NEWS & INSIGHTS
Sacramento Partner Interviews on New California Laws for 2023
In a podcast interview with NFIB, Ben Ebbink shares his insight on new California laws that will take effect in 2023.
When discussing Senate Bill 1162, Ben notes that this new pay transparency law has unclear requirements and has the potential to lay some Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) traps with penalties as high as $100,000 for a single faulty job posting that failed to contain the proper salary information.
Ben believes that Assembly Bill 1949 and Assembly Bill 1041, two leave laws, can be challenging for small businesses to implement due to their lack of staffing.
For Assembly Bill 2188, Ben explains, "It basically says you can’t take adverse action against employees for lawful, off-duty use of cannabis, even if they fail a metabolite test. This is the kind of test that doesn’t necessarily show THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but it shows metabolite which may be in their system."
Assembly Bill 257, which would have transferred the power to set wage and workplace conditions to a new state agency, was nullified by a referendum until November 2024.
To listen to the podcast, visit NFIB.
Ben Ebbink Interviews on Top California Law Changes for 2023
HR Dive taps Ben Ebbink for insight on three major California employment laws pending for 2023. Ben discusses SB1162 (pay transparency), AB1041 (leave requirements), and SB1044 (retaliation in emergency conditions), and discusses what employers need to know about each. As the new year approaches and these laws go into effect, Ben says that he is fielding numerous calls from clients on how to comply.
To read the article visit HR Dive.
Sacramento Partner Discusses California’s New Workplace Laws
In an interview with Northern California Record, Ben Ebbink shares his insights on the latest California workplace legislation, particularly bills AB 257 and AB 2183. He describes these laws as “significant” and explains that they continue the trend of imposing new requirements and mandates on employers, many of whom are still struggling from the economic impacts of the pandemic. Ben also notes that with most of the legislation taking effect early next year, it’s important for businesses to monitor any changes they’ll need to adopt. He urges employers who are not in California to pay attention because "what happens in California does not stay in California."
To read the article visit Northern California Record.
Sacramento Partner Discusses California’s New Pay Transparency Laws
In interviews with Law360 and Sacramento Business Journal, Ben Ebbink shares his insights on California’s Pay Transparency for Pay Equity Act, recently signed into law by Gov. Newsom, that implements pay transparency laws in an attempt to close gender and race-related gaps. Ben explains that for many employers, it might just be easier to default to salary disclosure for all job postings at this point. "For those big national employers, when you have big states like California and New York do this, I think it does create an argument that this tipping point has been reached, and it's easier to do this across the board,” said Ben.
To read the article visit Law360 and Sacramento Business Journal (subscription required).
Sacramento Partner Discusses California’s New Leave Laws
In an interview with Bloomberg Law, Ben Ebbink discusses California’s new laws expanding private sector leave benefits. Ben cautions employers around the country to take note because laws addressing leave benefits that are created in California often spread into other states. He reminds employers that “what happens in California doesn’t stay in California.”
To read the article visit Bloomberg Law (subscription required).
California Partner Discusses Pending Case That Could Decide Employer Liability for Take-Home COVID-19 Exposure
In an interview with McKnight’s Senior Living, Benjamin Ebbink shares his insight on a pending California Supreme Court decision that could make California employers liable if an employee brings COVID-19 home to their families from the workplace. This comes after an employee alleged that they contracted COVID-19 at work and brought it home to a family member who then contracted it.
Ben urges employers in high-exposure industries like healthcare or long-term care to pay attention to this case to determine if they will be affected. The case could be a bellwether of how other states might rule on similar matters.
To read the article visit McKnight’s Senior Living.
California Attorney Discusses Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance
In an interview with Law360, Ben Ebbink shares his insight on the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance. The law requires hotels with 45 or more guest rooms to pay housekeepers double for all hours worked in a day when they clean more than 4,000 square feet, and hotels with at least 60 guest rooms to pay double after 3,500 square feet. The law is meant to address worker safety and wage and hour issues impacting workers in the hospitality industry.
Similar laws are popping up in major cities across the country and Ben explains how even subtle differences between the various hotel worker laws can make compliance challenging for employers operating in multiple jurisdictions.
To read the article visit Law360 (subscription required).
Ben Ebbink Interviews on California Legislation That May Impact Employers in 2022
In an interview with Law360, Benjamin Ebbink shares his insight on bills heading through California's state legislature that employment attorneys should have on their radar in the second half of 2022.
Among those is AB 2188, which makes it unlawful for employers to take adverse action against workers in California based on their off-duty use of cannabis. If passed, Ben says the challenge for employers in implementing the bill will be navigating testing for whether employees are still impaired at work from using cannabis during their off-duty hours.
In addition to AB211, California is aiming to join New York and Colorado in implementing salary transparency laws. SB 1162 outlines provisions requiring businesses with at least 15 employees to provide a pay scale for jobs in any postings. Ben points out that pay transparency requirements could create challenges for some employers amid a tight labor market if they post wide ranges or disclose salary ranges lower than what other companies post for similar jobs. Overall, he believes the question for employers as more states enact similar laws — especially a big state like California — will be to decide whether to disclose salary ranges across all their operations, especially since hiring often occurs across state lines.
To read the article visit Law360 (subscription required).
Labor & Employment Law Daily Publishes Fisher Phillips’ Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Article
Phillip Bauknight and Ben Ebbink’s Insight “The Move to the Mainstream Continues: California Lawmaker Wants to Use Blockchain to Combat Unemployment Fraud” was recently republished by Wolters Kluwer’s Labor & Employment Law Daily as an Expert Insight.
Their article outlines why a California lawmaker wants to deploy blockchain technology to fight against unemployment fraud. Phil and Ben detail the current proposal and explain its significance of creating another potential avenue for the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology – this time through the use by state agencies.
To read the article visit Labor & Employment Law Daily.
Ben Ebbink Previews Employment Legislation in California with SHRM
In an interview with SHRM, Ben Ebbink offers a preview of major legislation that could potentially impact the California workplace. Many of these proposed laws center on employee privacy, but some also touch on cannabis use, pay transparency and the four-day workweek.
“One law would give employees the right to review and correct any data collected from them and limit how that data is used,” Ben explained. “Another would extend the exemption of employee data from the broader CCPA. Making permanent this exemption, which is set to expire, will be a big focus of the state legislature,” Ben added.
As for a possible four-day workweek, Ben said while the proposal has generated plenty of “buzz,” it may be relegated to the status of an “interesting discussion piece.”
To read the article visit SHRM.
Forbes Interviews Sacramento Partner About California’s Proposed Salary Transparency Law
In an interview with Forbes, Ben Ebbink discusses California’s proposed salary transparency law, which would require employers with at least 250 employees to post a detailed breakdown of workers’ salaries. While there have been similar laws enacted in New York City and Colorado, California’s law would up the ante by requiring employers to post the data publicly. Ben questions whether the portion of the bill making pay data reports public will pass without amendments, but he warns that any version of the bill that does pass will likely have a “multiplier effect” for employers across the nation.
To read the article visit Forbes (subscription required).
Sacramento Partner Discusses New Workplace-related Bills Up for Consideration During California’s 2022 Legislative Session
Ben Ebbink was interviewed by the LA Daily Journal about a “raft of new bills” proposed in California related to discrimination, work leave, information disclosure, and COVID-19.
“Friday [Feb. 18] was the deadline to introduce bills,” he said. “That’s why we saw a bunch the last couple of days of last week. There’s a ton of spot bills too – we could have a ton of significant proposals put into those.”
Ben said that employers are closely tracking measures related to the pandemic ahead of the 2022 legislative session, particularly AB 2993, a vaccine mandate for large employers, and AB 2693, a bill that would extend employers’ duty to notify workers about COVID exposure for two years.
“I do think there are some employers who have decided to mandate vaccines who would enjoy the cover of it being a mandate from the government, because that kind of protects them from employees who are upset that they made the decision,” he said.
Read the full article in the LA Daily Journal (subscription required).
Sacramento Partner Forecasts a Renewed Push to Review California’s COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law
In a SHRM article urging employers to audit their pay practices for compliance with federal, state and local laws, Ben Ebbink weighed in on the expiration of California’s statewide COVID-19 supplemental paid-sick-leave law.
Ben said that “employers could see a renewed push in the state Legislature to revive the benefit as the coronavirus pandemic continues.”
The article also discussed minimum wage changes, exempt salary thresholds, and other pandemic-related rules set to change in 2022.
Read the full article in SHRM (subscription required).