2020 CA Employment Law updates

California is an innovator when it comes to labor law. While some states are still deliberating on legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage, California is at the forefront of implementing employee rights and protections. California is one of the leading states to have raised minimum wage past federal requirements, one of five states to offer paid and protected parental leave, and was the second state to implement protected sick leave. With so many yearly changes, it can seem daunting to keep up with all of California’s ever-changing legislation, which is why I created this short and sweet excerpt highlighting CA Employment Laws that go into effect in 2020.


Assembly Bill 5 (aka Dynamex) Employees and independent contractors

AB 5 was proposed to safeguard the gig-economy workers by reclassifying workers as employees, essentially codifying the “ABC” test and expanding its application to the Labor and Unemployment Insurance codes. This would allow former independent contractor’s to be able to collect on paid time off, unemployment insurance, health benefits and other compensation allotted to employees.

Employing minors in the entertainment industry

AB 267 Employment of infants: entertainment industry

AB 267 applies to minors working in the entertainment industry. The law currently states that the employment of minors in the entertainment industry requires certification from a physician and surgeon for an infant younger than one month to be employed on any motion picture set or location. This bill expands on these requirements by defining any type of motion picture using any format (film, television, commercial) and by any medium (theater, television, photography, advertising, etc.).

Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Protections 

SB 188 Discrimination: hairstyles

SB 188 expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to prohibit discrimination against employees and students based on their natural hairstyles.

Senate Bill 778 Employers: sexual harassment training requirements

Sexual Harassment training has been extended to include all nonsupervisory employees with a due date of January 1, 2021. Supervisors are required to have 2 hours of training every two years and nonsupervisory employees are required to have 1 hour of training every two years.

Lactation Accommodation

California Senate Bill 142 Employees: lactation accommodation

Employers are required to provide a free of intrusion room close to the employee’s work area that is not a bathroom. The room needs to be;

• Safe, clean and free of toxic or hazardous materials

• Contain a surface to place a breast pump and other personal items

• Contain seating

• Have access to electricity

• Provide running water

• Provide a refrigerator for storing breast milk

Employers should consider creating and implementing a lactation policy and publish to the employee handbook


AB 25 California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

In 2018 the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) changed the rules to allow consumers to know about and request deletion of data that businesses collect about them. AB 25 exempts the CCPA employee data for one year.

Leaves of Absence

AB 1748 California Family Rights Act: flight crews

California Family Rights Act (CFRA) expands to airline flight deck or cabin crew by creating special eligibility requirements.

AB 1223 Living organ donation

Protected leave for organ donation was expanded to require employers to add an additional unpaid leave of absence for up to 30 days.

SB 30 Domestic partnership

SB 30 changes definition of domestic partnership from either two adults of the same sex or two adults of the opposite sex to just any 2 adults over the age of 18.

SB 83 Employment     

Paid Family Leave benefits have been expanded from 6 weeks to 8 weeks

Effective July 1, 2020

Workplace Safety

Ab 1805 Occupational safety and health

Currently under law, employers are required to report a “serious injury or illness”, meaning that the employee requires hospitalization for more than 24 hours and the employer must report hospitalization to the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA). This bill removes the 24-hour requirement, so all injuries/illnesses requiring hospitalization, must be reported to OSHA.

AB 61 Gun violence restraining orders

This bill expands on gun violence restraining orders  to apply to employers and co-workers who regularly act with an employee or or teacher, to file a petition for a gun violence restraining order if they feel that that person shows a substantial likelihood of signifiant danger or harm to self or others.

Consult legal counsel on this law’s implications related to workplace violence prevention policy


AB 51 Employment discrimination: enforcement

Employers are prohibited from mandating employees to sign an arbitration agreement. The bill also prohibits retaliation and discrimination against an applicant or employee who refuses to enter such agreements. 

This bill does not apply to arbitration agreements entered into prior to January 1, 2020

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