Warehouse Distribution Centers: AB 701 specifically targets warehouse distribution centers, applying specifically to certain larger employers meeting industry definitions for general warehousing and storage, merchant wholesalers of durable and non-durable goods, and electronic shopping and mail-order houses. The law requires covered employers to provide each nonexempt employee working at a warehouse distribution center a written description of each quota to which they are subject, including tasks to be performed, materials produced or handled, time periods and any potential adverse employment actions that may result from failure to meet quotas.

Under AB 701, employees cannot be required to meet quotas that prevent compliance with meal or rest periods, use of bathroom facilities, or health and safety laws. If employees feel that quotas are interfering with these things, they can request a copy of applicable quotas and the last 90 days of their personal work speed performance, which the employer must produce within three weeks. The law also creates a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if the employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of the employees request for their quota and personal work speed performance or an employee’s complaint about a quota. 

Garment ManufacturingSB 62 requires garment manufacturers and “brand guarantors” who contract with another person for the performance of garment manufacturing to be jointly and severally liable with manufacturers or contractors for wage violations of employees in the supply chain. For purposes of expanding the shared liability under this law, the bill expands the definition of garment manufacturing to broadly include many companies in the clothing industry supply chain.

Under SB 62, garment manufacturing is defined as “sewing, cutting, making, processing, repairing, finishing, assembling, dyeing, altering a garment’s design, causing another person to alter a garment’s design, affixing a label to a garment, or otherwise preparing any garment or any article of wearing apparel or accessories designed or intended to be worn by any individual….”

This expanded definition means companies that may be tangentially part of garment manufacturing — by sticking their own logo on the clothing, for example — will be liable for wage and hour problems the actual maker creates with its own workforce.

SB 62 also prohibits the practice of piece-rate compensation for garment manufacturing, except in cases of worksites covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement. The bill imposes statutory damages of $200 per employee against a garment manufacturer or contractor, payable to the employee, for each pay period in which each employee is paid by piece rate.

Hospitality/Building ServicesSB 93, an urgency measure that took effect when it was signed on April 16, 2021, created what is commonly referred to as a “right of recall” for certain employees laid off due to COVID-19. It applies to hotels, clubs, event centers, airport hospitality operations and service providers, and building services such as janitorial, maintenance and security services. Qualified laid off employees are those employees who worked for the employer for six months or more in the preceding 12 months and whose most recent separation was due to COVID-19.

Under SB 93, if a covered employer is going to hire an employee, it must first offer the position to a laid off employee who’s qualified for the position, i.e., if the employee held the same or similar position at the business at the time of the layoff. Employers who refuse to recall an employee on the grounds that the employee lacks the qualifications for the position must provide the employee a written notice with their reasons for not hiring them. Employers must keep records for three years, including records of communications regarding job offers.

AgricultureAB 73 expands on one of last year’s personal protective equipment (PPE) bills, SB 275, which established a state stockpile of PPE in the event of a pandemic. AB 73 broadens the law’s scope to include wildfire smoke events as a health emergency under the law and includes agricultural workers in the definition of essential workers. The bill also requires Cal/OSHA to review and update its wildfire smoke training requirements, so employers should monitor Cal/OSHA’s wildfire smoke training materials for updates.

Health Care: Two new laws impact health care employers. First, prompted by the high demand for COVID-19 vaccinations at pharmacies and the corresponding time pharmacists and technicians must spend on such vaccinations, SB 362 prohibits chain community pharmacies from establishing quotas, defined as a fixed number or formula related to certain duties that a pharmacist or pharmacy technician is required to perform (e.g., prescriptions filled, services to patients, etc.) while on duty. Second, AB 1407 requires that hospitals and nursing education programs include implicit bias training as part of the program for new nurses.

Janitorial Services: California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allows aggrieved employees to bring claims on behalf of themselves and other employees for wage and hour violations, essentially stepping into the state’s shoes to enforce wage and hour laws. SB 646 creates an exception to PAGA for janitorial employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that meets certain criteria. This is similar to another PAGA exception enacted recently for unionized employers in the construction industry.

Domestic WorkersSB 321 doesn’t impose any new obligations on employers right now, but it does direct Cal/OSHA to create an advisory committee to recommend state policies to both protect domestic workers and provide health and safety guidance to educate employers and employees in the industry. This will be something to keep an eye on for future developments.