27 December 2021
Labor & Employment New Year Round-Up
What to Expect in 2022
Several new pieces of California legislation have either recently gone into effect or will take effect in 2022, impacting nearly all employers and how they handle employment agreements, disability related to COVID, training, rehiring and retention, and a range of other practices. A new presidential administration also means a shift in the political landscape and the role played by the NLRB, OSHA and other regulatory bodies.
Our round-up will help you determine which key issues may impact you in 2022; contact us to be sure you’re ready for all these upcoming changes. Click the “read more” link for each topic to see a comprehensive summary.
Expansions to the California Family Rights Act
Effective January 1, 2022, AB 1033 adds “parent-in-law” to the list of persons that an employee may take time off to care for, pursuant to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). It also recasts the notice provisions of the small employer family leave mediation pilot program to require the DFEH to notify an employee of the requirement for mediation prior to filing a civil action, and requires the employee to contact the DFEH’s dispute resolution division prior to filing an action.
What this means for employers: Employers should review family leave policies to ensure they are compliant with AB 1033. Although the law adds a new category of person an employee may take time off to care for, it does not expand the total amount of leave an employee is entitled to take per 12 month period. Small employers should be aware of their ability to request mediation, and should consult with labor and employment counsel immediately upon receiving notice by a plaintiff or the DFEH that a plaintiff is seeking a civil lawsuit—the deadline to request a mediation is only 30 days from receipt of notice.
Changes to the Fair Employment and Housing Act
Effective January 1, 2022, SB 807 amends various statutes concerning the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) procedures when enforcing California’s civil rights law—notably, the FEHA. These changes include tolling the deadline for the DFEH to file a civil action under the FEHA while a dispute resolution is pending, increasing the amount of time employers must keep certain records, and authorizing the DFEH to appeal court decisions.
What this means for employers: Employers should review their current record retention policies and amend them as necessary. This also provides an opportunity to ensure that employers are retaining all the necessary records so that they do not face unnecessary penalties or subject themselves to avoidable liability. SB 807’s tolling of the statute of limitations deadline provides additional leeway to employees who are seeking redress, and the authorization for the DFEH to appeal decisions grants it additional flexibility when pursing actions against employers.