2024 Legislative Update, Part Two: New Workplace Violence and Labor Code Enforcement Laws
February 1, 2024 by Beeson Tayer & Bodine
Workplace Violence Prevention (SB 553)By: Peter McEntee
Part 1: As of January 1, 2025, this bill allows collective bargaining representatives to initiate a request for a workplace temporary restraining order on behalf of employees it represents who have suffered violence or a credible threat of violence in the workplace.
Part 2: Requires, beginning July 1, 2024, that employers create a workplace violence prevention plan as part of their injury prevention program, and train employees on workplace violence prevention. The law specifically requires employers to work with collective bargaining representatives on the development of the plan and training.
Workplace Violence Restraining Orders (SB 428)By: Lorrie Bradley
Employers can already seek restraining orders to protect employees against workplace violence or threatened violence in the workplace. But under this bill, starting January 1, 2025, the reasons for an employer to seek a restraining order is expanded to include workplace harassment of employees.
Expansion of Protection for Employees Who Engage in Activity Protected under the Labor Code (SB 497)By: Andrew Baker
This bill amends Labor Code Section 98.6 to create additional protection for employees retaliated against for engaging in conduct protected by the Labor Code. It creates a new presumption that an employer has violated §98.6 if the employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of the employee engaging in conduct protected under the Labor Code, and adds a new penalty of up to $10,000 payable to a prevailing employee.
“Protected Activity” under the Labor Code includes: • Filing a wage claim, including for missed meal and rest breaks; • Participating in a Labor Commissioner proceeding; • Complaining about wages owed (including vacation pay upon termination); and • Engaging in political activities.
Prosecuting Attorney Authority to Enforce Labor Code (AB 594)By: Lorrie Bradley
This bill vests authority in the California Attorney General, any district attorney, any city attorney, or any county counsel to enforce certain provisions of the Labor Code. Specifically, the authority is with regard to wage and hour violations and misclassification violations.
A prosecutor must, before filing a complaint, first give notice and chance to intervene to the Labor Commissioner’s office. Notably, individual arbitration agreements won’t bar prosecutor suits, and recovered money goes first to affected workers, not to the state.
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