BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 400
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   August 14, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                   SB 400 (Jackson) - As Amended:  August 6, 2013 

          Policy Committee:                             Labor and  
          Employment   Vote:                            4-1
                       Judiciary                              6-1

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No

           SUMMARY 

          This bill prohibits an employer from discriminating or  
          retaliating against an employee who is a victim of stalking, and  
          requires the employer to make reasonable accommodations in a  
          timely manner for an employee who is a victim of domestic  
          violence (DV), sexual assault, or stalking, if the victim  
          provides notice to the employer of the status or the employer  
          has actual knowledge of the status.  Further prohibits an  
          employer from retaliating against a victim for requesting a  
          reasonable accommodation.   Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Defines reasonable accommodations as including the  
            implementation of safety measures (e.g., transfer,  
            reassignment, modified schedule, changed work  
            telephone/station, installation of locks, assistance in  
            documenting the violence, assault, or stalking, etc.).   
            Specifies an employer is not required to provide a reasonable  
            accommodation to an employee who has not disclosed his or her  
            status as a victim of DV, sexual assault, or stalking.  

          2)Requires an employee requesting a reasonable accommodation to  
            provide the employer with a written statement signed by the  
            employee, upon the employer's request, certifying the  
            accommodation is because he or she is a victim of DV, sexual  
            assault, or stalking, as specified.  Further authorizes an  
            employer to request certification demonstrating he or she is a  
            victim, as specified.  

          3)Requires a verbal or written statement, police/court record,  
            or other documentation provided to an employer identifying the  








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            employee as a victim of DV, sexual assault, or stalking to be  
            maintained as confidential by the employer and not be  
            disclosed, except as required by federal or state law, as  
            specified.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          GF administrative costs, likely between $180,000 and $200,000,  
          to the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) within  
          the Department of Industrial Relations to enforce this measure.   
          These costs are associated with processing, reviewing, and  
          investigating new claims.  This cost may increase if a  
          regulatory process is needed to implement this measure.  

           SUMMARY CONTINUED

           4)Specifies an employee who is fired or threatened with being  
            fired, demoted, suspended , or discriminated against because  
            he or she is a DV, sexual assault, or stalking victim  
            (including requesting and receiving a reasonable  
            accommodation) be entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement  
            for lost wages/benefits, as specified.  

          5)Extends current law protections regarding taking time off from  
            work to deal with issues related to DV and sexual assault to  
            stalking issues.  

           COMMENTS  

           1)Background  .  Current law prohibits an employer from  
            discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against an  
            employee who is a victim of DV or sexual assault for taking  
            time off from work, as specified.  If the employee has an  
            unscheduled absence due to DV or sexual assault issues,  
            statute also prohibits the employer from taking action against  
            the employee if he or she provides certification.   
            Certification includes a police report, a court order, or  
            documentation from a medical professional, health care  
            provider, counselor, DV or sexual assault advocate.        

            Statute also establishes an employee who is discharged,  
            threatened with discharge, demoted, suspended, or  
            discriminated against by his or her employer for taking time  
            off for DV or sexual assault purposes is entitled to  
            reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work  








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            benefits.  

            Existing law also authorizes an employee to file a complaint  
            with DLSE if the employee is discharged, threatened with  
            discharge, demoted, or suspended for excersing his or her  
            rights related to DV or sexual assault specified above.  

            Current law prohibits an employer with 25 or more employees  
            from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against an  
            employee who is a DV or sexual assault victim for taking time  
            off from work for specified purposes.  

           2)Purpose  .  The author cites a study completed by the Legal Aid  
            Society- Employment Law Center, sponsor of this bill, that  
            states nearly 40% of survivors in California reported either  
            being fired or fearing termination due to domestic violence.

            According to the author, "Existing law does not expressly  
            prohibit employment discrimination based on a victim's status  
            as a survivor of [DV], sexual assault, or stalking.  Nor does  
            it provide the right to reasonable accommodations (such as a  
            new office extension number), which are often necessary to  
            enable victims to maintain employment, and consequently,  
            economic independence at a time when it is of utmost  
            importance."  

            In April 2012, President Obama issued a memorandum to all  
            federal agencies and departments to establish policies to  
            address the effects of DV in the workplace.  According to the  
            president, "The effects of [DV] spill over into the workplace.  
            The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that  
            [DV] costs our nation $8 billion a year in lost productivity  
            and health care costs alone, and other studies have suggested  
            that the full economic impact is even higher. Moreover, many  
            victims of [DV] report being harassed in the workplace or  
            experiencing other employment-related effects."


            This bill prohibits an employer from discriminating or  
            retailing against an employee who is a victim of stalking and  
            requires the employer to make reasonable accommodations in a  
            timely manner for an employee who is a victim of DV, sexual  
            assault, or stalking.  

           3)Similar legislation  . SB 288 (Lieu), pending on the Assembly  








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            Floor, prohibits an employer from firing, discriminating, or  
            retaliating against an employee who is a victim of specified  
            crimes for talking time off work to appear in court to be  
            heard in any proceeding, as specified.    

           4)Previous legislation  .  AB 1740 (V.M. Perez), similar to this  
            measure, was held on this committee's Suspense File in May  
            2012.  


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Kimberly Rodriguez / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081