California retailers must watch new labor laws

Home Furnishings Association members in California must pay attention to new state labor laws taking effect Jan. 1. The laws will affect recruiting and hiring; discrimination, harassment and retaliation protections; leaves of absence and benefits; workplace safety; arbitration; privacy; and wage and hour matters.

CalChamber has provided a white paper detailing these changes. The new laws include:

AB 5 classifies more workers as employees rather than as contractors.

AB 9 extends from one year to three years the statute of limitations for filing claims of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

AB 25 provides that employee data, such as information gathered for purposes of employment or an application for employment, are exempt from the California Consumer Privacy Act — but only for a year.

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Arbitration agreements banned

AB 51 effectively bans arbitration agreements between employers and employees.

AB 673 gives employees the ability to bring private actions against their employers for failing to pay wages owed.

AB 1223 requires employers to grant up to 30 days of unpaid leave to employees donating an organ. This is in addition to a previous requirement that they provide up to 30 days of paid leave.

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AB 1805 changes definitions of “serious injury or illness” and “serious exposure” under state law to conform to federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.

SB 142 further defines a “lactation room” that employees must maintain in their workplace for nursing mothers.

SB 188 prohibits workplace discrimination based on “natural hairstyles.”

These are only a few of the new labor laws taking effect. HFA members should read the CalChamber white paper or call an HFA member specialist at 800-422-3778 if they have questions.

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