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Danz’ Weekly Five Employee Rights Law Update

In this segment of Danz’ Weekly Five Employee Rights Law Update, we aim to provide our subscribers with a healthy dose of educational and timely information from recent cases or new laws. Enjoy.

(1) Unpaid interns and volunteers are now considered employees when it comes to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Accordingly, companies may not harass, discriminate, or retaliate against them based on characteristics such as race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetics, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status. (AB 1443.) Paid interns, apprentices and trainees are already covered (and protected) by California Government Code Sec. 12940.

(2) Your employer is obligated to improve alleged workplace safety and health hazards or face stiff penalties (AB 1634.)

(3) Client employers are not liable for any unlawful actions taken by third party labor contractors against workers. (AB 1897.) In the past, employers who were clients of these third party labor services companies were not liable for the services company’s transgressions against their workers. Now, the employers are on the hook.

(4) Minor workers now receive the protection of the tolling (or delaying) of the statute of limitation which may bar certain claims for unlawful labor practices against the minors until the minor attains the legal working age. The new law authorizes an award of tripe damages to a worker who was harassed, discriminated against, or retaliated against while he or she was a minor.

(5) As the weather heats up, the sun shines brighter for Employee Rights. In 2015, employees are receiving more rights when it comes to escaping the hot California sun. Specifically, employers now must provide the employees with mandatory paid rest breaks to avoid heat-illnesses. These so called “recovery periods” are now also included under the Labor Code (Section 226.7) definition of meal and rest breaks. Violation of these periods will cost the employers an additional hour of pay for each day that the break is not provided to the employee.

If you believe that you have suffered from any of the prohibited employer activities discussed above, contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates to discuss your claim and legal options. See our other award-winning blogs here.