Governor Brown vetoed AB 465This bill would have disregarded federal law and banned mandatory agreements to arbitrate employment claims. In a veto message, he noted the lack of proof that arbitration was unfair to employees and the likelihood of the measure being struck down.

The governor also vetoed AB 1017, which would have prohibited asking job applicants about their salary histories. As discussed, there are a number of legitimate reason to ask such questions.

The Governor did, however, sign SB 588. This bill allows the Labor Commissioner to conduct hearings to determine whether a “person acting on behalf of an employer” should be held personally liable for an employer’s wage and hour violations. The Labor Commissioner would also be able to levy those individuals’ accounts or property to enforce a judgment and seek payment from successor employer’s in various situations.

As described here, I don’t object to this bill being used to pursue employers who illegally try to avoid paying their workers. But the threat of civil and criminal penalties for individual managers should not be used to pressure well-intentioned employers to resolve claims they would otherwise fight.

Copyright: pixelrobot / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: pixelrobot / 123RF Stock Photo

So the burdens on employers who operate in California continue to expand. But, as is often the case, it could have been worse.