Spotlight on California labor law: anything but static

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2016 | Employment Litigation |

Truly, how complicated and dynamic is labor law?

Perhaps in no other area of American law is there such an accretion of continuous legislation and statutory compilation, coupled with an overlay of federal and state laws that are constantly being adjusted and updated.

California employers must keep solidly abreast of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, for example, which ushered in momentous changes in labor law. And as we note on an employment-related page of our website at the long-tenured Pasadena business, commercial and employment law firm of Larson & Gaston in Pasadena, reams of additional legislation are also centrally relevant in the labor-law universe.

On the federal side, those include the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

At the state level, California officials have enacted a voluminous amount of statutory law that addresses — both reinforcing and, often, supplementing, federal legislation — labor matters. A representative call out centrally includes the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Equal Pay Act and the Family Rights Act.

We recently made a list of employment related laws relevant to California employers (which do not detail the routine wage and hour laws of California).  It was quite long:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Sections 1981 through 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code;
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) (except for any vested benefits under any tax qualified benefit plan);
  • The Immigration Reform and Control Act;
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990;
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”);
  • The Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act;
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963;
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act;
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988;
  • The Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, 18 U.S.C. § 1514A, also known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;
  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act – Cal. Gov’t Code § et seq.;
  • California Unruh Civil Rights Act – Civ. Code § 51 et seq.;
  • California Sexual Orientation Bias Law – Cal. Lab. Code § 1101 et seq.;
  • California AIDS Testing and Confidentiality Law – Cal. Health & Safety Code § 199.20 et seq.;
  • California Confidentiality of Medical Information – Cal. Civ. Code § 56 et seq.;
  • California Smokers’ Rights Law – Cal. Lab. Code § 96;
  • California Parental Leave Law – Cal. Lab. Code § 230.7 et seq.;
  • California Apprenticeship Program Bias Law – Cal. Lab. Code § 3070 et seq.;
  • California Equal Pay Law – Cal. Lab. Code § 1197.5 et seq.;
  • California Whistleblower Protection Law – Cal. Lab. Code § 1102-5(a) to (c);
  • California Military Personnel Bias Law – Cal. Mil. & Vet. Code §394 et seq.;
  • California Family Rights Act Leave – Cal. Gov’t Code §12945.2;
  • California Kin Care Leave – Cal. Lab. Code §233;
  • California Parental Leave for School Visits Law – Cal. Lab. Code §230.7 et seq.;
  • California Electronic Monitoring of Employees – Cal. Lab. Code §435 et seq.;
  • Cal/OSHA law, as amended;
  • California Consumer Reports: Discrimination Law – Cal. Civ. Code §1786.10 et seq.;
  • California Political Activities of Employees Act – Cal. Lab. Code §1101 et seq.;
  • California Domestic Violence Victim Employment Leave Act – Cal. Lab. Code §230.1;
  • California Voting Leave Law – Cal. Elec. Code §14350 et seq.;
  • California Court Leave Law – Cal. Lab. Code §230;
  • California Constitution;
  • California Industrial Wage Orders;
  • Provision of the California Code of Regulations;
  • Los Angeles AIDS-Based Discrimination Ordinance, Los Angeles Municipal Ordinance §45.80 et seq.;

A recent media spotlight on California labor law points to many material changes in the employment arena that took legal effect from January 1. That online overview understandably advises employers to consult with knowledgeable legal counsel to fully review what’s new and to take steps to ensure that business policies are fully attuned to new employment realities. Employees might also have questions or concerns, of course. (We highlighted several of these changes particularly relevant to our transportation clients: AB 621, AB 588, and AB 1513.)

Changes made by the state Legislature apply in a wide-ranging manner to issues ranging from minimum wage, gender-based pay differentials and whistleblower activities to workplace discrimination, family leave and workers’ compensation considerations.

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