Employee Relations 05/25/2012
Employee Rights Expansion Bills Placed on Suspense File Heard Today in Assembly Appropriations Committee
The Assembly Appropriations Committee met today to hear bills
that were placed on the Suspense File as they were estimated to
impose State costs of more than $150,000. Among the legislation
were bills aiming to expand employee rights, including under the
California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and the
California Family Rights Act (CFRA), both intended to prevent
unlawful employee discrimination. FEHA currently prohibits
employers from denying an individual’s right to seek, obtain and
hold employment based on race, religious creed, color, national
origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical
condition, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, age or
sexual orientation. CFRA requires employers with 50 or more
employees to provide up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave
during any 12-month period for specified purposes. These include:
childbirth; placement of a child with respect to adoption or
foster care; care of a parent, spouse or child with a serious
health condition; the employee’s own serious health
Below are summaries of these bills and their outcome in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Please contact staff regarding your concerns with this legislation.
AB 1740 (Swanson) – Concerns
As Amended April 25, 2012
AB 1740, by Assembly Member Sandré Swanson, would expand the bases on which discrimination is prohibited to include a person’s status as a victim of stalking. The bill further expands what reasonable accommodations an employer must make for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, including transfer, reassignment, a modified schedule, changed work station and/or telephone, and assistance in documenting domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
The bill was recently amended to place its language in the Labor Code rather than in the statute governing FEHA and to provide that employers would not be required to undertake an action that constitutes undue hardship when making reasonable accommodations; however, CSAC remains concerned with the implications of AB 1740, including a lack of specification in the bill as to how the newly-created class would be determined or documented and that expanding current law requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to victims of domestic violence would be impractical for county buildings that must be open to the public.
AB 1740 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 1999 (Brownley) – Request for Comment
As Amended April 30, 2012
Assembly Bill 1999, by Assembly Member Julia Brownley, also seeks to expand California’s FEHA by including “family caregiver status” as a basis upon which an employer cannot discriminate with regard to the individual’s right to seek, obtain and hold employment.
The bill defines “family caregiver status” as an individual who provides medical or supervisory care to a family member. For the purposes of this definition, “family member” means any of the following: child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, parent-in-law, and a sibling.
AB 1999 passed off of the Suspense File and will now be heard on the Assembly Floor.
AB 2039 (Swanson) – Request for Comment
As Introduced February 23, 2012
AB 2039, by Assembly Member Sandre Swanson, would expand CFRA by permitting an employee to take leave to care for an independent adult child with a health condition or a seriously ill grandparent, sibling, grandchild or domestic partner. AB 2039 also expands the definition of “parent” to include a parent-in-law.
This bill is a rerun of AB 59, which was introduced by Assembly Member Swanson last year and was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 2039 passed off of the Suspense File and will now be heard on the Assembly Floor.