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New California Employment Laws for 2015 (part 2)

Posted by Eric Kingsley | Nov 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Emergency rescue personnel

Our previous post (New California Employment Laws for 2015 – part 1) covered three new employment laws passed during California's 2014-2015 legislative session and subsequently signed by Governor Brown. Three more new laws are briefly described below, each with an effective date of January 1, 2015.

Penalties for Minimum Wage Violations to Include Waiting Time Penalties

Labor Code section 1197.1 lists various statutory penalties against employers who fail to timely pay wages of a resigned or discharged employee.  Specifically, it authorizes employees to recover a civil penalty (as specified), restitution of wages, and liquidated damages.   There are three ways to pursue such violations (e.g., through a “Berman Hearing” before the Labor Commissioner, through a civil action, or through a Labor Commissioner citation), but waiting time penalties under section 203 were available only under the first two methods (i.e., not for Labor Commissioner Citations).   AB 1723 amends the law to authorize waiting time penalties for Labor Commissioner Citations as well.

Time Off for Emergency Rescue Personnel

Labor Code section 230.3 prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating against an employee for taking time off to perform emergency duty as a volunteer firefighter, reserve peace officer, or emergency rescue personnel.  AB 2536 expands the existing definition of “emergency rescue personnel” to include an officer, employee, or member of a disaster medical response entity sponsored or requested by the state. An employee who is a health care provider (as defined) must notify their employer at the time they become designated as an emergency rescue personnel, and when the employee is notified they will be deployed because of that designation.

“Client Employers” to Share Certain Legal Responsibilities with Labor Contractors

Effective January 1, 2015, certain employers will share with its labor contractor(s) all civil liability for nonpayment of wages and failure to secure workers' compensation coverage, and cannot shift workplace safety duties and responsibilities to the contractor. AB 1897 enacts a new section, Labor Code section 2810.3, and specifically allows employers to obtain indemnification from the contractor for liability created by acts of the contractor. Employee leasing arrangements that contractually obligate the employer to assume all responsibility and liability under the law are excluded from the definition of labor contractor.

For purposes of this law, “client employer” is defined as a business entity, regardless of form, that obtains or is provided workers to perform labor or services within the usual course of business from the labor contractor.  “Client employer” does not include: (a) a business entity with a workforce of less than 25 workers, including those hired directly by the client employer and those obtained from or provided by, any labor contractor; (b) a business entity with five or fewer workers supplied by a labor contractor or labor contractors to the client employer at any given time; or (c) the state or any political subdivision of the state of California.

Experienced California Employment Lawyers

To further discuss the latest revisions to  the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or any of the new laws above, feel free to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley. Call toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or click here to contact us.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

In practice since 1996, attorney and firm co-founder Eric B. Kingsley has litigated complex cases and authored numerous appellate briefs in both state and federal court on behalf of the California law firm of Kingsley & Kingsley, including over 150 class actions. Mr. Kingsley concentrates his pra...

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