Episode #130 – Legal Update : Teresa McQueen

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In today’s episode, Teresa gives her annual Legal Update for changes happening on January 1, 2024. Out of the 1,046 bills sent to Governor Newsome for signature, 890 were signed and 156 were vetoed. 80 employment-related bills were signed with 26 vetoed. All bills, except those designated as emergency measures or as otherwise noted, take effect January 1, 2024. 

Legal Update Topics Discussed Today:

  • Minimum Wage Increases – The minimum wage in California will increase to $16.00 an hour. (Review the UC Berkeley Labor Center’s detailed list of local minimum wage ordinances for additional guidance.)
  • AB 2188 Discrimination in Employment: Use of Cannabis (Chapters 2 and 5) – AB 2188 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize an individual if the discrimination is based on the individual’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.  
  • SB 700 – Employment Discrimination: Cannabis Use (Chapters 2 and 5) – SB 700 expands existing lawful use of cannabis outside the workplace by making it unlawful for an employer to take any adverse employment action (i.e., take any action that would negatively impact the employee’s terms or conditions of employment) against an employee for off-duty cannabis use.
  • Fair Chance Act (Ban the Box) Regulation Update (Chapter 2) – The California Office of Administrative Law approved amendments to the California Fair Chance Act regulations, as proposed by the California Civil Rights Council. These changes impact employers with five or more employees and involve inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history before a job offer or in other subsequent employment decisions (e.g., promotion, training, discipline, layoff, and termination) and the criminal history of current employees.  
  • SB 497 – Protected Employee Conduct (The Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act) (Chapter 4) – SB 497 amends various sections of the Labor Code by creating a rebuttable presumption in favor of an employee’s claim of retaliation if the employer takes any adverse action against the individual within 90 days of the employee’s having engaged in protected activity. 
  • SB 616 – Sick Days: Paid Sick Days Accrual and Use (Chapters 4 and 5) – SB 616 amends the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) by increasing accrual/frontloading paid sick leave mandates from 24 hours (3 days) to 40 hours (5 days) and increasing cap amounts to 80 hours.  
  • SB 848 – Leave for Reproductive Loss (Chapter 5) – SB 848 makes it unlawful for a covered employer to refuse to grant Reproductive Leave (“Leave”) following a miscarriage, failed surrogacy, stillbirth, unsuccessful “assisted reproduction” (i.e., artificial insemination or embryo transfer), or failed adoption.
  • SB 553 – Workplace Violence: Restraining Orders and Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (Chapter 7) – This law takes effect July 1, 2024 –
  • SB 553 requires covered employers in California to; develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan that meets the law’s specific standards; maintain a violent incident log to record any violent workplace incidents or threats; provide comprehensive training to all employees on workplace violence prevention; and keep records related to the workplace violence prevention plan to ensure compliance. Maintain these records for at least five years and produce them to Cal/OSHA upon request. 
  • California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA) (Chapter 5) – The CPRA became effective January 1, 2023. However, regulatory enforcement is stayed until March 29, 2024 – Current employer exemptions in the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) were eliminated in accordance with the CPRA when it became effective January 1, 2023.
  • SB 699 – Contracts in Restraint of Trade – Existing law concerning restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition, non-solicitation agreements) regulates business activities to maintain competition.
  • AB 1076 – Notice Requirements for Noncompete Agreements or Agreements Containing Noncompete Provisions – This statute has a February 14, 2024 notification compliance deadline – AB 1076 continues restrictions on noncompete agreements (See SB 699) and codifies California’s position as it relates to noncompetes. 
  • SB 525 – Minimum Wages: Health Care Workers (Chapter 4) – This law becomes effective June 1, 2024 – Existing law generally requires a minimum wage for all industries of not less than the currently stated minimum wage. SB 525 establishes five separate minimum wage schedules for covered healthcare employees depending on the nature of the employer.
  • AB 102 – Budget Bill: Refunding the Industrial Welfare Commission (Chapter 4) – AB 102 provides a $3,000,000 budget allocation to the state’s previously non-operational Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC).
  • COVID-19 Labor Code Notice Requirements – Implemented at the outset of the pandemic, California Labor Code Section 3212.86 established a rebuttable presumption concerning illness or death resulting from COVID-19. The statute was set to expire on January 1, 2023, unless extended. Effective January 1, 2023, AB 1751 reset the expiration date on this rebuttable presumption to January 1, 2024.
  • Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (Chapter 1)
  • Woodworth v. Loma Linda University Medical Center
  • Stericycle Inc., NLRB Ruling Adopting New Legal Standard for Evaluating Employer Work Rules

To listen to Teresa’s last Legal Update click here

Episode Timeline

00:06Introduction and Disclaimer 01:31Legal Update Part 1 11:08Break and Public Service Announcement 11:52Legal Update Part 2 26:40Teresa’s Closing Remarks
Hosted by

Teresa McQueen, Esq.
Founder, Host and Executive Producer
Teresa is a skilled trial attorney (a recovering litigator!), Corporate Counsel for Western Growers Family of Companies, a published author and frequent speaker on a wide range of topics including harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. She is a Certified Business Etiquette Trainer and hosts the Workplace Perspective podcast to help organizations of all sizes develop and maintain successful employer/employee relationships.*

*The views expressed by Teresa McQueen are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Western Growers Family of Companies, its officers, directors, board members, employees, or members.

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