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A number of new California laws impacting employers took effect at the start of the New Year. Here is the final installment of Hunt Ortmann Employment Law Group’s three-part series summarizing key developments in each of the newly-enacted bills:
AB 1565- Direct Contractor Liability for Wages/Benefits Owed to Subcontractor Employees (Revisions to Labor Code section 218.7)
AB 1565 was signed into law to clarify certain portions of Labor Code section 218.7, which went into effect January 1, 2018. Section 218.7 holds direct contractors liable, under certain types of construction contracts, for unpaid wages, benefits, or contributions that a subcontractor owes to its workers. AB 1565 provides that in order to withhold disputed payments, the direct contractor must specify in its contract with the subcontractor, what documents and information that the subcontractor is required to provide.This new provision specifies the exact nature of subcontractors’ obligations and what they must do to avoid withholding of payments. In addition, under AB 1565, subcontractors may include the same requirements in their contracts with lower-tiered subcontractors and may withhold disputed sums owed. AB 1565 also repeals a prior provision in Section 218.7 that the direct contractor’s liability for unpaid wages or benefits is in addition to any other existing rights and remedies. The bill went into effect immediately due to the need to resolve the confusion created by the existing language.
SB 1300- Expanded Harassment Liability
SB 1300 expanded liability for workplace harassment claims as follows:
AB 3109- Voids Waivers of Right to Testify About Alleged Criminal Conduct or Sexual Harassment
AB 3109 renders unenforceable any provision in a contract or settlement agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2019, that prevents or otherwise waives a party’s right to testify in an administrative, legislative or judicial proceeding about alleged criminal conduct or sexual harassment, on the part of the other party to the contract or settlement agreement, or on the part of the agents or employees of the other party, when the party has been required or requested to attend the proceeding pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or written request from an administrative agency or the legislature.
AB 3247- Amendment to California Arbitration Act
AB 3247 amends the California Arbitration Act (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1280 et seq.), specifically, section 1281.2 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Effective January 1, 2019, section 1281.2 will now state that a court may not enforce an arbitration agreement if “grounds exist for rescission of the agreement, [emphasis added]” as opposed to the prior language which called for “grounds [to] exist for the revocation of the agreement [emphasis added].”
For more information about these new laws, please contact the Hunt Ortmann Employment Law Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.