2021 Legislative Summary, Employment Law – Part 1
We are presenting our annual Legislative Summary of Employment Law in four parts this year. This is Part One.
Scope of “Family” Expanded for Family Leave (AB 1033)
The California Family Rights Act, like the FMLA, grants employees unpaid leave to care for seriously ill family members. This bill adds parent-in-law to the definition of family for purposes of taking leave to care for a family member. With this addition, eligible employees may take leave to care for the employee’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, parent-in-law, and designated person.
Intentional Wage Theft is Now a Crime (AB 1003)
AB 1003 makes intentional theft of wages, including gratuities, punishable as grand theft. An employer commits intentional wage theft by use of fraud or while knowingly: paying less than minimum wage, not paying workers overtime, not allowing workers to take meal and rest breaks, requiring off the clock work, or taking workers’ tips. Grand theft is established if the amount of wage theft in any consecutive 12-month period is greater than $950 from any one employee, or $2,350 in the aggregate from 2 or more employees. Employees covered by this law include independent contractors. Grand theft is punishable either as a misdemeanor or felony by imprisonment in a county jail. The bill specifically authorizes wages, gratuities, benefits, or other compensation to be recovered as restitution in accordance with existing provisions of law, in addition to imprisonment.
Non-Disparagement Agreement Ban (SB 331)
This bill makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer or former employer to prevent disclosure of information about unlawful acts in the workplace or to require employees or former employees to sign a non-disparagement agreement as a condition of employment or term of separation. The bill does not prohibit the inclusion of a general release or waiver of all claims in a separation agreement if the release is otherwise lawful and valid. This bill does not apply to negotiated settlement agreements to resolve an underlying claim already filed by an employee in court, before an administrative agency, in an alternative dispute resolution forum, or an employer’s internal complaint process.
The material on this website is provided by Beeson, Tayer & Bodine for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented. Some of the articles are updated periodically, and are marked with the date of the last update. Again, readers should consult with their own legal counsel for the most current information and to obtain professional advice before acting on any of the information presented.