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AB-1684 Civil actions: human trafficking.(2015-2016)

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Assembly Bill No. 1684
CHAPTER 63

An act to amend Section 12930 of the Government Code, relating to civil actions.

[ Approved by Governor  July 22, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State  July 22, 2016. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1684, Mark Stone. Civil actions: human trafficking.
Existing law authorizes a victim of human trafficking, as defined, to bring a civil action for actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, any combination of those, or any other appropriate relief, as specified. Existing law authorizes the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, and prosecute complaints alleging certain unlawful practices, as specified.
This bill would further authorize the department to receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, and prosecute complaints alleging, and bring civil actions for, a victim of human trafficking, as described above. The bill would require any damages awarded in a civil action brought by the department to be awarded to the victim of human trafficking.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 12930 of the Government Code is amended to read:

12930.
 The department shall have the following functions, powers, and duties:
(a) To establish and maintain a principal office and any other offices within the state as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this part.
(b) To meet and function at any place within the state.
(c) To appoint attorneys, investigators, conciliators, mediators, and other employees as it may deem necessary, fix their compensation within the limitations provided by law, and prescribe their duties.
(d) To obtain upon request and utilize the services of all governmental departments and agencies and, in addition, with respect to housing discrimination, of conciliation councils.
(e) To adopt, promulgate, amend, and rescind suitable procedural rules and regulations to carry out the investigation, prosecution, and dispute resolution functions and duties of the department pursuant to this part.
(f) (1) To receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, and prosecute complaints alleging practices made unlawful pursuant to Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 12940).
(2) To receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, and prosecute complaints alleging a violation of Section 51, 51.5, 51.7, 54, 54.1, or 54.2 of the Civil Code. The remedies and procedures of this part shall be independent of any other remedy or procedure that might apply.
(3) To receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, and prosecute complaints alleging, and to bring civil actions pursuant to Section 52.5 of the Civil Code for, a violation of Section 236.1 of the Penal Code. Damages awarded in any action brought by the department pursuant to Section 52.5 of the Civil Code shall be awarded to the person harmed by the violation of Section 236.1 of the Penal Code. Costs and attorney’s fees awarded in any action brought by the department pursuant to Section 52.5 of the Civil Code shall be awarded to the department. The remedies and procedures of this part shall be independent of any other remedy or procedure that might apply.
(g) In connection with any matter under investigation or in question before the department pursuant to a complaint filed under Section 12960, 12961, or 12980:
(1) To issue subpoenas to require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, records, documents, and physical materials.
(2) To administer oaths, examine witnesses under oath and take evidence, and take depositions and affidavits.
(3) To issue written interrogatories.
(4) To request the production for inspection and copying of books, records, documents, and physical materials.
(5) To petition the superior courts to compel the appearance and testimony of witnesses, the production of books, records, documents, and physical materials, and the answering of interrogatories.
(h) To bring civil actions pursuant to Section 12965 or 12981 and to prosecute those civil actions before state and federal trial courts.
(i) To issue those publications and those results of investigations and research as in its judgment will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination in employment on the bases enumerated in this part and discrimination in housing because of race, religious creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, disability, genetic information, or sexual orientation.
(j) To investigate, approve, certify, decertify, monitor, and enforce nondiscrimination programs proposed by a contractor to be engaged in pursuant to Section 12990.
(k) To render annually to the Governor and to the Legislature a written report of its activities and of its recommendations.
(l) To conduct mediations at any time after a complaint is filed pursuant to Section 12960, 12961, or 12980. The department may end mediation at any time.
(m) The following shall apply with respect to any accusation pending before the former Fair Employment and Housing Commission on or after January 1, 2013:
(1) If an accusation issued under former Section 12965 includes a prayer either for damages for emotional injuries as a component of actual damages, or for administrative fines, or both, or if an accusation is amended for the purpose of adding a prayer either for damages for emotional injuries as a component of actual damages, or for administrative fines, or both, with the consent of the party accused of engaging in unlawful practices, the department may withdraw an accusation and bring a civil action in superior court.
(2) If an accusation was issued under former Section 12981, with the consent of the aggrieved party filing the complaint an aggrieved person on whose behalf a complaint is filed, or the party accused of engaging in unlawful practices, the department may withdraw the accusation and bring a civil action in superior court.
(3) Where removal to court is not feasible, the department shall retain the services of the Office of Administrative Hearings to adjudicate the administrative action pursuant to Sections 11370.3 and 11502.
(n) On any Section 1094.5 Code of Civil Procedure challenge to a decision of the former Fair Employment and Housing Commission pending on or after January 1, 2013, the director or his or her designee shall consult with the Attorney General regarding the defense of that writ petition.