If it is a new year there must be new labor laws! In fact, there are 16 new labor laws that may affect employers including expanded sick leave, new productive loss leave, higher minimum wages, and a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. In addition, during 2023 there were some court cases and regulations bye with Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In this month’s article I will highlight a few more of these laws.
AB 2188 CANNABIS USE RIGHTS
The cannabis use rights law, prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee or applicant based on the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.
Employers may still conduct pre-employment drug testing, and an employer can still refuse to hire someone based on a valid pre-employment drug screening that looks only for psychoactive cannabis metabolites.
Employers need to adopt testing procedures that screen for active impairment/THC and discontinue testing for non-psychoactive metabolites.
SB 700 CANNABIS USAGE QUESTIONS FOR APPLICANTS
Employers may not request information from a job applicant about their prior use of cannabis. Information about an individual’s prior cannabis use obtained from their criminal history is also off limits.
Under the state’s Fair Chance Act, that places strict limits on the review and consideration of criminal history some employers are allowed to consider it in employment decisions.
This law does not apply to employees in the building or construction trades.
It does not preempt state or federal laws that require applicants or employees to be tested for controlled substances such as truck drivers.
AB 636 NOTICE REQUIREMENTS NEW EMPLOYEES
Labor Code section 2810.5 requires employers to provide a wage and employment notice to new hires. AB 636 adds a new section to this notice and requires employers to provide information about federal and state emergency declarations applicable to any counties in which employees are employed.
Additionally, employers will be required to provide information about rights and protections under California law to H-2A employees.
There is a new template created by the Department of Industrial Relations at this link for English: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/lc_2810.5_notice.pdf.
AB 594 WAGE THEFT ENFORCEMENT
AB 594 permits public prosecutors to independently prosecute certain wage and hour violations that occur within their geographic jurisdiction. Previously, only the Labor Commissioner’s office had this power. A public prosecutor may seek injunctive relief to prevent continued violations of the Labor Code, as well as city or county district attorneys or city attorneys. Moneys recovered by public prosecutors will be paid first to affected workers, then to the General Fund of the state.