Employee Relations 10/03/2012
Upcoming Pension Reform Webinar
CSAC and the law firm Hanson Bridgett are providing a pension
reform webinar to discuss your questions regarding the new
California pension reform bill.
The Governor signed AB 340 and AB 197, collectively the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, into law on September 12, 2012. The new law is complex, leaves open many issues, and raises many questions.
The webinar is free and will be held Thursday, Oct. 11 from 8:30 to 10:30. The webinar will be in the format of a Q & A; please email your questions in advance to Brandi Hewlett at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, Oct. 10th.
For more detail, please view the invitation here.
AB 2451 – Oppose
AB 2451, by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, was vetoed by Governor Brown. AB 2451 would have doubled the statute of limitations for when a claim can be filed for death benefits from 240 weeks to 480 for dependents of a firefighter or peace officer who dies of certain occupational injuries. CSAC opposed AB 2451 because an extension of the statute of limitation would have removed counties’ certainty as to ultimate expected benefit costs and it would inevitably result in a rise in costs at a time when counties are struggling to provide residents with basic services on limited budgets.
AB 1687 (Fong) – Oppose
AB 1687, by Assembly Member Paul Fong, would have allowed for the awarding of attorney fees when an injured worker receiving medical treatment on a future medical award is successful in overturning a utilization review (UR) decision at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. CSAC opposed AB 1687 because of the increased cost to employers due to litigation and the false premise that employers who deny care based on utilization review are acting unreasonably and in bad faith.
AB 2298 (Solorio) – Oppose
Chapter No. 823, Statutes of 2012
AB 2298, by Assembly Member Jose Solorio, would exempt certain public safety officers from a requirement to report accidents that occur in a personal vehicle to a personal insurance provider unless it is determined that the employer did not request or direct the employee to use his or her personal vehicle. AB 2298 was amended late in the legislative session with the language previously included in AB 1551 (now a bill concerning the CalHome Program), and was signed by the Governor.
Counties will now face increased liability for employees who drive their personal vehicles for work purposes which may increase insurance costs. CSAC opposed AB 2298 as we believe that shifting the costs and liability for accidents involving personal vehicles to public employers is inappropriate. Counties may want to review their policies regarding the use of personal vehicles for work purposes to determine how best to minimize the impact of AB 2298.
New Fee on Business License Applications
SB 1186 (Steinberg and Dutton) – Watch
Chapter No. 383, Statutes of 2012
SB 1186, by Senators Darrell Steinberg and Bob Dutton, addresses disability access issues and will significantly change state rules on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits. Among other things, SB 1186 will reduce minimum damages for ADA violations if the defendant hired a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and prevent the stacking of multiple claims of ADA violation to increase statutory damages.
While SB 1186 mainly addresses compliance and litigation issues with respect to ADA, of importance to counties is an aspect of the bill that would place a one-dollar fee on all business license applications and renewals for the purpose of funding an increase in the number of CASp in local building departments and funding educational and training resources at the state and local level to promote ADA compliance.
AB 1844 (Campos) – Watch
Chapter No. 618, Statutes of 2012
Assembly Bill 1844, by Assembly Member Nora Campos, prohibits an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to disclose a user name or account password to his or her social media site. Employers may seek access to such information when required to investigate employee wrongdoing or to access employer provided equipment.
AB 1606 (Perea) – Watch
Chapter No. 314, Statutes of 2012
AB 1606, by Assembly Member Henry Perea, clarifies that that the factfinding procedure, established in last year’s AB 646 (Chapter 680, Statutes of 2011), may be sought by a union even if mediation is not required by local dispute procedures. The clarification is consistent with existing regulations adopted by the Public Employment Relations Board.
AB 1450 (Allen) – Watch
AB 1450, by Assembly Member Michael Allen, would have prohibited employers from refusing to consider an individual or offer employment to an individual because of his or her employment status (defined in the bill as an individual’s present unemployment, regardless of the length of time the individual has been unemployed). Such employers would additionally be prohibited from publishing a job announcement that indicates an individual’s current employment is a requirement of the position or that the employer would not consider an applicant based on his or her employment status.