Publication Details

The California Legislative Report - September 2021

Sep 13, 2021 | Related Attorney Michael S. Kalt | Topic: Employment

The deadline for the California Legislature to pass bills expired on September 10, 2021, and as expected, a number of employment-related bills were forwarded to Governor Gavin Newsom to sign or veto.  These include bills that would:

  • Amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to allow employers to provide a voluntary hiring preference for veterans (SB 665);
  • Expand the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to allow time off to care for a “parent-in-law” (AB 1033);
  • Prohibit confidentiality provisions in a settlement agreement involving any form of FEHA harassment or discrimination, and extend these prohibitions to separation or severance agreements (SB 331);
  • Expand from two years to four years the retention period for certain employment records (SB 807);
  • Clarify several aspects of an employer’s notice obligations related to COVID-19 exposure at work (AB 654); and
  • Define intentional wage deprivation as “grand theft” for criminal prosecution purposes (AB 1003).

As always, there were a number of other employment bills that stalled in 2021, including those that would expand the CFRA leave to non-family member “designated persons” (AB 1041), expressly authorize employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates (AB 1102), seal felony conviction records (SB 731), and allow employers to provide tax-favored student loan repayment assistance (AB 116).  These bills remain pending given California’s two-year legislative cycle, and may re-emerge in 2022.

Looking ahead, Governor Newsom has until October 10, 2021 to sign or veto any of the bills passed by the California Legislature.  Accordingly, below is an overview of the employment bills currently on Governor Newsom’s desk, with some predictions for the likelihood of their enaction.

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