New Employment Laws Every California Employee Should Know

Our experienced employment law attorneys in Pasadena at Romero Law know that each year, California legislatures propose and enact new laws that help protect workers’ rights throughout the state.

Beginning January 1, 2023, and 2024, several new employment laws that impact California employees will go into effect. Here is what California employees need to know to ensure their rights are protected as they move into the new year.

Expanded Definition of “Family Member” for Medical and Sick Leave

California Assembly Bill 1041 expands the definition of a “designated person” for purposes of employee medical leave.

Currently, qualifying California employees are awarded up to 12 work weeks in any 12-month period for unpaid family care and medical leave.

Family members are defined as a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner. AB 1041 adds a “designated person” to this list of family members for whom an employee may take protected leave.

A “designated person” is defined as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” An employee may identify his or her designated person at the time of requesting protected leave, but must also know the employer may limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.

Mandated Bereavement Leave

California Assembly Bill 1949 provides employees with protected leave for bereavement.

Under this new law, eligible employees may request up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a qualifying family member, which is defined as a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law.

Although the employee must complete bereavement leave within three months of the family member’s death, the employer may not require that the five days be used consecutively.

Statutory bereavement leave is unpaid, but the employer must allow the employee to use any accrued and unused paid vacation, personal leave, sick leave, or other paid time off for this purpose.

Off-the-Job Cannabis Use Protection

One year after the aforementioned labor laws are enacted, California Assembly Bill 2188 goes into effect on January 1, 2024.

This law prohibits employers from discriminating against a person because of cannabis use while off the job, with some exceptions. Employers may act against a person who fails a pre-employment drug test, or another employer-required drug test, that does “not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites.”

In short, the legislature believes cannabis “metabolites do not indicate impairment, only that the individual has consumed cannabis in the last few weeks.”

However, employers may administer a performance-based impairment test and terminate any employee who is found to be impaired in the workplace.

Some employment positions are exempt from the new law, including employees in the building or construction industry, or in positions requiring a federal background investigation or clearance, and does not preempt state or federal laws that require employees to be tested for controlled substances.

As more legislation impacts California employment laws, we will continue to post about them here as they develop.

Contact Our Skilled Employment Law Attorneys in Pasadena, California Today

If you believe your workplace rights are being violated, we can help you understand the new and existing employment laws that are designed to protect your livelihood. Contact our experienced Los Angeles County employment law attorneys to discuss your unique circumstances today.

Our employment law firm and bilingual staff offer services in both English and Spanish and are available now to discuss your case during a free consultation by calling 626-396-9900 or contacting us online.

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