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.
As many of you will recall from last year, Governor Brown signed legislation to prevent employers from asking about or relying on salary history information when making hiring decisions. That legislation, Assembly Bill 168 (Eggman) went into effect on January 1, 2018. Check out our recap of that bill here.
Immigration has, and continues to be, a major flashpoint between California and the Trump administration. In 2017, the California legislature passed significant legislation (AB 450) impacting how California employers deal with federal immigration authorities. The Trump administration sued over these policies, putting California on a collision course with the federal government—with California employers stuck squarely in the middle.
Issues related to immigration status, national security policy, and country of origin continue to be a hot topic of animated discussion at the federal level. In the midst of this national debate, California has amended its regulations related to national origin discrimination to be more prescriptive and to provide further protection for job applicants and workers.
The “future of work” is the topic du jour these days for pundits, academics, policy makers, employers and unions alike. Numerous conferences, white papers, academic studies, and media investigations have all explored this subject in recent years – the U.S. Department of Labor even held a symposium in 2016 on “the future of work.” Whether these concerns - what all of this technological advancement means for employment - are hype or reality remains to be seen. It appears certain that rapid technological advancements are transforming the workplace and the economy in innumerable ways. The “gig economy” has demonstrated that in dramatic fashion. What remains less clear is what the long-term implications of all of this change will mean. Will we all be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence? Or will the economy and the nature of work adjust to reflect new and different opportunities in the future?
As we discussed in our last blog post, California employers received some rare good news in recent days. Bills to expand California’s paid sick leave requirement and to require employers to accommodate medical marijuana use both failed to advance and are dead for the year.
It’s not often that we get to report good news on this blog. But last week, two significant bills that would have imposed new requirements on California employers failed to advance past the Assembly Appropriations Committee.