2012 Amendments On California Labor Laws - What's In Store For The New Year?

Jose N. Gordon
December 20, 2011 — 1,494 views  
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During the stint of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, he has enacted a few employment laws to provide equal benefits and rights to employers and their employees. But when Gov. Jerry Brown took over his post, he was able to sign in a few bills that are set to be enacted as law effective January 1, 2012. Thus, there are amendments to the California labor laws by the new year that employees can look forward to.

In order to prevent employer liability and to equally uphold employee and employer rights for all companies based in California, here is a detailed look into some of the amendments to the state law:

The existing California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act indicate that employers have the right to secure a copy of the consumer credit report for an employee or applicant for purposes that include applicant evaluation, retention, or re-assignment of an employee. However, this particular aspect of the California labor law has been revised such that employers are now prohibited from obtaining a copy of the employees' or applicants' consumer credit report. The only ones that are given the right to access the employees' credit report are financial institutions. The only grounds for which an employer can seek a copy is when the employee concerned is in a managerial position, part of the Department of Justice of the state of California, law enforcement worker, or when the information contained in the report is required by the law. Even so, the new legislation require employers to post a notice in advance before they are given access to the report. Failure to comply with these conditions is subject to lawsuit or damages to the employee wherein there are certain fees involved.

The next notable amendment in the California labor law concern written commission agreements. Indeed, effective next year all forms of employment contract that involve paying commissions to employees must be done in writing. This will be the main basis for the computation and payment of said commissions to concerned individuals. The employee must also sign a copy of the written commission agreement or else the employer must pay a penalty of $100/day to the aggrieved employee.

Misclassification of employees in California as independent contractors is also subject to lawsuits, according to the state's employment laws. The SB 459 legislation in California prohibits employees from misclassifying the status of their employees, especially when it is willfully done. When an employer is caught with this violation, the law also requires that they post a public notification of this violation and that must be kept for one full year. All employees that were discovered to jointly participate in the employer's misclassification of an employee is also held liable by the law.

The Equal Benefits Law in California is being put forth as one of the most significant changes in the state laws with regards to obtaining benefits. The previous law dictates that a group health insurance policy must be provided to all employees, as well as their spouse. With the amended law, the coverage must not discriminate the spouse/partner of an employee based on sex. Hence, spouses or domestic partners of the same sex are still entitled to enjoy this benefit.

The leave laws for organ or bone marrow donor also have a specialized legislation with the revised law, which is effective in 2012. According to AB 272, organ donors have up to 30 business days of leave and bone marrow donors can enjoy a leave of up to 5 business days within a 12-month period.

All companies based in California must take note of new legislations to maintain employee and employers rights. It is advised that you observe California labor laws to prevent liabilities or possible lawsuits resulting to more penalties.

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Jose N. Gordon writes about the California labor laws and policies. If you want to preserve your employer rights and provide employees their benefits, make sure to read his articles to find out more information.

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Jose N. Gordon