better known as the Labor Commissioner. Before the passage of this legislation, employees alleging they had been discharged or otherwise discriminated against in violation of any law enforced by the California Labor Commissioner were required to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement within 6 months after the occurrence of the violation. The Labor Commissioner was required to commence an action to enforce labor standards within 3 years of their accrual.
The extension of the statute of limitations from 6 months to one year is applicable to claims for discrimination or retaliation against an employee regarding any law enforced by the DLSE. Employers should also be aware that there are different statute of limitations for employees to bring other types of claims at the DLSE. For example, an employee has three years to bring a claim for unpaid wages.
There may be an increase in employee claims for violations of Labor Code 1102.5. The statute also now authorizes reasonable attorney’s fees to a plaintiff who brings a successful action for violation of Labor Code 1102.5. Labor Code 1102.5 prohibits an employer from making or enforcing any rule, regulation, or policy that prevents employees from disclosing information that the employee reasonably believes is a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation.
Jackson Lewis will continue tracking state legislation that is relevant to employers. If you have questions about the effects of this or other recent legislation contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.