In 2004, California enacted the nation’s first paid family leave program, offering up to six weeks of paid leave to workers who need to care for a new baby or an ill family member.  The program was financed through disability insurance taxes paid by employees through payroll withholdings.  The 2004 program paid 55 percent of the employee’s wages, up to a set maximum of about $1,100 per week.
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On October 5, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill confirming that employees in the health care industry can waive one of their two meal periods when working a shift of over eight hours in a workday. This law clarifies confusion caused by a recently decided appellate case, Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, 234 Cal.App.4th 285 (C.A. 4th, 2015) (review granted). The Gerard case is currently under review by the California Supreme Court.
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On July 16, 2015, AB 987 was signed into law by the Governor Jerry Brown which provides a paradigm shift in favor of employees with respect to their retaliation claims. The new law overturns the retaliation holding in Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635, and makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate or otherwise discriminate against a person for “requesting” an accommodation based on religion or disability. 
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With the enactment of the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB1522), California has become the second state in the nation, after Connecticut, to mandate employers provide their employees, including part-time and temporary workers, paid sick leave.

The Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 10, 2014, requires that  employers, public

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law AB 2751, a “clean up” bill that expands the bases and remedies for immigrant-related retaliation, and clarifies the penalty and employee information provisions of AB 263 and SB 666.

AB 263 and SB 666 were enacted last year to protect immigrant workers against unlawful retaliation. These two bills have since operated in conjunction to prohibit employers from engaging in various “immigration-related practices” against employees who had exercised certain rights protected under state labor and employment laws. These “unfair immigration-related practices” included threatening to file or filing a false police report or threatening to contact or contacting immigration authorities in retaliation for some protected activity engaged in by the employee (e.g., filing a workplace complaint).
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The California Legislature has returned from its summer recess, with a fairly large number of employment bills to consider before the August 31st deadline.  Although the majority of bills introduced in 2014 remain pending, the Legislature hit the ground running passing several bills on to California Governor Jerry Brown who has either vetoed or signed them into law.

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Last week, California’s legislature submitted a bill for the Governor’s approval, Assembly Bill 2074, which would amend Labor Code section 1194.2 dealing with the provision of liquidated damages arising out of an employer’s failure to pay minimum wage.

Employees who believe their employer did not pay them all of their wages may bring a civil lawsuit seeking several forms of damages, including liquidated damages for failing to pay minimum wage.  Liquidated damages under Labor Code section 1194.2(a) are comprised of “an amount equal to the wages unlawfully unpaid and interest thereon” (i.e., on top of the unpaid wages and penalties, employees may obtain another set of damages equivalent to the unpaid wages plus interest).


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New law SB 1360 has clarified that recovery periods, like rest periods, are paid time. This is a significant clarification of the law since there was an ambiguity in the past whether recovery periods were to be treated as paid time or unpaid time. Until now, the situation was unclear as recovery periods were mandated by California Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) regulations, not the California Labor Code.
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On October 10, 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill, A.B. 556, to add “military and veteran status” to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).

When this bill becomes operative on January 1, 2014, the FEHA will prohibit harassment and discrimination in

On September 26, 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill, A.B. 241, to give overtime pay to domestic workers such as caregivers, childcare providers, and housekeepers who work in private homes.

The bill enacts California Labor Code Sections 1450-1454 and will take effect on January 1, 2014. Under the new sections, domestic employees