BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 1509 (Roger HernŠndez) - Employees:  protected disclosures  
          and complaints:  retaliation
          
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          |Version: April 27, 2015         |Policy Vote: L. & I.R. 3 - 1,   |
          |                                |          JUD. 5 - 2            |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: July 6, 2015      |Consultant: Robert Ingenito     |
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          This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File.




          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 1509 would extend current-law employment  
          retaliation protections to an employee who is a family member of  
          a person who engaged in, or is perceived to have engaged in,  
          legally protected conduct.


          Fiscal  
          Impact: The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) indicates  
          that it would incur administrative costs (special funds) of  
          $120,000 in the first year, and $112,000 ongoing to implement  
          the provisions of the bill.


          Background:  Current law prohibits an employer from discharging,  







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          retaliating, or taking other adverse employment action against  
          an employee because the employee has engaged in protected  
          conduct, as specified, such as filing a complaint or claim with  
          the Labor Commissioner. Additionally, AB 1897 (Roger HernŠndez),  
          Chapter 728, Statutes of 2014, established client employer  
          liability for certain violations for workers provided by a labor  
          contractor.  AB 1897 defined a "client employer" to mean a  
          business entity that obtains or is provided workers to perform  
          labor within its usual course of business from a labor  
          contractor.


          Proposed Law:  
           This bill would amend current law related to employment  
          retaliation to extend protections to an employee who is a family  
          member of a person who engaged in, or is perceived to have  
          engaged in, protected conduct, as specified. Specifically, the  
          bill would do the following.
                 Prohibit an employer, or a person acting on behalf of  
               the employer, from retaliating against an employee because  
               he/she is a family member of a person who has, or is  
               perceived to have, engaged in any protected activity under  
               existing law.


                 Provide that "employer" or "person acting on behalf of  
               the employer" for purposes of these employment retaliation  
               provisions includes a "client employer" or a "controlling  
               employer," as currently specified. 


                 Specify that these provisions do not apply to claims  
               that are a result of demotion, suspension, or discharge  
               from employment for lawful conduct occurring during  
               nonworking hours away from the employer's premises, unless  
               the lawful conduct involves the exercise of employee rights  
               otherwise covered in law.




          Staff  
          Comments: In 2013, the Labor Commissioner received 3,514  
          complaints of employer retaliation, a number that is likely  








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          understated. Current law does not address retaliation protection  
          in cases where multiple family members work for the same  
          employer. Situations have occurred where one employee engaged in  
          protected activity, but the employer retaliated against the  
          employee's co-worker family member (such as terminating the  
          family member in retaliation for the others employee's protected  
          activity).  Current law is unclear about whether such conduct is  
          unlawful.  In at least one recent case (Su v. Siemens), current  
          law was deemed not to extend protection in such a situation.  In  
          that case, a construction foreman made several safety-related  
          complaints, and the employer terminated the employer's son, who  
          also happened to be employed by the same employer. 
          DIR anticipates increased administrative costs of $120,000 in  
          the first year, and $112,000 ongoing to process additional  
          complaints resulting from the bill. 




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