BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                     AB 488


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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING


          AB  
          488 (Gonzalez)


          As Amended  January 4, 2016


          Majority vote


           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Labor           |7-0  |Roger HernŠndez,      |                    |
          |                |     |Harper, Chu, Low,     |                    |
          |                |     |McCarty, Patterson,   |                    |
          |                |     |Thurmond              |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 


          SUMMARY:  Eliminates an exemption to the Fair Employment and  
          Housing Act (FEHA) for individuals "employed under a special  
          license in a nonprofit sheltered workshop or rehabilitation  
          facility."  


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Prohibits employment discrimination and harassment on the  
            basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin,  








                                                                     AB 488


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            ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical  
            condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender,  
            gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation,  
            or military and veteran status of the person discriminated  
            against.  (Government Code Section 12940 et seq.)


          2)Provides that "employee" for purposes of these protections  
            does not include any individual employed by his or her  
            parents, spouse, or child, "or any individual employed under a  
            special license in a nonprofit sheltered workshop or  
            rehabilitation facility."


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None.  This bill is currently keyed non-fiscal  
          by Legislative Counsel.


          COMMENTS:  The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)  
          prohibits employment discrimination and harassment of  
          individuals on the basis of specified enumerated categories -  
          race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry,  
          physical disability, mental disability, medical condition,  
          genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender  
          identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or  
          military and veteran status.


          FEHA defines an "employer" as any person regularly employing  
          five or more persons, but does not include a religious  
          association or corporation not organized for private profit.


          FEHA also excludes from the definition of "employee" any  
          individual employed by his or her parents, spouse or child, or  
          "any individual employed under a special license in a nonprofit  
          sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility."










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          According to the author, workers in sheltered workshops and  
          rehabilitation centers are currently excluded from the  
          protections against discrimination and sexual harassment offered  
          by California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.  This leaves  
          workers with disabilities who are employed in these settings no  
          recourse for discrimination based on characteristics like race,  
          religion or gender identity by their employer. 


          The author notes that AB 1443 (Skinner) from 2014 extended  
          FEHA's protections to cover unpaid interns and volunteers,  
          suggesting that these workplace protections are appropriate even  
          for those making less than minimum wage or in a program for a  
          limited time to gain experience. 


          Also, the author notes that, while California has been moving  
          towards competitive and integrated job placements for  
          individuals with disabilities, this does not take away from the  
          fact that it is important for workers in all settings to have  
          legal protections against and recourse from discrimination and  
          harassment.


          The sponsor of this bill, Disability Rights California, states  
          that it would change the Government Code so that individuals  
          with disabilities who are in sheltered work are considered  
          "employees" and are provided the same protections as other  
          employees under FEHA.  They argue that reform is needed to  
          strengthen rights and protections for sheltered workshop  
          employees who work in highly-restrictive environments and  
          currently are not afforded the same protections against  
          discrimination as other employees.




          There is no opposition on file.









                                                                     AB 488


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          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Benjamin Ebbink / L. & E. / (916) 319-2091  FN:  
          0002540