Senate Policy Committee Moves Along Job Killer Bills Over Employer Objections

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Despite employer objections, the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee this week passed two California Chamber of Commerce-opposed job killer bills. One deals with releasing company pay data and the other with unlawful employment practices.

Both bills are opposed by a large coalition of employer groups and local chambers of commerce.

SB 1284 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Disclosure of Company Pay Data.

SB 1300 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Removes Legal Standing and Prohibits Release of Claims.

SB 1284: Pay Data Report

SB 1284 requires that in 2019, an employer that is incorporated in California with 100 or more employees must submit a pay data report to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).

CalChamber has identified SB 1284 as a job killer because the bill creates a false impression of wage discrimination or unequal pay where none exists and therefore subjects employers to unfair public criticism, enforcement measures, and significant litigation costs to defend against meritless claims.

Just last year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. vetoed AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego), which was a very similar bill. SB 1284 provides the same uncertainty and ambiguity as AB 1209.

The CalChamber and coalition also oppose SB 1284 because it:

• Exposes employers to public shaming for wage disparities that are not unlawful.

• Allows employers to use the federal Employer Information Report, otherwise known as the EEO-1 Report.

• Utilizes data that may be affected by employee choices.

CalChamber Policy Advocate Laura Curtis explains to the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee why SB 1284 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) is a job killer.

SB 1300: Legal Standing/Release of Claims

SB 1300 removes the current legal standing requirement for specific Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claims and limits the use of nondisparagement agreements and general releases.

CalChamber has identified SB 1300 as a job killer because these provisions will significantly increase litigation against California employers and limit their ability to invest in their workforce.

The CalChamber and coalition also oppose SB 1300 because it:

• Removes the current standing requirement and allows anyone to sue a company for specific harassment claims.

• Is unnecessary and exposes employers to costly litigation. Sexual harassment prevention is already regulated by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

• Will deter employers from conducting self-audits and providing severance agreements.

• Will chill the use of settlement agreements, disadvantaging employers and employees.

Key Vote

Both SB 1284 and SB 1300 passed Senate Labor and Industrial Relations on April 11 by votes of 4-1:

Ayes: Pan (D-Sacramento), Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Wieckowski (D-Fremont).

No: J. Stone (R-Temecula).

Action Needed

Both SB 1284 and SB 1300 will be considered next by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The CalChamber is urging members to contact their senator and members of the committee and ask them to oppose SB 1284 and SB 1300 as job killers.

Staff Contact: Laura Curtis

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Laura E. Curtis
About Laura E. Curtis
Laura E. Curtis joined the CalChamber in December 2017 as a policy advocate. She specializes in labor and employment, workers’ compensation, and elections/fair political practices issues. Before joining the CalChamber policy team, she was a labor and employment attorney counseling clients on subjects including wage-and-hour disputes, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims, and administrative agency compliance. Curtis holds a B.A. in communications with a minor in political science from the University of California, San Diego. She earned a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law, where she worked on the International Law Journal.