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SB-666 Employment: retaliation.(2013-2014)

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Senate Bill No. 666
CHAPTER 577

An act to add Sections 494.6 and 6103.7 to the Business and Professions Code, and to amend Sections 98.6 and 1102.5 of, and to add Section 244 to, the Labor Code, relating to employment.

[ Approved by Governor  October 05, 2013. Filed with Secretary of State  October 05, 2013. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 666, Steinberg. Employment: retaliation.
Existing law establishes grounds for suspension or revocation of certain business and professional licenses.
This bill would subject those business licenses to suspension or revocation, with a specified exception, if the licensee has been determined by the Labor Commissioner or the court to have violated specified law and the court or Labor Commissioner has taken into consideration any harm such a suspension or revocation would cause to employees of the licensee, as well as the good faith efforts of the licensee to resolve any alleged violations after receiving notice. The bill would subject a licensee of an agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs who has been found by the Labor Commissioner or the court to have violated specified law to disciplinary action by his or her respective licensing agency.
The State Bar Act establishes specific causes for the disbarment or suspension of a member of the State Bar.
This bill would make it a cause for suspension, disbarment, or other discipline for any member of the State Bar to report suspected immigration status or threaten to report suspected immigration status of a witness or party to a civil or administrative action or his or her family member, as defined, to a federal, state, or local agency because the witness or party exercises or has exercised a right related to his or her employment.
Existing law establishes various rights and protections relating to employment and civil rights that may be enforced by civil action.
This bill or applicant for employment because the employee or applicant has engaged in protected conduct. The bill would expand the protected conduct to include a written or oral complaint by an employee that he or she is owed unpaid wages. The bill would subject an employer to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation of these provisions.
Existing law entitles an employee to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and benefits if the employee has been discharged, demoted, suspended, or in any way discriminated against because the employee engaged in protected conduct or because the employee made a bona fide complaint or claim or initiated any action or notice, as prescribed.
This bill would similarly grant these entitlements to an employee who is retaliated against or subjected to an adverse action.
Existing law prohibits an employer from making, adopting, or enforcing any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation. Existing law further prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for such a disclosure. Under existing law, a violation of these provisions by an employer is a crime.
This bill would additionally prohibit any person acting on behalf of the employer from making, adopting, or enforcing any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, as provided, and would extend those prohibitions to preventing an employee from, or retaliating against an employee for, providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry. Because a violation of these provisions by an employer would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
This bill would incorporate additional changes to Section 1102.5 of the Labor Code proposed by SB 496 that would become operative if this bill and SB 496 are enacted astyle="margin:0 0 1em 0;">
494.6.
 (a) A business license regulated by this code may be subject to suspension or revocation if the licensee has been determined by the Labor Commissioner or the court to have violated subdivision (b) of Section 244 of the Labor Code and the court or Labor Commissioner has taken into consideration any harm such suspension or revocation would cause to employees of the licensee, as well as the good faith efforts of the licensee to resolve any alleged violations after receiving notice.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a licensee of an agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs who has been found by the Labor Commissioner or the court to have violated subdivision (b) of Section 244 of the Labor Code may be subject to disciplinary action by his or her respective licensing agency.
(c) An employer shall not be subject to suspension or revocation under this section for requiring a prospective or current employee to submit, within three business days of the first day of work for pay, an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form.

98.6.
 (a) A person shall not discharge an employee or in any manner discriminate, retaliate, or take any adverse action against any employee or applicant for employment because the employee or applicant engaged in any conduct delineated in this chapter, including the conduct described in subdivision (k) of Section 96, and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1101) of Part 3 of Division 2, or because the employee or applicant for employment has filed a bona fide complaint or claim or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or relating to his or her rights that are under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner, made a written or oral complaint that he or she is owed unpaid wages, or because the employee has initiated any action or notice pursuant to Section 2699, or has testified or is about to testify in a proceeding pursuant to that section, or because of the exercise by the employee or applicant for employment on behalf of himself, herself, or others of any rights afforded him or her.

1102.5.
 (a) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, or to a person with authority over the employee or to another employee who has authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or from providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s job duties.
(b) An employer, or any person acting on behalf of the employer, shall not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information, or because the employer believes that the employee disclosed or may disclose information, to a government or law enforcement agency, or to a person with authority over the employee or another employee who has the authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or for providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s job duties.