Governor Newsom Signs New Worker Protections into Law

signatureThe California legislative session wrapped up this October with Governor Newsom signing 770 bills into law. Among these were several new laws that expand worker protections and ensure that employers are compensating their employees fairly.

California already has the strongest worker protections in the country. The state relies on attorneys — like our Wage and Hour team at the Arnold Law Firm — to uphold these laws and hold employers accountable. The laws below add to California’s robust wage and hour statutes:

AB 286 (Gonzalez) Food Delivery Workers Are Entitled to Their Tips

This law makes it unlawful for a food delivery platform (such as Postmates or Door Dash) to retain any portion of a delivery driver’s tips. Under this new law, food delivery platforms must pay any tip or gratuity for a delivery order to the person delivering the food or beverage. Additionally, any tip or gratuity for a pickup order must be paid entirely to the food facility.

AB 701 (Gonzalez) Warehouse Worker Quotas Must be Humane and Transparent

This law requires warehouse distribution centers (such as those utilized by Amazon) to disclose quotas to employees. Quotas are requirements that warehouse distribution centers impose upon their employees that specify the number of tasks an employee must complete in a given amount of time. 

Under this new law, warehouse distribution centers will be required to provide to each nonexempt employee with a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject, including the quantified number of tasks to be performed, or materials to be produced or handled, within the defined time period, and any potential adverse employment action that could result from failure to meet the quota. Quotas cannot prevent an employee from taking meal or rest periods, using bathroom facilities, or from taking advantage of other occupational health and safety laws.

An employer can no longer take adverse action against an employee for failing to comply with a quota that has not been disclosed or for failure to meet a quota that does not allow a worker to comply with meal or rest periods or occupational health and safety laws. If a current or former employee believes that meeting a quota caused a violation of their right to a meal or rest period or required them to violate any occupational health and safety law or standard, they have the right to request a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject and a copy of the most recent 90 days of the employee’s own personal work speed data.

A current or former employee can bring an action for injunctive relief to obtain compliance with specified requirements and can recover costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in that action.

AB 1003 (Gonzalez) Wage Theft is Grand Theft

This bill allows intentional wage theft to be punishable as grand theft. Under this new law, an employer that has engaged in the intentional wage theft or failure to provide other compensation (e.g., meal or rest premiums, reimbursements, etc.) in an amount greater than $950 from one employee or $2,350 from 2 or more employees, in a consecutive 12-month period may be convicted of grand theft. These wages, gratuities, benefits, or other compensation that are the subject of a prosecution under these provisions can be recovered as restitution. This law includes independent contractors within the meaning of employee and includes hiring entities of independent contractors within the meaning of employer.

SB 62 (Durazo) Garment Worker Protections

This law requires brand guarantors and garment manufacturers to maintain personnel records for four years and allows them to be held jointly and severally liable for unpaid wages to contractors. The law also limits garment manufacturers’ ability to pay their workers piece-rates by imposing a penalty of $200 (payable to the employee) for each employee that is paid by piece-rate.

SB 572 (Hertzberg) Real Property Liens are Allowed for the Collection of Labor Commissioner Citations

This new law authorizes the Labor Commissioner to create a lien on real property to secure amounts due to the commissioner for final citation, findings, or decision.

SB 639 (Durazo) Subminimum Wage Jobs for People with Disabilities Must be Phased Out

This law requires a plan to be developed that will phase out a program that allows employers with special licenses to pay less than minimum wage for employees with physical or mental disabilities under the subminimum wage certification program. SB 639 prohibits new licenses from being issued under this program after January 1, 2022.

Our Wage and Hour attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm fight hard for our clients’ rights and have a proven track record of helping employees recover what they earned. Whether your current or former employer has violated a law that was passed this year or one that has been on the books for decades, we offer a free consultation to discuss your claim and charge you nothing while working on your case.

Call 916-777-7777 to schedule a free consultation.