(October 9, 2023) Governor Gavin Newsom last night took action on several labor and workplace-related California Chamber of Commerce priority bills, vetoing two job killer bills and three opposed bills.
One of the job killers would have imposed an onerous return to work mandate, and the other would have created a new protected class of employees based on a “caregiver status.”
“We are grateful that Governor Newsom heard and understood the concerns of employers about these costly and burdensome bills. These four proposals would have created significant challenges for many California companies, adding unnecessary costs, discouraging hiring, and increasing litigation,” CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera said in a statement this morning.
The Governor also signed AB 647 (Holden; D-Pasadena), a job killer bill that creates a new private right of action on grocery employers.
The following bills were vetoed:
- Job Killer Bill AB 524 (Wicks; D-Oakland): Would have exposed employers to costly litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act by asserting that any adverse employment action was in relation to the employee’s family caregiver status, which was broadly defined to include any employee who provides direct care to a family member or any designated person of their choosing and creates a de facto accommodation requirement that will burden small businesses.
- Job Killer Bill SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles): Would have imposed an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for nearly every industry, including hospitals, retail, restaurants, and movie theaters, which would have delayed hiring and eliminated contracts for at-will employment.
- Oppose Bill AB 1213 (Ortega; D-San Leandro): Would have required tolling of temporary disability payments if Utilization Review decision is overturned during Independent Medical Review, which would have drastically increased the number of unnecessary Independent Medical Review requests and was unnecessary in light of data supporting accuracy of Utilization Review decisions.
- Oppose Bill AB 1356 (Haney; D-San Francisco): Would have significantly expanded the WARN Act by increasing notice period, changing definition of covered establishment, and expanding applicability to workers under overly broad definition of “employee of a labor contractor.”
- Oppose Bill SB 725 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles): Would have unnecessarily required grocery stores to pay mandatory severance, which should be left to the discretion of the employer.
Signed Job Killer Bill
Job killer bill AB 647 (Holden; D-Pasadena) significantly expands statute related to successor grocery employers, including disrupting the ability for independent small stores to join together and creating a significant new private right of action.
AB 647 grants employees, collective bargaining representatives and nonprofit corporations the ability to bring an action in superior court for violations of an employee’s new rights under this bill. The bill remedies include hiring and reinstatement rights, front pay or back pay for each day during which the violation continues, the value of the benefits the employee would have received under any benefit plans, and attorney’s fees and costs to any employee or employee representative.