Each new year ushers in new laws in California.  Below is a brief synopsis of some noteworthy 2015 additions to California employment law for employers and employees alike.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how a particular law works or may apply to you.

AB 1443

Unpaid interns are now treated the same as paid employees with respect to being afforded protection from discriminatory actions and harassment within the workplace.

AB 1522 

Effective July 1, 2015, many California employers will be required to provide paid sick leave benefits to their employees known as the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.  Employees that are eligible will accrue “no less than one [1] hour for every 30 hours worked” of paid sick days.  An employer can limit an eligible employee’s  use of paid sick days to three days total per year. 

Note:  This assembly bill will require that all employers review their sick leave and paid time off policies prior to July to ensure compliance.

AB 1660

AB 1660 makes it a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act for an employer to take discriminatory actions against an individual who holds a valid California driver’s license issued pursuant to California law to an undocumented person. 

Note:  Compliance with federal law has become trickier as employers must still confirm an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States.  AB 1660 does exempt any action undertaken by an employer required by the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

AB 1792

Individuals who are recipients of public assistance benefits are now afforded protection against discriminatory or retaliatory actions due to the receipt of benefits. 

AB 1897 

The California legislature has extended the liability for employers using staffing agencies or other labor contractors to supply workers who violate wage and hour regulations.  As a result, if the staffing agency does not pay the provided employees properly or fails to provide workers’ compensation coverage for those employees, the client employer will now be jointly responsible for the wage and hour violations.  AB 1897 does create exclusions from joint liability for certain employers, including those who have a small workforce.