Part-time Playground Employees Now Have Rights as Classified Employees

AB 670 signed into law on September 15, 2017 deletes the exemption that exempts part-time playground employees from designation into classified service. Section 45103 of the Education Code no longer carves out an exemption for part-time playground employees. As a result, these employees are now part of classified service. This means part-time playground employees will have access to the same benefits of classified employees such as sick leave, vacations, holidays, and other rights of classified employees. Part-time playground employees will also have available to them the same union representation as classified employees.

To see the text of Assembly Bill 670, please click here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB670

Attorney’s Fees Available to Public School Employee Unions Who Obtain Favorable Judgments For Employees

California Senate Bill 550 creates new rights for public school employee unions when pursuing employment disputes with public school employers. Section 3543.8 of the Government Code now authorizes employee organizations to obtain post-offer attorney’s fees when the following actions occur:

(1)          The employee organization offers to settle a “dispute alleging an employer’s failure to provide wages, benefits, or working conditions” and

(2)          The employee organization obtains a more favorable judgment then the offer rejected by the employer.

This law does not apply to unfair practice or arbitration proceedings. If an adjudicator finds that an employer “has raised substantial and credible issues involving complex or significant questions of law or fact relative to the employee’s claim or claims” then no attorney’s fees are available to the employee organization under this section. The purpose of this new law is to encourage settlement of disputes related to wages, benefits and working conditions and reduce unnecessary litigation. To see the text of Senate Bill 550, click here:  https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB550

California Officially Recognizes a Nonbinary Gender Category

California signed the Gender Recognition Act into law, becaming the first state to officially recognize a third gender category for official state documents.  Previously, a person could seek to obtain a change of gender on a birth certificate only after undergoing medical treatment for the purpose of gender transition.  The new law, passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown, specifically recognizes that, “Gender identification is fundamentally personal” and provides three gender options on state-issued identification documents – female, male, and nonbinary.  The law eliminates any requirement that a person have undergone surgery to apply for a change of gender on state issued documents, instead requiring only an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury attesting that the request to change gender on the certificates is to conform with the person’s true gender identity.  The law goes on to recognize that, “Nonbinary gender identities have been recognized by cultures throughout history and around the world…” and goes on to list examples.  The law will become effective on September 1, 2018.  Please click here to review the text of bill: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB179.

If you are experiencing discrimination in your workplace based on your gender identity, we can help you assert your rights to a workplace free of discrimination and harassment.   

Community College Academic Employees Now Entitled to be Notified of Misconduct Allegations Before Being Placed on Administrative Leave

On October 13, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1651, adding section 87623 to the California Education Code, effective immediately.  This law requires a community college to provide an academic employee with written notification of the general nature of misconduct allegations against him or her at least two business days before the community college places the employee on involuntary paid administrative leave related to those allegations.  The law also provides that the employer should (but is not required to) complete its investigation of the accused misconduct and initiate disciplinary proceedings against, or reinstate, the academic employee within 90 days of placing the employee on involuntary paid administrative leave.  The law authorizes Governing Boards to enact their own regulations establishing a required amount of time in which a community college employer is expected to complete its investigation.

The purpose behind AB 1651, according to its author Assembly Member Eloise Reyes (D):

“An increasing number of community college professors are being disciplined by placing them on ‘paid administrative leave’ and are not being notified of the allegations against them.  In addition [to] not being notified of the allegations against them, district administrators are not required to provide evidence or access to this evidence to the faculty who must wait months before receiving any information and the secretive nature of the disciplinary process places them in a state of limbo.” 

This law provides an exception to the advance notice requirement, by allowing community college employers to place an academic employee on  leave immediately, in situations when this is determined to be necessary due to a risk of physical danger or other related risk arising from the allegations.  In such cases, the community college must, at minimum, provide the employee with the general nature of the accusations within five business days of being placed on involuntary paid administrative leave.  This law applies to “academic employees” of community colleges, defined as a person employed by a community college district in an academic position for which minimum qualifications have been established by the California Colleges Board of Governors.  (Education Code section 87001.) 

Our attorneys have experience representing faculty who are accused of misconduct and are under investigation by their community college employer.  To see the text of Assembly Bill 1651, click here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1651

New Parent Leave Act signed into Law

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill 63, extending provisions of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) governing parental leave to workplaces of 20 or more employees.  Previously the parental leave provisions of the CFRA only applied to employers of 50 or more employees.  The parental leave provisions of the CFRA require an employer to grant an employee 12 weeks of unpaid leave for child bonding within one year of the birth, foster care placement, or adoption of a child, and to continue any paid health insurance during the twelve week leave.  In order to qualify for the CFRA leave, the employee must work 1250 hours or more in the 12 months preceding the leave.  Teachers are exempted from the 1250 hour requirement under the California Education Code.  It is illegal for an employer to interfere with, delay, or deny any right under the CFRA.  Until January 1 2020, litigation for a violation of this section is not allowed until, if requested by the employer, the parties complete a mediation program through the Department of Fair Housing and Employment .  The changes in this law take effect January 1, 2018.  Feel free contact us if you believe that your employer is restricting your use of parental leave.  To see the text of Senate Bill 63, please click here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB63

Teachers in California will no longer need to work 1250 hours per hour to qualify for Paid Maternity/Paternity Leave

With the passage of Assembly Bill 2393, the California Legislature removed the 1250 hour work year requirement for teachers seeking to be paid differential pay (the difference between a teacher's regular salary and the salary of the substitute hired to replace that teacher) during that teacher's 12 weeks of California Family Rights Act leave.  The law goes into effect January 1, 2017.  For more information, click here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB2393

Single User Restrooms in California Must be All-Gender Restrooms

With the passage and signing of Assembly Bill 1732, the California Legislature and Governor Brown mandated that by March 1, 2017, all single user public and business restrooms in California must be designated as all-gender restrooms.  For more information, click here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1732