MCLE Self-Study: New Employment Laws for 2016
By Michael S. Kalt and David J. Duchrow
Michael S. Kalt is a partner at Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP in San Diego, and represents employers against discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour claims. David J. Duchrow is a principal in Duchrow & Piano, LLP in Santa Monica, and represents employees, including in class action, union, and public sector matters.
A new year in California inevitably ushers in new employment laws, and 2016 will prove no exception. However, there was a slight drop-off in both the number and scope of these new laws, with nothing being on par with the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (AB 1522) enacted in 2014. Indeed, Governor Brown vetoed a seemingly higher-than-normal number of employment laws, including bills that would have materially expanded the California Family Rights Act (SB 406) and invalidated most employment arbitration agreements (AB 465).
Whether this slowdown is simply a one-time aberration or reflects a longer trend – perhaps flowing from the moderating impact of California’s new "jungle primary" rules – remains to be seen. For now, California employers, employees, labor unions, and attorneys should be mindful of the new laws that were enacted. Accordingly, discussed below are the new laws of general application for California employers, followed by those particularly applicable to public agencies. Unless otherwise noted, each new law became effective January 1, 2016.