Q: As a human sources skilled, yearly I brace myself for brand new employment legal guidelines that have an effect on my enterprise. What are among the new legal guidelines we have to learn about for 2022?
A: On the brand new employment legal guidelines entrance, the 2021 legislative session was comparatively quiet in comparison with 2019 and 2020. As all the time, the governor signed new employment legal guidelines, together with the next, which take impact on Jan. 1, 2022, except in any other case famous.
California Household Rights Act: In January, the California Household Rights Act was expanded to use to employers with 5 or extra workers. Meeting Invoice 1033 clarifies that workers can take California Household Rights Act go away to take care of a parent-in-law. AB 1033 additionally revises the small employer (5 to 19 workers) mediation program, making participation on this program a prerequisite to the worker submitting a civil motion. This could profit small companies by permitting them to deal with California Household Rights Act disputes by mediation relatively than pricey civil litigation.
Growth of Cal-OSHA Enforcement: Senate Invoice 606 expands the enforcement authority of the California Division of Occupational Security and Well being (Cal-OSHA) by creating two new violations classes for which Cal-OSHA can concern citations — “enterprise-wide” and “egregious” violations. SB 606 creates a rebuttable presumption that employers with a number of worksites have made “enterprise-wide” office security violations if both of the next are true:
1. The employer has a written coverage or process that violates any of the next:
• Well being and Security Code Part 25910 (governing using asbestos),
• Any commonplace, rule, order, or regulation established by the Occupational Security and Well being Requirements Board, or
• Any commonplace, rule, order, or regulation established pursuant to the California Occupational Security and Well being Act of 1973.
2. Cal-OSHA has proof of a sample or follow of the identical violations involving greater than one of many employer’s worksites.
An “egregious” violation applies to employers based mostly on a number of components together with an intensive historical past of violations or a excessive damage and sickness price amongst staff. The legislation units the utmost penalty for an enterprise-wide violation or a willful or repeated violation of occupational security or well being requirements at $123,709 per violation.
COVID-19: AB 654 is a clean-up invoice that clarified final yr’s COVID-19 office publicity notification and reporting necessities. AB 654 was an urgency measure that took impact instantly upon signing on Oct. 5. When an employer receives discover of a possible COVID-19 publicity within the office, the employer should, inside one enterprise day, present sure workers with written discover of (1) the potential publicity, (2) info on COVID-19-related advantages, and (3) info on the disinfection and security plans that the employer plans to implement. Amongst different modifications, AB 654 clarifies that the employer’s obligation is to offer info on COVID-19-related advantages and the disinfection and security info by sending discover to workers who had been “on the premises on the identical worksite because the qualifying particular person throughout the infectious interval.” This invoice additionally revises the time-frame through which employers should give discover of COVID-19 outbreaks to native public well being businesses from 48 hours to “inside 48 hours or one enterprise day, whichever is later.”
On the horizon: Employers ought to proceed to watch COVID-19 regulatory developments. In compliance with President Biden’s order, the federal Occupational Security and Well being Administration might be issuing rules mandating vaccines. It’s anticipated that the Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Momentary Normal will then be revised by December to undertake an equal or extra stringent commonplace relevant in California.
Sara Boyns is a lawyer with Fenton & Keller in Monterey. This column is meant to reply questions of basic curiosity and shouldn’t be construed as authorized recommendation. Mail queries to “Office Regulation,” c/o The Monterey Herald, Field 271, Monterey 93942 or to electronic firstname.lastname@example.org.