Legal Alert: California Governor Helps Employers By Vetoing Several Pending Bills

Date   Oct 16, 2007

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had until Midnight, October 14, 2007 to act upon all of the legislation that had been pending on his desk.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had until Midnight, October 14, 2007 to act upon all of the legislation that had been pending on his desk. That deadline has now passed, and Governor Schwarzenegger used this time, at least in part, to convey his support for employers within California.

While noting that “California has the strongest employment leave and workplace protection laws in the country,” Governor Schwarzenegger returned without signature three bills aimed at expanding employees’ rights to take time off. Assembly Bill 537 would have expanded the circumstances under which an employee is entitled to take leave under California’s Family and Medical Leave act to include: (1) time off to care for an ill child, regardless of the child’s age or dependency status; (2) an expanded definition of the term “parent” to include the employee’s parent-in-law; and (3) time off to care for an employee’s ill grandparent, sibling, grandchild or domestic partner. Similarly, Senate Bill 727 would have expanded the definitions of individuals who are eligible for temporary disability insurance benefits. Senate Bill 549, if passed, would have required all employers to provide eligible employees with up to four days bereavement leave.

Other laws that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed include:

Senate Bill 836, which would have expanded workplace protections to include “familial status” as a basis upon which employers could not discriminate or retaliate against employees.

Assembly Bill 1707, which would have provided for a $750 penalty against all employers who do not meet certain delineated requirements regarding providing current and former employees the opportunity to inspect and make copies of their personnel files.

Senate Bill 622, which in Governor Schwarzenegger’s words would have created “new and redundant exposure to litigation [and] may cause businesses to avoid use of the independent contractor model even where it may be appropriately utilized.”

Assembly Bill 435, which would have allowed employees to recover liquidated damages in minimum wage complaints brought before the Labor Commissioner.

Assembly Bill 504, which would have required employers to pay restitution to striking employees under certain, newly-delineated circumstances.

Assembly Bill 8, which would have, among other things, imposed a tax on small employers who could not afford to provide health insurance coverage to employees in order to fund health care coverage for those who do not currently provide insurance benefits.

These are just a few of the 214 bills that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed during 2007. During 2007, he also signed 750 bills into law. These are just some of the laws impacting employers that were acted upon.

Bottom Line For Employers:

While this signals at least some good news for employers, it is vital that employers stay abreast of current legal and legislative developments.

If you have questions about the status of any currently or formerly pending California legislation or a particular legislative issue, please contact the author of this alert, Helene Wasserman, at or 213-237-2403 or any member of our Los Angeles office.

Helene is the host of the Employer Helpcast, which is a “one stop website” for both “nuts and bolts” employment law advice and insight into new legal developments affecting employers.