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2022 Annual Legislative Summary, Employee Protections – Part 4

January 11, 2023 by

We are presenting our annual Legislative Summary in four parts this year – this is part four:

AB 984 – Motor Vehicle Tracking
by Alex J. Ellenberger
This bill authorizes the development of “alternative devices” that would replace the need for license plates, registration cards, and other stickers. Such devices would periodically notify the user if it became inoperable. The bill generally prohibits an alternative device from being equipped with GPS or other vehicle location tracking capability, but allows tracking technology to be installed on alternative devices used by fleet and commercial vehicles. The bill generally prohibits an employer from using an alternative device equipped with tracking technology to monitor employees, but does allow employers to use an alternative device to track (including watching and listening) employees during work hours if strictly necessary for the performance of the employee’s duties. Employees must be allowed to disable such tracking or surveillance outside of work hours. This law also protects employees from retaliation for disabling such devices outside of work hours. There is no deadline for the introduction of the new devices.

AB 1601 – Call Center Relocations
by Sarah Kanbar
Under the California WARN Act, most private employers must provide advance written notice to employees of a “mass” layoff or termination of operations or of a relocation to a different location of 100 or more miles away. This bill expands the relocation-notice requirement for call centers to require call centers to give advance notice when they relocate at least 30% of their operating volume, regardless of the distance the work is moved. The bill also specifies that a call center’s failure to provide the required relocation notice will render the call center ineligible for certain state funding and tax credits.

AB 2091 – Contraception and Abortion Related Reporting
by Clarissa M. Romero
AB 2091 increases privacy protections under California’s Reproductive Privacy Act by prohibiting a healthcare provider from releasing medical information on individuals seeking abortion care in response to a subpoena or request from out of state. This helps protect individuals getting abortion-related care in California from entities seeking to enforce hostile anti-abortion laws in other states.

AB 2188 – Prohibition of Adverse Action for Off-Duty Marijuana Use
by Kelli Sanshey
Beginning January 1, 2024, this bill makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. Exceptions to this bill include pre-employment drug screening and an employer-required drug screening test that finds the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.

Provisions of this bill do not apply to employees in the building and construction trades, and applicants and employees in positions requiring a federal background investigation or clearance. Further, this bill does not preempt state or federal laws requiring applicants or employees to be tested for controlled substances as a condition of employment, receiving federal funding or federal licensing-related benefits, or entering into a federal contract.

SB 523 – Healthcare Plans Covering Contraceptives
by Clarissa M. Romero
Also known as the Contraceptive Equity Act, SB 523 expands birth control access by providing contraceptive protections regardless of gender or insurance coverage status and requiring health plans to cover certain over-the-counter birth control without cost sharing. This bill also requires coverage of over-the-counter birth control options. It also prohibits employment related discrimination based on employees’ contraceptive and reproductive health decisions.

SB 731 – Criminal Conviction Record Relief
by Alex J. Ellenberger
Starting July 1, 2023, this bill prevents a conviction of drug possession of certain substances from being used to deny a teaching credential when it is more than five years old. This bill also seals the records of felony criminal convictions, except sex offenses, when a person has completed their sentence and/or parole and provided the person has not committed any new offenses for four years.

SB 836 – Evidence: Immigration Status
by Angela Yahaira Breining
This bill restores the expired statute that prohibits the disclosure of a person’s immigration status in an open court unless the presiding judge first determines that such evidence is admissible in an in camera hearing.

SB 1162 – Pay Data Reporting Requirements
by Kelli Sanshey
Two years ago, California enacted legislation requiring employers with 100 or more employees to report, on an annual basis, specified data to the state’s Civil Rights Department, including the number of employees by race, ethnicity, and gender in various job categories. SB 1162 significantly amends and expands the law to require that employers include the median and mean hourly rates within each job category by race, ethnicity, and gender and imposes penalties on employers for non-compliance.

SB 1162 requires employers with 15 or more employees to include the pay scale for a position in all job postings, and to make the pay scale information available to current employees in a position, upon their request.

SB 1477 – Wage Garnishments
by Sarah Kanbar
SB 1477 reduces the maximum amount of wages that may be subject to garnishment. Starting September 1, 2023, the employee’s maximum amount of disposable earnings that may be garnished will be lowered from 25% to 20% of the employee’s disposable earnings for that week. For those whose disposable earnings for the week exceed 48 times the minimum wage, the maximum will be 40% (the current high-earner cap is 50% for those whose disposable earnings exceed 40 times the minimum wage).


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.