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RJO Update: Labor and Employment
January 2013

Key Changes to Employment Law in 2013

By Gayle Athanacio, Dennis C. Huie and Sharon Ongerth Rossi


A new year always means changes to California employment law and 2013 has brought significant changes. Employers with employees performing services in California should familiarize themselves with these developments as many of these new laws will affect day-to-day operations and will necessitate immediate action, including new posting and notices, and the updating of employment policies and practices. What follows is a summary of the most significant changes to California employment laws for 2013.

Subject Matter
Law/Regulation
Description1

Reasonable Accommodation of Religious Beliefs

AB 1964

Amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Gov’t Code § 12940 et seq. (the FEHA); provides expanded protection against religious discrimination; requires employers to reasonably accommodate religious dress and grooming practices.

Breastfeeding

AB 2386

Amends the FEHA, expanding the definition of sex to include “breastfeeding” and “related medical” conditions; clarifying that employers cannot discriminate against employees on those bases. 

Elimination of the FEHC/Changes to DFEH Procedures

SB 1038

Eliminates the Fair Employment and Housing Commission and provides greater authority to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, including the authority to bring civil actions directly in court following mandatory dispute resolution.

Disability Discrimination and Accommodations

2 C.C.R. §§ 7293.5-7294.4

Revised regulations elaborate and seek to clarify an employer’s obligation under the FEHA to provide equal employment opportunities to employees with disabilities (or perceived disabilities) including an employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations.

Pregnancy Disability Including Pregnancy Disability Leave and Accommodations

2 C.C.R. §§ 7291.2-7291.5

Revised regulations elaborate and seek to clarify an employer’s obligation pursuant to the FEHA to provide a leave of absence and/or reasonably accommodate female employees who are disabled or perceived to be disabled by pregnancy or a related medical condition.

False Claims Act/Whistleblower Protection

AB 2492

Amends Government Code § 12653 to expand whistleblower protections under the California False Claims Act.

Social Media

AB 1844

Creates Labor Code § 980; with some exceptions, this new law prohibits employers from requiring or requesting applicants and employees from requesting or divulging personal social media (a term which is broadly defined by the new law).

Human Trafficking Posting

SB 1193

Creates Civil Code § 52.6 which requires certain employers and establishments post a notice providing information related to specific nonprofit organizations that provide services in support of the elimination of slavery and human trafficking.

Inspection of Personnel Files and Records

AB 2674

Amends Labor Code § 1198.5 which expands the rights of current and former employees to inspect and obtain copies of their “personnel records.”

Commission Agreements

AB 2675

Amends Labor Code § 2751 which requires all commission plans be in writing. Under the amended law the term “commissions” is refined to exclude certain types of payments.

Fixed Salaries and Overtime

AB 2103

Amends Labor Code § 515(d) to clarify that, regardless of an agreement to the contrary, non-exempt employees paid on salary-basis must be paid overtime premiums above and beyond their salary.

Maintenance of Employee Wage Statements

AB 2674

Amends Labor Code § 226; under the amended law employers must maintain either a duplicate copy of itemized wage statements or a computer-generated record that contains all of the information that is required to be included on itemized wage statements.

Penalties for Wage Statement Violations

SB 1255

Amends Labor Code § 226 to specifically provide that an employee suffers an “injury” when an employer fails to provide accurate itemized wage statements in accordance with Labor Code § 226(a).

Temporary Employers – Wage Statements and Wage Theft Notices

AB 1744

Further amends Labor Code § 226, requiring temporary service employers (as of July 1, 2013) to include the rate of pay and total hours worked for each temporary services assignment.
In addition, provides that the Wage Theft notices mandated by Labor Code § 2810.5 must include additional specific information where the employee is employed by a temporary services employer.

Minimum Wage Increase

San Jose Minimum Wage Ordinance
San Francisco Minimum Wage Ordinance

Effective March 11, 2013, $10.00 per hour minimum wage applies to covered employers and employees
Effective Jan. 1, 2013 minimum wage for employees working in the City and County of San Francisco increased to $ 10.55 per hour.

Minimum Pay Rate for Licensed Physicians/Surgeons

Labor Code § 515.6

To meet the licensed physician/surgeon exemption from overtime pay, employees must earn at least $72.70 per hour. 

Minimum Pay Rate for Computer Professionals

Labor Code § 515.5

To meet the computer professional exemption from overtime pay, an employee’s minimum hourly rate has increased to $39.90 per hour. The minimum monthly salary and annual salary have similarly increased.

Unemployment Insurance Overpayment

AB 1845

As a result of AB 1845, which amends various sections of the Unemployment Insurance Code and creates Labor Code § 1773.8; Allows the EDD to deny reimbursement for employer overpayments where the employer fails to respond or provides inaccurate information in response to an EDD inquiry.

Employers’ EDD Information To Be Shared with Various State Agencies

AB 1794, SB 691

Amends various provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Code; the EDD is now authorized to share information it obtains from employers with various state agencies. The agencies are expected to use this information for purposes of auditing, investigating and prosecuting tax and cash reporting violations and workers’ compensation fraud, among other things.

[Click here to download entire RJO Update]

If you employ workers in California and have questions on how these new laws will affect you, please contact the Rogers Joseph O’Donnell attorney with whom you regularly work, or the authors of this legal update:

Gayle M. Athanacio (gathancio@rjo.com)
Dennis C. Huie (dhuie@rjo.com)
Sharon Ongerth Rossi (srossi@rjo.com)

RJO’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Group (http://www.rjo.com/employment.html) is comprised of experienced labor and employment attorneys who regularly represent and advise employers, big and small, in wide variety of industries.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, and is not a substitute for legal advice in specific circumstances.

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1 Unless otherwise specified, all the new laws became effective January 1, 2013.



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