Avoid ADA Violations

ADA - The Americans with Disabilites ActIf you own a business, you are required to follow various specifications related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Failure to do so could result in fines, accidents, loss of business, and even lawsuits. Taking note of the most common violations and working to eliminate them can save you more than a few headaches.

Frequent ADA Violations

Access is a key issue addressed by ADA guidelines. Failure to provide it is a serious problem:

  • Number of parking spaces: The law requires a certain minimum number of parking spaces, based on the size of the business and parking lot;
  • Condition of designated spaces: When handicapped parking spaces are on a slope, or when the paint is faded and difficult to see, it is a violation;
  • Van access not in compliance: Vans require larger spaces and/or aisles to enable wheelchair bound individuals the room to maneuver;
  • Signage missing: Reserved spots lack a sign designating them for accessibility;
  • Entry Routes inaccessible: Ramps or curbs are lacking or non-existent, or surfaces are not level;
  • Doorways are inaccessible: Automatic doors are not available;
  • Indoor access to the facility: Tables, counters, and other surfaces are not in compliance with ADA guidelines, or aisles within the building are not wide enough for wheelchairs to maneuver;
  • Floor space not cleared: Objects in aisles and otherwise leaving insufficient room to turn around in a wheelchair;
  • Bathrooms not in compliance: Problems related to missing grab bars, inaccessible sinks, towel dispensers, faucets, mirrors, hand sanitizer or soap dispensers, and toilet seat cover dispensers.

Businesses Most Often Found in Violation of the ADA

Any business is responsible to provide access for disabled individuals. Those businesses most frequented by the public experience the greatest numbers of complaints for non-compliance. In California, the data relating to complaints gives us a window into the businesses most often found to have deficits with regard to ADA accommodations:

  • Sales and/or rental businesses: 41% of complaints;
  • Food and drink establishments: 27% of complaints;
  • Service-oriented businesses: 26% of complaints;
  • Lodging establishments: 4% of complaints;

Employee ADA Training

In addition to the physical accommodations in your building, train employees about the proper way to interact with individuals with disabilities. Remember, they are people who are looking for products or services, just like anyone else. Be aware that not every disability is visible, so courteous, individualized service from your employees will benefit everyone.

  • Individuals with slurred speech will require patience and attention;
  • Those with hearing difficulties may need to see your lips moving as you speak;
  • Individuals of short stature may appreciate employees coming around a counter to interact;
  • Someone with respiratory disabilities or chemical sensitivities may have an adverse reaction to spray cleaners, air fresheners, or other toxins in the air;
  • Persons with psychiatric disabilities may have trouble with social cues, stressful situations, or unexpected delays.

[Read more…]

Pregnant Workers That Face Discrimination in California

pregnant workersWorking mothers and pregnant workers face challenges that many employers struggle to understand. This is never truer than when women try to balance pregnancy with the demands of a job. If you have faced discrimination based on pregnancy, you want an experienced attorney to assist you in securing your rights, and compensation when those rights have been violated.

Common Workplace Violations Against Pregnant Workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is dedicated to ensuring fair treatment for all workers under the law. That includes employment opportunities for women who are pregnant and who wish to continue working at their jobs, but who require temporary accommodations at their workplaces. Title VII of the Civil Rights act prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, there are still some employers who need a little push when it comes to doing what is right. Since 2011, in fact, the EEOC has filed 44 suits involving discrimination claims for women who were pregnant. The suits have revolved around a number of claims of unlawful activities related to violations that occurred during the workers’ pregnancies:

  • Refusing to hire pregnant workers, or firing workers when employers learned of pregnancy;
  • Failing to promote, or, in some cases, demoting pregnant workers;
  • Curbing employment growth opportunities by compelling pregnant workers to take involuntary leave, restricting work hours or limiting assignments;
  • Refusing accommodations for pregnant workers that would be available to other non-pregnant workers;
  • Participating in retaliation when pregnant workers and/or coworkers complained about discrimination.

Legal Protections Continue After the Pregnancy

Discrimination sometimes persists after the pregnancy, as well, when employers resist providing appropriate leave and/or accommodations for lactating employees.

The law provides protections for workers who wish to take unpaid leave in order to care for and/or bond with a newborn.  Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers who qualify are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is another option for pregnant workers who have complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Under this provision, workers have up to four months of leave, with continued health benefits. Finally, the California Family Rights Act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for workers to bond with newborns. It is unlawful for your employer to refuse such leave, or to retaliate against you by leveraging promotions or imposing other workplace restraints on you.

Accommodations for Lactation

California labor codes require employers to provide accommodations for lactating mothers including:

  • Reasonable break times;
  • A private location other than a bathroom.

[Read more…]

California Court Holds Class Action Waiver Violates Federal Law

Class Action WaiverA new federal class action waiver decision could have major ramifications for arbitration agreements. The opinion in Morris v. Ernst & Young declares that arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if they require employees to arbitrate separately.

The Forbidden Class Action Waiver

The arbitration agreement at the heart of the case stated that employees of Ernst & Young were required to pursue any legal claims against their employer through arbitration, and that they could arbitrate only as individuals in “separate proceedings.” The employees were required to sign these class action waiver agreements as conditions of employment.

An Ernst & Young employee named Stephen Morris filed a class action against his employer, in spite of the class action waiver arbitration agreement. He alleged that the company had misclassified him, and denied him overtime wages. When Ernst & Young filed a motion to compel arbitration, Morris (and another plaintiff named Kelly McDaniel) argued that the arbitration agreement’s requirement that proceedings take place separately violated the NLRA.

The case made its way to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Court found that the clause against separate proceedings violates the “essential, substantive right” of the NLRA – the right of employees to pursue work-related legal claims together. The Court ruled that the waiver in Ernst & Young’s arbitration agreements dealing with separate proceedings is unenforceable.

The Rationale for the Class Action Waiver Decision

The Court pointed to Sections 7 and 8 of the NLRA. Section 7 states that employees have a right to join labor organizations, bargain collectively, and “to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining, or other mutual aid or protection.” The Court held that the right to engage in concerted activities, as laid out in Section 7, is the NLRA’s primary substantive provision.

Section 8 bars efforts by employers to interfere with the rights guaranteed by Section 7. According to the court, an employer violates Section 8 by including a waiver in an arbitration agreement that prevents concerted activities by employees – and it violates Section 8 a second time if it requires employees to sign such an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment.

The Court highlighted the distinction between procedural rights and substantive rights. One of the differences between procedural rights and substantive rights is that substantive rights cannot be waived in arbitration agreements. According to the ruling, the right of employees to pursue their claims together is a substantive right – and thus the Federal Arbitration Act does not require the “separate proceedings” waiver in the arbitration agreement to be enforced.

The Effect of the Ruling

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has jurisdiction over Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma Counties. If you operate a business in one of these counties, and you have been requiring your employers to sign arbitration agreements that contain a “separate proceedings” waiver, it may be time to speak to an attorney. [Read more…]

New California Law Will Change Pay Stub Requirements

Pay StubOn July 22, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will change pay stub requirements, allowing California employers to include less information on some of your employee wage statements. Assembly Bill No. 2535 amends Section 226 of the California Labor Code, which lays out what information must be listed on your pay stub, and which employees must receive them. The bill creates an additional exemption, regarding which employees must be provided with a list of how many hours they worked – meaning that fewer workers will be entitled to receive such a list.

Under existing law, all employees must be provided with a pay stub either at the time they are paid, or semimonthly. The wage statement must include certain types of information, including:

  • Gross wages earned
  • Net wages earned
  • The number of piece-rate units earned
  • Deductions
  • The dates of the pay period in question
  • The employee’s name, and the last four digits of the employee’s social security number or employee identification number, and
  • The employer’s name and address.

An employer is also required to list the hours that the employee in question worked during the pay period, unless the employee is a) a salaried employee, and b) is exempt from overtime.

What Pay Stub Requirements the New Law Changes

Under AB 2535, which takes effect on January 1, 2017, another group of employees will added to the hours exemption. Employers will not be required to list an employee’s total hours worked if the employee is exempt from the payment of minimum wage and the employee is exempt from overtime.

Some examples of employees who may fit this exemption are:

  • Outside salespersons
  • Employees working in an executive, administrative or professional capacity
  • Workers who are in their employers’ immediate families (such as someone who works for their spouse, their parent, or their child)
  • Computer software workers who are salaried employees in accordance with Section 515.5 of the California Labor Code (which makes certain software professionals exempt from overtime if they meet certain requirements)
  • People participating in (or working as staff members for) certain live-in rehabilitation programs focused on preventing substance abuse, and
  • Employees working in participation with certain national service programs.

Complying With Pay Stub Requirements

There are penalties for failing to comply with Section 226. An employer can face a fine of $50 for the first pay period in which it fails to provide an employee with the proper information – and $100 per employee per pay period for each violation in subsequent pay periods, up to $4,000. An employee who takes action against an employer regarding a Section 226 violation may be awarded costs and attorney’s fees. If an employer fails to allow an employee to inspect or copy records, the employer may be liable for a $750 penalty to the Labor Commissioner. [Read more…]

The NLRB Changes Joint Employment Standards

joint employment, joint employment standardsThe National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a ruling that adopts a new definition of joint employment. The case revolved around a California labor dispute – but the more expansive definition of joint employment laid out in the decision is expected to have a significant effect on labor cases around the country.

The labor dispute case involved Browning-Ferris Industries of California (BFI), which operates a recycling facility in Milpitas, and Leadpoint Business Services, which provides BFI with employees. A union, Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, sought to represent the sorters, screen cleaners, and housekeepers who work at the facility. The Union argued that BFI and Leadpoint were joint employers of the employees in question.

A regional director of the NLRB issued a decision stating that Leadpoint was the sole employer of these employees. The ruling used the NLRB’s previous definition of joint employment, which focused on whether the employers exercised the right to control workers in a direct, immediate way (rather than a limited and routine way).

The NLRB’s Reversal on Joint Employment Standards

The NLRB overturned the Regional Director’s decision and found that BFI and Leadpoint are joint employers. The NLRB concluded that it is relevant whether a putative employer has the authority to control the terms and conditions of employment, even if the employer does not actually use that authority. The NLRB’s ruling clarifies that the correct test for whether joint employment exists is “whether one statutory employer possesses sufficient control over the work of the employees to qualify as a joint employer with another employer.”

Under the ruling, entities are considered joint employers if:

  • They are both employers within the meaning of the common law, and
  • They share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment.

The factors that the NLRB examined in order to determine the answers to these questions included hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, direction of work, hours, and wages. After considering these factors, the Board concluded that BFI shared and co-determined the terms and conditions of employment, and thus, was a joint employer along with Leadpoint.

Why the Joint Employment Standards Change?

The ruling states that the new standard was previously used by the NLRB and courts for years, and that it is based on the common-law definition of an employment relationship. According to the opinion, the common-law test for an employment is based on the right to control and not on whether that control is exercised.

The ruling argues that the previous standard was significantly narrower than the common-law standard. It also states that, under the old standard, employees could be deprived of their right to bargain effectively simply because there were two employing firms involved in their work arrangements instead of one. [Read more…]

The Ninth Circuit Rules on Binding Arbitration Agreements

binding arbitration, arbitrationsIt has become extremely common for employers to encourage their new employees to sign binding arbitration agreements, in which they waive their right to a jury trial. (These agreements are intended to compel the employees to resolve any future disputes they have with the company via arbitration, which is generally cheaper than going to court.)

Some employers request that their employees sign a binding arbitration agreement directly, but others take a different approach. They simply include an arbitration agreement in their employee handbook, and then ask their employees to sign a statement agreeing to the terms of the handbook.

The advantage to the latter approach is that if the employer decides to update certain aspects of its arbitration agreement, it can revise the handbook, and then ask employees to acknowledge the changes – rather than asking them to sign brand new arbitration agreements.

Court Challenges to Binding Arbitration Clauses in Employee Handbooks

However, one problem that employers have had with this approach is that in some cases, courts have ruled that it is insufficient. One such case was Nelson vs. Cyprus Bagdad Copper Corporation, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employee was not compelled to arbitrate, despite an arbitration clause in the company’s employee handbook.

When the employee was hired, he signed the following statement:

“I have received a copy of the Cyprus Bagdad Copper Corporation Handbook…and understand that the Handbook is a guideline to the company’s policies and procedures. I agree to read it and understand its contents. If I have any questions regarding its contents I will contact my supervisor or Human Resources Representative.”

The Court ruled that arbitration cannot be compelled unless the employee has knowingly agreed to waive his or her right to a jury trial. And because the statement above did not mention that the handbook contains an arbitration clause – or that signing the statement constituted a waiver of the right to a judicial forum – the Court ruled that the employee had not knowingly made such a waiver.

Ashbey vs. Archstone Prop. Mgmt.

But what if an employee signs an agreement to abide by the terms of a handbook, and the agreement itself mentions the duty to arbitrate? In May 2015, the Ninth Circuit ruled that such an agreement is enough to compel arbitration.

In Ashbey vs. Archstone Prop. Mgmt., the Court ruled that an employee waived his right to a jury trial when he signed an agreement that contained the following language:

“I acknowledge that I have received directions as to how I may access the Archstone Company Policy Manual, including the Dispute Resolution Policy. I understand that Archstone can administer, interpret, discontinue, supplement, amend or withdraw any of the employment and personnel policies and procedures set forth in this Company Policy Manual. I understand that it is my responsibility to understand the Archstone Company Policy Manual, including the Dispute Resolution Policy, and to adhere to all of the policies contained herein.”

The Court held that because the agreement “expressly notified” the employee about the dispute resolution policy – and did so twice – it was sufficient to compel arbitration. The Court also held that it is not a requirement for the statement to actually list the terms of the policy.

Crafting an Effective Binding Arbitration Agreement Policy

If you want to feel secure that your company’s arbitration agreements will stand up in court, the employment and labor law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., in Santa Rosa can help. You can call or email our office today to schedule a consultation.

New Precedent for California No Rehire Clause – Golden vs. Cal. Emergency Physicians

No Rehire Clause,New precedent for California no rehire clause – Golden vs. Cal. Emergency Physicians. It’s fairly well-known that the state of California doesn’t look kindly on non-compete provisions in employment contracts. Settlement agreements with “no rehire” provisions have not posed many problems for employers, however – until now. In a case that could have major consequences for California employers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a “no rehire” clause can violate the same California law that prohibits non-compete provisions.

No Rehire Clause Decision

The decision, Golden vs. Cal. Emergency Physicians, was handed down in April 2015. It held that a settlement agreement’s provisions about re-hiring could be considered overly broad – and thus could be found to impermissibly restrain an employee’s professional practice, which is a violation of Section 16600 of the California Business and Professions Code.

What Happened in the Case?

The employee, David Golden, was a doctor employed by California Emergency Physicians Medical Group. He was terminated from his position, and then filed an employment discrimination suit. The parties eventually agreed to settle.

The settlement agreement contained a clause stating that he would waive any and all rights to be employed by CEP, or to be employed at any facility owned by CEP. The clause also stated that if Dr. Golden were to become employed at a facility unaffiliated with CEP, and then CEP bought or contracted with that facility, then Dr. Golden would be terminated without any liability.

Dr. Golden was unhappy with this clause, and refused to sign it. He argued that the clause violated Section 16600, which states that a contract “by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”

When his case went to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the court ruled against Dr. Golden. The district court held that because the agreement didn’t prevent him from working for a competitor of CEP (or for a hospital or facility operated by someone other than CEP), then the agreement could not be considered a violation of Section 16600.

This decision, however, was overturned by the Ninth Circuit, which sent the case back to the district court. The Ninth Circuit held that the language of 16600 is broad, and should not be interpreted to apply only to non-compete clauses. The court, however, did not take a stance on whether the agreement actually violated Section 16600.

What Does This Case Mean For You?

If you are an employer in California, and you have signed no-rehire agreements with former employees, there’s no need to panic. The ruling does not prohibit no-rehire agreements altogether. But it does mean that some no-rehire agreements could conceivably be considered violations of Section 16600.

Before you sign any new settlement agreements, it may be wise to ensure that the language you use does not go overboard in restricting the employee’s rights. If you are concerned about the enforceability of your agreements, you may wish to speak to a lawyer. The employment and labor law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., in Santa Rosa, have a great deal of experience with employment contracts. You can call or email them today to schedule a consultation.

The Nightmare of Missed Breaks and Unpaid Overtime

missed breaks and unpaid overtime, missed breaks, unpaid overtime, labor lawThe nightmare of missed breaks and unpaid overtime. A key and trusted employee gives notice. He was well liked and you give him a special going away party.

Ten months later that key and trusted employee files an overtime and missed breaks violation complaint against you with the Labor Board. At first you are shocked because you really liked him and he left on good terms! He never said a word to you about any of this. You wonder, when and how could this have happened? Why was this was never brought to your attention during all his years of employment?

Missed Breaks and Unpaid Overtime

You review his time cards. They show no missed breaks or unpaid overtime and you continue to believe that this must be some sort of mistake. All you have to do is show the employee’s time cards to the Labor Board and all this will be cleared up, right?

You attend the Labor Board hearing, and show the commissioner your records. At this time that key and well liked employee produces another set of time sheets. A “secret” set of time sheets personally kept for years by the employee, showing that he worked a lot more that what he reported on his official time cards. This secret set of time cards documented hours and hours of “missed overtime and breaks” over a period of, well years – he even shows overtime for work he says he performed late at night when your office was closed. All you can think is what is going on? At this point, you go completely numb.

The employee tells the commissioner that he wanted to do a really good job but there wasn’t enough time in the day to keep up without working late at night or from home and tells the commissioner that you as his employer “should have known this.” You can’t remember ever asking your ex-employee to work late at night or from home (off the clock) ever. What was this extra work? What did he do for all those years of overtime?

How will the Labor Board Rule?

More often than not the Labor Board will side with the employee. It is imperative that employers seek the counsel of an experienced Labor Law attorney prior to attending a Labor Board hearing.

Employer’s Case: The employer believed that the company time cards were an accurate record of the the time worked and is therefore completely caught off guard by the extra set of time sheets produced. It must be some kind of mistake. But, at the Labor Board hearing the employee testifies that he never told his employer about the “secret” overtime he worked because he wanted to do a good job, to get everything done, and he didn’t want to lose his job to an assistant who was pining for the title.

Neither the employer nor the employee could document the actual work produced during these years of “overtime” but the Labor Board commissioner was satisfied that in spite of this lack of concrete evidence, the employee seemed earnest and appears sincere in his belief that he did something beneficial for the employer.

Department of Labor Decision: Employee was granted the full amount of his claim, with all penalties and interest. In addition the employer was required to pay back taxes to the IRS for these wages. Further, the Department of Labor included even more interest and penalties due to the employee wait time. This exacerbated the cost to the employer even further, escalating the dollars in interest and penalties (per day for a 30 day period).


It is essential that all employers:

  • Include a mandatory Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury on each time card, signed by the employee, that clearly states the employee swears that the time submitted on the card is accurate, honest and includes ALL time worked for that pay period
  • Mandate in your Policy Manual that non-exempt employees with pre-approved overtime must clock in and clock out, remotely, via e-mail prior to commencing and ending any work performed.
  • Ensure that time sheets are legible, professional and clearly written
  • Ensure employees initial all notes and changes and provide reasons and copies of email approvals for overtime, late, sick and vacation days, in their own handwriting
  • Outline Employee Manuals with language that non-exempt employees are never permitted to work “off clock” for any reason whatsoever, unless pre-approved by management in writing
  • Ensure all non-exempt employees are not permitted to sit at their desks during breaks and/or meals
  • Train management to post break/meal schedules in a public work area and to monitor them accordingly, and ensure breaks and meals are taken timely and in a manner that complies with current labor regulations
  • Provide recurrent reminders to management and employees to never talk about work to an employee that is on a break or meal period
  • Provide a separate defined space for employees to take breaks and meals that is free from work
  • Install time clocks within sight of management to monitor that employees clock in and out in a timely manner and do not clock in and out for another employee
  • Keep up to date employee records that are stored in a locked file or a password protected computer file
  • Seek a professional employment/labor law attorney, such as Beck Law P.C., to prepare and annually update all employee manuals, policies, procedures and employment documents

Can An Employer Fire An Employee For Discussing A Raise?

fire an employee, california labor lawCan an employer fire an employee for discussing a raise? You have a great Office Supervisor that deserves additional compensation for her dependable work. You decide to reward her with a fantastic performance review and an excellent raise. But, because not all of your your employees are exceptional and you have only so much money to go around, you would prefer that the Office Supervisor keep her raise to herself and not share this information with her co-workers. As she leaves your office, you tell her: By the way, I would prefer you not tell anyone about your raise. If you do, it may cause a lot of disruption in the office, and hurt other employee’s feelings. Actually, I need to trust that you will not tell anyone in this office or you may lose your job over it.

From an employer’s point of view, this statement may seem like a good reminder, given what you think about the other employees, how fairly you want to compensate the other employees, and how much you appreciate the hard work and dedication of this particular employee over the others, given that cash flow is tight. You know your business and what your limits are, and you just don’t want to deal with all the other employees’ complaints. The bottom line is you want the raise to go to the person who earned it, you believe it is reasonable to ask that some things remain private, and frankly, you don’t want to have to explain yourself.

Can you say this to your employee? The answer is: NO. In fact, it is illegal.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, employers cannot prevent employees from discussing wages, salaries, raises, evaluations, cuts in pay, bonuses, benefits, or anything related to their employment among themselves. Employees may discuss ALL WORKING conditions among themselves and they are free to organize, share information and band together as a group. As taken from the NLRB website:

“The law we enforce gives employees the right to act together to try to improve their pay and working conditions, with or without a union. If employees are fired, suspended, or otherwise penalized for taking part in protected group activity, the National Labor Relations Board will fight to restore what was unlawfully taken away. These rights were written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act and have been upheld in numerous decisions by appellate courts and by the U.S. Supreme Court”

More specifically, Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act clearly states:

“Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities.”

You may then wonder, can I as an employer discuss one employee’s raise with another employee? The answer is again: NO.

Whereas employees can discuss all work related information with each other, you as an employer must protect the privacy of every employee, and you are not allowed to discuss information regarding one employee with another employee, unless that employee is a supervisor; and even then, information can only be shared that is relevant/necessary for the supervisor to do the job, and nothing more. For example: An employer and a supervisor may discuss an employee’s bonus only if that employee is working directly under that supervisor. An employer may not “tell” an employee anything about another employee’s bonus. [Read more…]

Landmark CA Temporary Worker Protection Law

Fruits warehouseLandmark California temporary worker protection law. This month, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed a new bill into law that will finally hold businesses responsible for situations when subcontracted temporary staffing agencies that a business utilizes underpay and/or endangers temporary workers. The law, previously known as Assembly Bill 1897, was created to address at least some of the accountability issues facing the temporary worker industry. In industries such as food processing and warehousing, outsourcing work to low-paying temporary staffing agencies has become extremely profitable practice for two reasons. First, the cost of using temporary workers is less than the costs associated with utilizing full-time employees. For example, under the Affordable Care Act, businesses are not required to provide health insurance policies for temporary workers, though they are required to cover the costs associated with providing health insurance to full-time employees. Second the use of temporary workers has allowed companies to skirt responsibilities regarding the adherence to workplace regulations and laws. Companies have been able to avoid responsibility for workplace regulation violations even if they are the one’s overseeing the work of temporary employees.

Temporary Worker Protection Law Aims to Curb Abuse of Temporary Worker Status

In the past decade, Southern California’s Inland Empire has become the home to a massive retail distribution industry that has been known to exploit low-wage temporary workers in order to produce a wide assortment of retail products at low costs. These temporary workers have spoken out about the unsafe working conditions and rampant wage theft that they have experienced. Worker advocates and labor unions have criticized the businesses who exploit the labor of California’s temporary workers, and the state has finally decided to take notice with the implementation of the new law specifically created to protect temporary workers.

AB 1897 requires “the client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liabilities when it comes to paying wages to temporary workers. AB 1897 also prohibits client employers who utilize temporary staffing agencies from shifting the legal duties and liabilities associated with workplace safety to the contracted agency. As a result of these regulations, the state of California now has the right to fine businesses when the temporary staffing agencies they have contracted with have violated federal and state workplace laws.

Though it may seem obvious to some that businesses employing temporary staff should be held accountable for violations and bad working conditions that are experienced by temporary workers, the new law has created some discord amongst the business community. In fact, the California Chamber of Commerce has spoken out against AB 1897, stating that the law would “discourage further growth in this state, and will certainly discourage out-of-state companies from [re]locating here.” However, regardless of this dissent, California remains committed to protecting the rights and safety of all California employees regardless of their status as a full-time or temporary employee. In fact, AB 1897 is one of the many labor-friendly laws that has been recently passed in California. Other relevant laws include raising California’s minimum wage to $10 per hour, as well as newly governor-approved bill that will require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave.

If your business needs legal representation in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, or Lake County California contact the attorneys at Beck Law, P.C. We are prepared to help you in any way that we can.


The information on this website should not be considered to be legal advice, nor construed to be the formation of any manner of attorney client relationship. Prior to taking any form of legal action, please consult with an attorney experienced in the appropriate area of law germane to your situation. Case results and testimonials presented on www.californialaborandemploymentlaw.net or any of its related websites are germane to the facts present for each individual case and is not a promise of similar outcomes for any other cases. This website is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California.