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New California laws close loopholes, address labor contractor issues

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

A flurry of bills signed at the end of the 2014 legislative session attempted to clarify liability in cases of joint employment.

AB 1897 extends liability for wage, Cal/OSHA and workers’ compensation violations to companies using contracted labor from staffing agencies and other labor contractors. The bill aims to address the increasing use of long-term temporary workers in place of regular employees by creating joint liability for the labor contractor and the company using the temps.

Employers should review any staffing company’s legal compliance measures and service contract terms before signing an agreement. This new law increases the risk of litigation for companies that fail to take adequate precautions.

SB 477 requires foreign labor contractors that recruit foreign workers to come to California to register with the Labor Commissioner. The law seeks to prevent exploitation of foreign workers by penalizing contractors for intimidation, discrimination and other violations. The law becomes effective July 1, 2016.

Companies working with foreign labor contractors should confirm that the contractor is registered with the Labor Commissioner, and take other steps to confirm that the contractor is complying with state and federal labor laws.

SB 1087 prohibits the state from issuing a farm labor contractor license to anyone who has been convicted of sexual harassment of an employee within the last three years or who has hired as a supervisor an individual who has been convicted of sexual harassment in the last three years.

The bill amends the Labor Code’s training requirement for farm labor contractor license applicants. Now they must take nine hours of training each year—up from the previous eight hours—with at least one hour devoted to sexual harassment prevention.

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