On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 646 (SB 646), which limits janitorial employees represented by a labor organization and covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in effect before July 1, 2028, from filing suit under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (California Labor Code § 2689, et seq.)(PAGA).

Under SB 646, janitorial employees are no longer authorized to bring a civil action under PAGA if the applicable CBA provides for wages, hours worked (including overtime), and working conditions and fulfills other specified criteria.  “Janitorial employee” means an employee whose primary duties are “to clean and keep in an orderly condition commercial working areas and washrooms, or the premises of an office, multiunit residential facility, industrial facility, health care facility, amusement park, convention center, stadium, racetrack, arena, or retail establishment.”

The exemption does not cover the following:

  • Workers who specialize in window washing
  • Housekeeping staff who make beds and change linens as a primary responsibility
  • Workers working at airport facilities or cabin cleaning
  • Workers at hotels, card clubs, restaurants, or other foodservice operations
  • Grocery store employees and drug retail employees.

This PAGA exemption expires on the date the CBA expires or July 1, 2028, whichever is earlier.

This bill becomes effective January 1, 2022, and does not preclude a janitorial employee from pursuing any other civil action against their employer.

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.