The Legislature was busy again in 2023, and the Governor signed a number of employment-related bills.  This blog post is not intended to discuss the details of every employment bill that was signed into law.  Instead, below is a list of certain bills employers should be aware of, and we invite you to join Weintraub Tobin’s FREE “Year in Review” seminar series on January 10, 2024 and January 17, 2024 where some of the bills, and other employment law developments, will be discussed. Come join the experienced team of employment attorneys at Weintraub Tobin and learn about your new compliance obligations. We look forward to seeing you.

SB 428 – Temporary Restraining Orders and Protective Orders; Employee Harassment.  Authorizes employer whose employee has suffered harassment to seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction on behalf of the employee and other employees upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that an employee has suffered harassment.

SB 848 – Employment: Leave for Reproductive Loss. Provides eligible employees who work for employers with 5 or more employees with up to five days of reproductive loss leave following a reproductive loss event, as defined in the statute.

SB 616 –  Paid Sick Days. Increases paid sick days under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act from 3 days/24 hours to 5 days/40 hours.

SB 700 – Employment Discrimination – Cannabis Use. It is unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis.

SB 497 – Protected Employee Conduct. Provides a 90-day rebuttable presumption that adverse employment action is retaliation if employee engages in protected activity under certain Labor Code sections.

SB 553 – CalOSHA Workplace Violence Restraining Orders & Mandatory Workplace Violence Prevention Plans.  As of July 1, 2024, most CA employers must establish, implement, and maintain, at all times in all work areas, an effective workplace violence prevention plan containing information as specified under the statute, and train employees under the plan.

SB 699 – Contracts re: Restraint of Trade. Such contracts are unenforceable regardless of where and when the contract was signed.

AB 1076 – Contracts re: Restraint of Trade – Noncomplete Agreements. It is unlawful to include a noncompete clause in an employment contract, or to require an employee to enter a noncompete agreement, that does not satisfy specified exceptions under statute.  Also, the new law requires employers to notify current and former employees in writing by February 14, 2024, that the noncompete clause or agreement is void.

SB 365 – Civil Procedure – Arbitration. Trial court proceedings are not automatically stayed during the pendency of an appeal of an order dismissing or denying a petition to compel arbitration.

AB 933 – Protections Against Retaliatory Defamation Claims. Adds any communication made by an individual, without malice, regarding an incident of sexual assault, harassment, or discrimination, to the definition of “privileged communication” under the CA Civil Code, and allows for prevailing defendant to recover statutory attorney fees and costs if the communications were privileged under the Civil Code.

AB 594 – Alternative Enforcement of Labor Code Violations.  Permits the Labor Commissioner or a public prosecutor to enforce certain Labor Code violations.

AB 1228 – Fast Food Restaurant Industry: Fast Food Council: Health, Safety, Employment, & Minimum Wage.  If the referendum currently on the 2024 ballot is withdrawn, then a Fast Food Council will be created and, until January 1, 2029, the Council will establish the hourly minimum wage, health & safety and other standards for certain fast food restaurant employees.

SB 525 – Minimum Wages: Health Care Workers. Establishes five separate minimum wage schedules for health care employees (as defined by the statute) depending on the nature of the employer, with a tiered increase in the minimum wage over a number of years.

AB 521 – CalOSHA Standards – Construction Jobsites Toilet Facilities. The OSHA Standards Board must prepare revised regulations before December 1, 2025 to require at least one single-user toilet facility on all construction jobsites, designated for employees who self-identify as female or nonbinary.

AB 1740 – Human Trafficking Notice – Pediatric Care.  Facilities that provide pediatric care must post the DOJ notice that contains information regarding human trafficking, and contact information for nonprofit organizations that a person can call for services or support.

SB 54 – Venture Capital Companies Demographic Reporting Obligations. Annually as of March 1, 2025, certain venture capital companies must report specific demographic information regarding funding decisions to the CA Civil Rights Department.