Can an employer require an employee to sign an arbitration agreement that waives the employee's right to bring a PAGA action? That depends on who you ask.
On September 28, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1897 (click here for a copy), adding Section 2810.3 to the California Labor Code. Under the new law, any business entity that obtains workers from a "labor contractor" (such as a staffing agency) shares - along with the staffing agency - all legal responsibility and liability for both (1) payment of those workers' wages, and (2) any failure to obtain valid workers' compensation coverage for those workers. The law defines "workers" as those employees who are not exempt from payment of overtime under California law (such as exempt professional, administrative, or executive employees), and defines "labor contractor" as any individual or entity (such as a staffing agency) that supplies businesses with workers to perform labor for that business's regular and customary work.
On September 30, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 802 (click here for a copy). The new law applies to all consumer arbitrations commenced on or after January 1, 2015, and requires all private arbitration companies to collect, publish (on a quarterly basis), and make available to the public information in the form of a single cumulative report. The report must be available on the arbitration company's website, and in hardcopy form, and must contain all of the following information regarding every single consumer arbitration within the preceding five years:
California's discrimination and harassment law has been expanded to include protections for unpaid volunteers and interns. Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill expanding the protections which are afforded to paid employees to also include unpaid volunteers (see here).
Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that expands employer training obligations to include prevention of "abusive conduct" in addition to already existing law concerning training supervisors about harassment and discrimination (see here).
This week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the "Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014" (see here).
According to an important recent California court decision, companies with either formal or informal "Bring Your Own Device" ("BYOD") policies - meaning that employees bring their own personal cell phones to work to double as work cell phones - are required under California law to reimburse employees for work-related calls that employees make on their personal cell phones.
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