Pending Legislation That Will Affect Employers If Enacted

The California legislative season is in full swing.Among the proposed bills this year are several involving changes to meal and rest period regulations, some new leave entitlements, and legislation that may affect the hiring and firing process.We will be monitoring these and other bills throughout the summer as the August 31, 2010 deadline for bill passage approaches.

AB 482 (Mendoza) Consumer Credit Reports – This bill would prohibit an employer, with the exception of certain financial institutions, from obtaining a consumer credit report for employment purposes unless the information is (1) substantially job-related, meaning that the position of the person for whom the report is sought has access to money, other assets, or confidential information, and (2) the position of the person for whom the report is sought is a position in the state Department of Justice, a managerial position, that of a sworn peace officer or other law enforcement position, or a position for which the information contained in the report is required to be disclosed by law or to be obtained by the employer.

AB 569 (Emmerson) Meal & Rest Periods – This bill would exempt from meal and rest period provisions, employees in construction, commercial drivers, and security officers if such employees are covered by a valid Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) containing specified terms, including meal period provisions.

AB 1853 (Huffman) Bid Preferences – This bill would require state agencies awarding public works contracts to provide a 2% bid preference to a bidder or subcontractor meeting specified criteria related to providing employee health care coverage. This bill would become operative on January 1, 2012, and would not apply to contracts advertised for bid on or after January 1, 2017.

AB 2340 (Monning) Bereavement Leave –This bill would allow for three days unpaid leave for bereavement purposes upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or domestic partner’s child, within 13 months of the death of the bereaved individual.The provisions of the bill would not apply to an employee who is covered by a valid CBA that provides for bereavement leave and other specified working conditions.

AB 2424 (Niello) Final Wages Payment –This bill would allow employers to pay wages to discharged employee within a reasonable time, not exceeding 24 hours after discharge, excluding weekends and holidays, and would also allow payment of final wages to be made by mail to the most current address of the employee in the employer’s payroll records, to a specified address provided by the employee at the time of discharge, or by making payment available to the discharged employee at a location specified by the employer.

AB 2468 (DeLeon) Lactation Breaks – This bill would authorize an employer to use the designation “Mother-Friendly Worksite” it promotional materials, if it submits its workplace breast-feeding policy to the Labor Commissioner and the Labor Commissioner determines that the employer’s policy provides for specified criteria.

AB 2727 (Bradford) Criminal Records –This bill would prohibit employers from denying an application for employment based on conviction of a criminal offense unless the employer determines that there is a direct relationship between the prior conviction and the employment sought, or granting employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or persons.

SB 908 (Wyland) Meal and Rest Periods –This bill would allow exception from Wage Order Meal and Rest Period Provisions for employees working in armored cars.

SB 1304 (DeSaulnier) Marrow Donation Leave –This bill would require employers to permit employees to take paid leaves of absence for organ and bone marrow donation, and to restore an employee returning from such leave to the same or equivalent position.The bill would also prohibit an employer from interfering with, or retaliating against, an employee taking such leave, or opposing an unlawful employment practice related to such leave.The bill would also create a private right of action for aggrieved employees to seek enforcement of these provisions.

Please check back regularly for updates on these and other bills.