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    Employers Check Your Handbooks: New Employment Laws For 2023 – PART 2

    Workplace Health and Safety Citation Notices

    AB 2068 provides that required notices posted when the Division of Occupational Safety and Health issues a workplace health or safety citation or order be written in “the top seven non-English languages used by limited-English-proficient adults in California, as determined by the most recent American Community Survey by the United States Census Bureau.” Currently the required languages are Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean and Armenian. The notices are also required to be posted in Punjabi if that is not one of the top seven languages.

    Employees Excused from Work During “Emergency Conditions”

    SB 1044 allows employees to leave work or refuse to report to work during an “emergency condition,” defined as disaster or extreme peril to the safety at the workplace caused by natural forces or a crime, or an evacuation order due to a natural disaster or crime at the workplace, an employee’s home, or their child’s school. The law specifically excludes health pandemics.

    The law also prohibits employers from taking adverse action against an employee for refusing to report to or leaving work during an emergency condition.

    The law excludes first responders; disaster or emergency service workers; health care workers who provide direct patient care or emergency support services; and employees who work on nuclear reactors, in the defense industry, or on a military base.

    Heat Illness and Wildfire Smoke

    AB 2243 requires Cal/OSHA to submit a regulation proposal to consider revising the heat illness standard and wildfire smoke standard.

    Prohibition of Adverse Action for Off-Duty Marijuana Use

    AB 2188, which takes effect on January 1, 2024, prohibits adverse action based on an employee’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace or if a pre-employment drug test finds non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in the applicant’s hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids. Employers in the building and construction industry  are exempt, as well as applicants and employees in positions requiring a federal background investigation or clearance. The law also does not preempt state or federal laws applicable to companies receiving federal funding or federal licensing-related benefits, or that have federal contracts.

    Civil Penalties Against Public Employers for Deterring Union Membership

    SB 931 permits an employee organization to file a claim against an employer before the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) alleging violations of Government Code section 3550, which prohibits a public employer from deterring or discouraging public employees or applicants from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization.  Fines are $1,000 per affected employee, not to exceed $100,000.  The PERB will award attorney’s fees and costs to a prevailing employee organization unless the Board finds the claim was frivolous, unreasonable or groundless.

    Restroom Access for Certain Medical Conditions

    AB 1632 requires businesses open to the public to allow individuals who have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or any other similar medical condition to use the businesses’ employee restrooms.

    Stay tuned for PART 3.

    Hunt Ortmann is ready to assist you with updates to your employee handbooks for 2023.

    JoLynn Scharrer is a Shareholder at Hunt Ortmann and leads the Firm’s Labor & Employment Practice. She can be reached at for further information and assistance.


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    JoLynn M. Scharrer