New employment laws could affect your California
business' day-to-day operations and company policies in 2013. Download CalChamber's
white paper "An Overview of New 2013 Laws Affecting California Employers"
for an overview of the changes in the law and how each of these
California laws could affect your business.
New Laws for 2013:
New Laws Overview
Several new employment laws will affect California employers’ day-to-day
operations and policies in 2013. This white paper identifies some
of the noteworthy new laws from the California Legislature.
There have been significant changes in key areas, such as anti-discrimination
protections, employee access to personnel records and employer access
to personal social media accounts. Other laws relate to specific
industries, such as farm labor contractors and temporary services
Unless specified, all new legislation goes into effect on
Keep an eye on the
HR Watchdog blog
and HR Watchdog on
for frequent updates on employment related laws, regulations
Religion and Reasonable Accommodation
AB 1964 clarifies that FEHA’s discrimination protections and reasonable
accommodation requirements cover religious dress practices and religious
grooming practices. It also specifies that segregating an individual
from other employees or the public is not a reasonable accommodation
of religious beliefs or observances.
Sex Discrimination and Breastfeeding
AB 2386 changes the definition of “sex” under FEHA for purposes
of discrimination protections to include breastfeeding and related
medical conditions. There is a mandatory update to the Discrimination
and Harassment Notice. CalChamber offers an all-in-one California
and Federal Employment Notice Poster which contains this updated
Social Media and Personal Passwords
AB 1844 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting employees
or job applicants to provide user names or passwords for personal
social media accounts and from requesting an employee or applicant
to divulge personal social media. There are limited exceptions,
including an exception relating to employer investigations.
Inspection of Personnel Records
AB 2674 amends Labor Code section 1198.5, relating to inspection
and retention of personnel records. The new law makes several significant
changes, including in the following areas: (1) who has the right
to inspect or request copies of personnel files; (2) any deadlines
for providing access to files; (3) where and how records must be
made available; (4) an employer’s obligations to retain files; and
(5) penalties for failure to comply.
If an employee asks for an employer-provided form to make the inspection
request, the employer must provide the employee with such a form.
By January 1, 2013, HRCalifornia members will have access
to a form created for this purpose.
Itemized Wage Statements/Temporary Service Employers
AB 1744 is effective July 1, 2013. It amends Labor
Code section 226 relating to itemized wage statement and wage notice
requirements and requires specified information from temporary service
Penalties for Wage Statement Violations
SB 1255 amends Labor Code section 226 to specifically define an
"injury" for purposes of violating the itemized wage statement statute.
Employers are required to provide specified information to employees
on a wage statement each time wages are paid. An employee who “suffers
an injury” as a result of an employer knowingly or intentionally
failing to comply with the statute is entitled to recover damages
against the employer.
AB 2675 amends the written commission agreement law (which takes
effect on January 1, 2013) to exempt certain types
of wage payments from the written agreement requirement.
Fixed Salaries and Overtime
AB 2103 amends section 515 of the Labor Code to state that payment
of a fixed salary to a nonexempt employee will be deemed to be payment
only for the employee’s regular nonovertime hours, notwithstanding
any private agreement or "explicit mutual wage agreement" to the
AB 1775 is a new law that increases the amount of wages that are exempt from garnishment.
This amendment is effective July 1, 2013.
Human Trafficking Posting
SB 1193 requires specified businesses to post an 8.5" x 11" notice,
on or before April 1, 2013, that contains information
about organizations that provide services to eliminate slavery and
human trafficking. The Department of Justice will develop a model
notice that complies with the requirements of SB 1193 and make the
model notice available. This notice will also be made available
on HRCalifornia after the Department of Justice has created
Workers Compensation Reform
SB 863 is workers’ compensation reform legislation supported by
the California Chamber of Commerce. The legislation offsets necessary
increases in permanent disability benefits and potentially lowers
system costs for employers. Some of the legislative reforms take
effect January 1, 2013, but many of the new laws require
administrative/regulatory action before implementation.
SB 1186 limits frivolous litigation regarding technical violations
concerning disability access by reducing statutory damages, putting
into place new provisions to prevent "stacking" of multiple claims
to increase statutory damages and banning letters making demands
for money before litigation.
FEHC Eliminated, Duties Transferred to the DFEH
SB 1038 eliminates the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission
(FEHC). The biggest change is the manner in which charges of discrimination
or harassment are handled. The administrative hearing process before
the FEHC is eliminated. Instead, the DFEH will be able to bring
civil actions on behalf of a complainant directly in court and require
mandatory dispute resolution.
AB 2370 and SB 1381 substitute the term "intellectual disability"
for the outdated term mental retardation in many statutes and regulations.
Unemployment Insurance: Overpayment and Penalties
AB 1845 provides that the Employment Development Department (EDD)
can deny reimbursement to an employer for any overpayments made
to its unemployment insurance reserve accounts if the EDD determines
that the overpayment resulted from an employer’s failure to respond
to or provide adequate information to the EDD. This new law applies
to benefit overpayments established on or after October
Under AB 2677, increased employer payment contributions that result
in a lower hourly straight time or overtime wage do not constitute
a violation of the applicable prevailing wage determination as long
as certain specified conditions are met.
Farm Labor Contractors
AB 1675 changes the penalties for failing to license farm labor
Existing law requires farm labor contractors to be licensed by the
Labor Commissioner and to comply with specified employment laws
applicable to farm labor contractors. Under existing law, a person
who violates farm labor contractor requirements is guilty of a misdemeanor
punishable by specified fines, or imprisonment in the county jail
for not more than six months, or both.
This new law would, in addition, subject a person who violates the
licensing requirement to citations issued by the Labor Commissioner
and civil penalties that increase as the number of citations for
AB 1855 adds warehouse workers to the list of specified contractors
subject to sufficient funds requirements. Specifically, existing
law prohibits a person or entity from entering into an agreement
for labor or services from specified contractors (construction,
farm labor, garment, janitorial or security guard) where the person
or entity knows, or should have known, that the contract or agreement
does not include funds sufficient to comply with applicable laws
or regulations. AB 1855 adds warehouse workers to this list.