BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  SB 666
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   August 21, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                  SB 666 (Steinberg) - As Amended:  August 5, 2013 

          Policy Committee:                             JudiciaryVote:7-0
                       Labor                                  7-0

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

           SUMMARY  

          This bill prohibits retaliation against an employee seeking to  
          exercise their employment rights, based on their citizenship  
          status. Specifically, this bill:

          1)Stipulates that a business license is subject to suspension or  
            revocation if an employee attempts to exercise any employment  
            right or other condition protected under state law and the  
            employer (licensee) retaliates or threatens to retaliate  
            against the employee based on the employee's citizenship or  
            immigration status.

          2)Stipulates that a member of the State Bar is subject to  
            suspension, disbarment, or other discipline for reporting or  
            threatening to report to a government agency the immigration  
            status of a witness or party to a civil or administrative  
            action, or of his or her family member, because the witness or  
            party has exercised an employment right.

            1)Adds a prohibition against retaliation or adverse action to  
            the existing law forbidding any person to discriminate against  
            any employee or applicant for employment because the employee  
            or applicant engaged in any conduct delineated in Labor Code  
            Chapter 4 (enforcement of labor standards) or Chapter 5  
            (political activity), or because the employee has filed a bona  
            fide complaint or claim to his or her rights under the  
            jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner, or because the  
            employee has initiated a private action pursuant to Labor Code  
            Section 2699, or has testified or is about to testify in a  
            proceeding pursuant to that section, or because of the  
            exercise by the employee or applicant for employment on behalf  








                                                                  SB 666
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            of himself, herself, or others of any rights afforded him or  
            her. In addition to other remedies available, an employer who  
            violates this section is liable for a civil penalty not  
            exceeding $10,000 per employee for each violation of this  
            section. 

          3)Expands the protected conducted per (3) to include an employee  
            making a written or oral complaint that he or she is owned  
            unpaid wages.

          4)Provides that an individual does not have to first exhaust  
            administrative remedies or procedures prior to bringing a  
            civil action under Labor Code, unless the code section under  
            which the action is brought expressly requires exhaustion.

          5)Prohibits any person acting on behalf of an employer from  
            making, adopting, or enforcing any rule, regulation, or policy  
            preventing an employee from disclosing information to a 

            government or law enforcement agency.  Current law contains  
            these prohibitions with respect to the employer.

          6)Prohibits an employer or any person acting on behalf of the  
            employer from providing information to, or testifying before,  
            any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or  
            inquiry.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), within the  
            Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), and the courts will  
            see increased costs to the extent additional complaints are  
            filed with the Labor Commissioner and civil actions are  
            commenced. The DIR anticipates that the bill's provisions will  
            deter a large majority of potential violations. The department  
            estimates that, if only a small fraction of undocumented  
            workers take action for alleged violations, however, about 800  
            cases could be filed with the DLSE or the courts. Assuming  
            five percent of these complaints are filed with DLSE, and 80%  
            are accepted for investigation (the same percentage as for  
            current claims), there would be about 30 additional cases  
            annually. The department believes that this total would be  
            further reduced by two-thirds due to the bill's provision that  
            administrative remedies not be exhausted prior to bringing a  
            civil action. The result will be only minor additional special  








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            fund costs (less than $100,000 annually) associated with a few  
            additional complaint investigations.[Labor Enforcement and  
            Compliance Fund] 

          2)Costs in court time for the over 700 complaints filed with the  
            court instead of DIR would likely total several hundred  
            thousand to a few million dollars annually. These costs are  
            covered in the budgets of the trial courts. Though trial court  
            budgets have been significantly constrained in recent years,  
            this relatively small number of cases, on a statewide basis  
            would not increase pressure on trial court budgets.

           COMMENTS  

           1)Purpose  . According to the author, "Our current state statutory  
            scheme does little to deter a law-breaking boss or business  
            from using the immigration status of the worker, co-worker, or  
            family member to create an atmosphere of fear to prevent  
            workers from demanding their rights in the workplace.  Our  
            state statutes do not deter an unscrupulous employer from  
            retaliating against a worker by calling immigration  
            authorities when that worker demands that the employer comply  
            with California's labor laws.  This bill is needed to empower  
            workers to exercise their rights under California law without  
            fear that employers will retaliate by reporting their  
            immigration status or that of their family members to  
            government officials.  [This bill] will deter unscrupulous  
            employers from violating the rights of immigrant workers  
            laboring in California and therefore lift the veil of silence  
            in the workplace."

           2)There is no known opposition to this bill  .

           3)Related Legislation  . AB 263 (HernŠndez), a similar bill, is  
            pending in Senate Appropriations.


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081