As we have covered extensively, the California Supreme Court dropped a proverbial bomb earlier this year in the Dynamex case when it adopted a new legal standard known as the “ABC Test,” making it much more difficult for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors. A few days ago, a California Court of Appeal held that the new test is limited to claims arising under the California Wage Orders, and that other claims continue to be governed by the prior (and more employer-friendly) standard known as the Borello test. This holding, if it stands, is good news for employers. However, it’s not all treats for employers on this Halloween. The new case has a few tricks of its own, as the good news appears to be tempered by some other less-favorable positions.
This past Sunday (September 30) represented the deadline for Governor Brown’s final actions on legislative measures, and his final term as California’s governor will come to an end in a few short months.
On September 22, Governor Brown signed SB 1402, a bill that establishes joint and several liability for customers who contract with or use port drayage motor carriers who have unpaid wage, tax and workers’ compensation liability. SB 1402 is effective January 1, 2019.
On September 20, Governor Brown signed AB 2605, which provides that petroleum facility employees in safety-sensitive positions and are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement are exempt from the requirement that employees be relieved of all duty during rest periods. The bill contained an urgency clause, which means it went into effect immediately upon signing.
On September 19, Governor Brown signed AB 2334 (Thurmond) to make various workplace safety and health changes to California law, largely in response to recent activity by the Trump Administration. Among other things, AB 2334 requires Cal/OSHA to monitor federal electronic recordkeeping requirements and, depending on federal action, to convene an advisory committee to evaluate how to move forward with a state-law version of the proposed recordkeeping requirements. In addition, AB 2334 resurrects the so-called “Volks Rule,” which provides for a longer statute of limitations for record retention violations. AB 2334 goes into effect on January 1, 2019.
In perhaps the ultimate case of, “do as I say, not as I do,” Governor Brown recently signed legislation to provide PAGA relief to one narrow segment of California employers – unionized construction contractors.
It’s been a long legislative year. But now all of the flurry of activity is behind us and hundreds of bills now wait on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for either a signature or a veto.
The #MeToo movement and the national focus on sexual harassment have sparked significant legislative activity at the state level designed to address these issues. Here in California, lawmakers introduced over two dozen bills to tackle such issues.
In a recent unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that an employer obtaining an investigative background check must comply with the stricter of two state laws—which requires it to obtain the individual’s prior written authorization before doing so. Connor v. First Student, Inc. (No. S229428). The August 20 decision will impact those employers, lenders, and landlords who frequently conduct background checks under these two laws when making any number of hiring, employment, credit, and housing decisions.
It’s been a nice summer recess as the California Legislature has been on break, with Members returning to their home districts. But that respite is about to end as the Legislature reconvenes on August 6. There will be a flurry of activity as legislators have just a few short weeks to finish work on legislation for the year. All bills must be passed and sent to Governor Brown by August 31, who will have until September 30 to sign or veto bills.