California’s 2013-2014 legislative session ended with much to celebrate for Worksafe supporters like you, and everyone else who cares about safe and healthy jobs.
AB 1634: Increasing Worker Safety: Fixing the Hazard (Skinner)
Worksafe co-sponsored this bill, which puts employee safety first by ensuring that unsafe conditions in the workplace get corrected in a timely manner. It requires employers who have been cited for hazards to submit proof that abatement (fixing the hazard) has occurred in order to receive a reduced penalty ("abatement credit"). The bill also requires those employers to fix the most serious workplace hazards found in their workplace(s). Previously, employers did not need to fix any hazards found by DOSH while they appealed, or during the reconsideration of their appeal, endangering the lives of people who are exposed to these hazards for months, or even years.
SB 193: Protecting Employees Exposed to Toxic Materials (Monning)
When we learn about new or previously unrecognized health hazards, California’s public health agency has the authority to collect information from chemical manufacturers and suppliers (under conditions of confidentiality), about where a specific chemical is being used in California workplaces, so that critical new health information on hazardous chemicals can be shared with downstream users. By making access to vital information more efficient, people will be able to take earlier action to limit harm from toxic hazards.
AB 1897: Protecting Workers in the New Subcontracted Economy (Hernandez)
This bill holds companies accountable for wage theft and other abuses when they use staffing agencies and other labor contractors to supply workers. These workers face a 50% greater risk of on the job injury and are especially vulnerable to retaliation if they report hazards. Unscrupulous companies contract out their work to temp agencies to avoid liability for workers’ rights violations. Holding companies jointly liable for the workplace violations of their subcontractors or temporary agencies, means that workers’ rights won’t be put on hold while employers point fingers at one another and dodge accountability.
AB 1579 - the Healthy Babies Act of 2014 (Stone)
This bill allows women to obtain CalWORKs benefits earlier in their pregnancy, ensuring earlier access to basic needs grants that can mitigate financial burdens, eliminate dependence on abusive partners, and ensure better health outcomes for their babies.
AB 2253: Improving Language Access for State Services (Ting)
The bill requires that state agencies translate forms and processes used to communicate language barrier issues that result in difficulty accessing state services. Limited-English-proficient workers will be better able to hold their government accountable and gain equal access to the public services they are entitled to.
SB 400: Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking in the Workplace (Jackson)
This bill, signed by the Governor in October, 2013, makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against an employee because of their status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The bill also ensures workplace safety by requiring an employer to make a reasonable safety accommodation to protect workers who experience domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and their co-workers.
SB 666: Empowering Immigrants to Exercise Rights Under the Law Without Fear of Retaliation (Steinberg)
This bill was signed into law in October, 2013. SB 666 makes it unlawful to threaten to report, or actually report, a worker or their family member to a government agency, including immigration authorities, in retaliation for that worker attempting to exercise a right under the law.
AB 241: Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (Ammiano)
For 75 years, domestic workers have been excluded from many legal protections that other workers enjoy. On September 26, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, requiring that domestic workers and caregivers are no longer excluded from wage and hour protections, including overtime pay.
AB 1746: Workers' Compensation Protections (Alejo)
Signed by the Governor on July 21, 2014, this bill helps injured workers, whose employers are illegally uninsured, receive necessary medical treatment and workers’ compensation benefits.
AB 1202: Protecting Healthcare Workers and Patients (Skinner)
AB 1202 was approved by Governor Brown on October 9, 2013. The bill requires the adoption of new standards to protect healthcare workers and patients from exposure to hazardous drugs.