In 2013, the Governor signed AB 218 which “banned the box” on employment applications asking for criminal conviction information. AB 218 added Labor Code section 432.9 which prohibits state and local agencies from asking an applicant to disclose conviction history until the agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications for the job. Continue reading
The Legislature has expanded PERB’s jurisdiction again. On October 15, 2017, the Governor signed AB 83, the “Judicial Council Employer-Employee Relations Act.” This new act allows for the unionization of Judicial Council employees, who are distinct from trial court employees.
Cases under this new act will be designated with the letter “J”. Example: SA-CE-0001-J.
On October 7, 2017, the Governor signed SB 285 which provides that, “A public employer shall not deter or discourage public employees from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization.” Currently, Government Code section 16645.6 provides that, “A public employer receiving state funds shall not use any of those funds to assist, promote, or deter union organizing.” According to the author of SB 285, the loophole in Government Code section 16645.6 is that it only prohibits discouraging the unionization of unrepresented employees, and not whether individual employees should join the union once it is established. SB 285 is meant to close this “loophole.”
- In my opinion, this law is another preemptive measure by organized labor to deal with the potential loss of agency fees depending on the outcome of the Janus case.
- PERB has jurisdiction to enforce this new law.
- My initial concern with SB 285 was how broadly “deter” and “discourage” would be interpreted. For example, if an employee asks human resources how he or she can discontinue union membership, can human resources respond truthfully, even if it has the effect of deterring or discouraging union membership? Can a public employer put out truthful information about the benefits and costs of union membership? For example, can an employer inform employees how much in dues are collected from members? However, looking at the legislative history, my assumption is that NLRB and PERB precedent in this area will continue to be applied; namely, that employers will continue to have the right to non-coercive freedom of speech.
On October 14, 2017, the Governor issued a veto of AB 530. I wrote about that bill here. AB 530 would have brought peace officers under PERB’s jurisdiction. However, the bill also provided that peace officers could still seek injunctive relief in court without having to go through PERB. It was for this latter reason that I opposed this bill.
In his veto message, the Governor stated:
I am returning Assembly Bill 530 without my signature. This bill authorizes peace officers to bring unfair practice charges to the Public Employment Relations Board while preserving their existing right to directly petition a superior court for injunctive relief. No other group has both of these rights and I’m unconvinced that providing such a unique procedure is warranted.
The Governor has signed AB 168 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) which prohibits all employers, including state and local governments, from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment. The law also requires an employer to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant upon reasonable request. According to the author, “The practice of seeking or requiring the salary history of job applicants helps perpetuate wage inequality that has spanned generations of women in the workforce.”
- This law takes effect on January 1, 2018 and expressly applies to “all employers, including state and local government employers and the Legislature.” (See Labor Code section 432.3(f).)
- Many public employers have job applications that request an applicant’s salary history. Those applications will need to be amended to remove such requests before January 1, 2018.