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New California Employment Laws in 2021

Many new employment laws that affect both employees and employers went into effect on January 1, 2021. Our attorneys discuss a few of these new California employment laws in 2021 below.

SB 1383: California Family Rights Act Expanded to Small Employers

Senate Bill 1383 expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to apply to most California employers. SB 1383 requires any California employer with five or more employees to allow an eligible employee up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, protected leave, during any 12-month period to:

  • Bond with his or her new child
  • Care for his or herself, a child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner

In addition, if both parents of a child are employed with the employer, then the employer must grant both parents leave. In order to be eligible for leave, an employee must have at least 1,250 service hours with the employer during the previous 12-month period.

You can read more about SB 1383 here.

AB 2017: Employees Have Full Discretion Over Kin Care Sick Leave

AB 2017 amends Section 233 of the California Labor Code. It states that an employee has sole discretion about the designation of sick leave used for:

  • Diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition
  • Preventative care for him or herself
  • Preventative care of a family member

It also applies to employees who are victims of:

  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking

AB 2992: Expanded Protections for Victims of Crime or Abuse

Assembly Bill 2992 amends and expands Section 230 of the California Labor Code. It provides greater protections to employees who have been the victims of crime or abuse. It prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees for taking time off work to:

  • Get relief or attempt to get relief, as prescribed
  • Seek medical attention for injuries caused by crime or abuse
  • Get services from prescribed entities
  • Get psychological counseling or mental health services
  • Participate in safety planning
  • Take other actions to increase safety from future crime or abuse

It also expands the definitions of “victim” to any employee who is the victim of:

  • Stalking
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault
  • A crime that caused physical injury
  • A crime that caused mental injury and a threat of physical injury
  • Losing an immediate family member as the direct result of a crime

AB 979: Diversity Requirements for Boards of Directors

Assembly Bill 979 applies to publicly held corporations that have its principal executive office located in California. AB 979 requires that these corporations have at least one director from an underrepresented community by no later than the end of the 2021 calendar year.

A director of an underrepresented community means an individual who self-identifies as any of the following:

  • Black
  • African American
  • Hispanic
  • Latino
  • Asian
  • Pacific Islander
  • Native American
  • Native Hawaiian
  • Alaska Native
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Transgender

AB 1947: Whistleblowers Awarded Attorneys’ Fees

Assembly Bill 1947 allows a court to award reasonable attorneys’ fees to whistleblower plaintiffs who bring successful actions against an employer for violations of Section 1102.5 of the California Labor Code.

AB 1947 also extends the amount of time an individual has to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) from six months to one year.

AB 2143: No Rehire Clauses

Assembly Bill 2143 amends the law to allow no-hire provisions in settlement agreements of employment disputes if the aggrieved employee has engaged in sexual harassment, sexual assault or criminal conduct. However, the employer must have made a documented, good faith determination of these actions before the employee filed a claim.

Discuss Your Situation With Our Los Angeles Employment Lawyers

The Los Angeles employment attorneys at Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP handle many types of employment disputes, including harassmentdiscrimination and retaliation. If you are facing an employment dispute, we encourage you to reach out to us to discuss your unique situation. You can call us at (310) 499-0140 or fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch with you soon.