April 16, 2013

New “Job Killer” Bills On The Horizon

It’s as much a Spring rite of passage as Opening Day in baseball or Tax Day: the California Chamber of Commerce’s annual list of “job killer” bills.  Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger wielded his hefty veto stamp, this list has gotten the attention of employers throughout California.

And this year is no different.  The Chamber identified six bills which would add to the bevy of employment-related obligations on California employers.  Among them:

  • AB 10, which would increase the minimum wage by $1.25 to $9.25 over three years and thereafter increase the minimum wage based on inflation;
  • AB 1138, which would require employers to post a list of all persons covered by worker’s compensation insurance and which would allow a private right of action (and undoubtedly significant exposure in a class action or PAGA lawsuit) to any employer who maintains an inaccurate list;
  • SB 404, which would amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act to prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their “familial status,” namely whether they provide care to a family member;
  • SB 761, which would make it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee because she has sought Paid Family Leave from the state-administered fund;
  • SB 626, which would significantly increase the cost of worker’s compensation premiums on employers and the amount of potential awards to worker’s compensation claimants; and
  • AB 5, the so-called “Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights, which would amend the Unruh Act to prohibit discrimination against homeless persons to various public accommodations.

To be sure, most of these bills stand little chance of passage, even in a Legislature dominated by Democrats.  With California’s unemployment rate officially at 9.6% (a full 2.0% higher than the national rate), Governor Jerry Brown has been reluctant to add to the burdens already imposed on California employers.  Indeed, none of the eight “job killer” bills identified by the Chamber in 2012 were signed into law and Governor Brown vetoed two of them.  We will keep you posted periodically about the status of these bills.


Category: New California Laws,