October 24, 2020

Volume X, Number 298

Advertisement

October 23, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

October 22, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

October 21, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Governor Signs Legislation Extending Safety Related Retaliation Protection to Domestic Workers

California law already prohibits employers from taking certain employment actions against an employee for refusing to work in some circumstances where there is a real or apparent safety hazard to the employee or other employees. On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2568, which extends that protection to include domestic work employees or employees that perform household services for an individual, such as cleaning, household maintenance, cooking, laundry, ironing, provide care for others, or run household errands.  Before the passage of this legislation, household domestic service workers were not viewed as having the same protections as other employees under California law because of how the concept of an employee was defined in California’s labor code.

This law impacts both individuals and businesses who employ domestic service workers in three important ways.  First, Labor Code section 6310 now explicitly prohibits employers from retaliating against domestic work employees who either (i) complain to a government agency responsible for ensuring employee health and safety (e.g., Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal OSHA”)); (ii) initiate or participate in a proceeding relating to employee health and safety (e.g., participate in a Cal OSHA investigation or inspection or participate in a health and safety committee); (iii) report a work-related fatality, injury, or illness; or (iv) request access to occupational injury or illness reports and records.

Second, Labor Code section 6311 prohibits employers from laying off or terminating domestic work employees who refuse to work in violation of an occupational health and safety law that creates a “real and apparent” hazard to the employee or to fellow employees.  Labor Code section 6310 and 6311 exclude, however, employees who perform household domestic service that is publicly funded.

Third, Labor Code 6311.5 now prohibits employers from “willfully and knowingly” directing a domestic work employee to remain in or enter an area that poses a public health or safety concern.   An employer’s violation of this provision in the Labor Code constitutes a misdemeanor and is subject to criminal penalties under California’s Penal Code.

Following the passage of this legislation, businesses, such as staffing agencies, who employ nannies, childcare providers, caregivers, personal attendants, housekeepers, cooks, and other household workers can face significant liability for a violation of the Labor Code, including civil liability for damages from lost wages, and criminal penalties.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 274
Advertisement

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS

Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Cressinda Schlag Environmental Health Lawyer Jackson Lewis Austin
Associate

Cressinda (“Chris”) D. Schlag is an associate in the Austin, Texas, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on environmental health and safety matters involving legal and regulatory compliance as well as federal and state government enforcement actions.

Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Schlag obtained a graduate degree in occupational health and safety and environmental management and worked as an environmental health and safety engineer and consultant with a variety of industries, including, for example, oil and gas, chemicals manufacturing and...

512-362-7100
Hardev S. Chhokar Employment Attorney Jackson Lewis
Associate

Hardev S. Chhokar is an Associate in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.  He represents clients in all areas of employment law litigation. 

Mr. Chhokar defends employers in state and federal court and has experience in class action and single plaintiff matters involving claims for wage and hour violations, breach of contract, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and unfair competition.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Mr. Chhokar developed significant experience in complex commercial litigation.  While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, Mr. Chhokar briefed and orally argued cases before the U.S. Courts of Appeals as a member of the Appellate Litigation Clinic. 

415-394-9400
Advertisement
Advertisement