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Myriad employment-related bills now before state lawmakers

There is a flurry of legislation -- that is, proposed bills under consideration and not yet enacted as new laws in California -- currently working its way through the California Legislature in Sacramento. State lawmakers are grappling with the wording and implications attached to broad-based labor bills that have been written, with legislators working through a session ending on Friday next week.

The would-be laws being scrutinized are myriad and interesting, and centrally relevant to California workers in fundamentally important ways. We pass along some key details below.

Senate Bill 3, for example, addresses wage and hour concerns, with the bill seeking to increase the state's minimum wage. Any future attempt to decrease the wage would be disallowed, with municipalities across the state being free to set their own wage, provided that it exceeds the state rate.

Assembly Bill 1509 focuses on employer retaliation and wrongful termination, with its language recognizing and responding to the fact that a targeted worker's family members who are also employees at the same workplace can become targets of unlawful employer action, as well. This legislation seeks to protect them.

Assembly Bill 465 focuses on a topic that has garnered a fair amount of national attention, namely, employers' attempts to force arbitration upon employees with work-related grievances, which bars those workers from filing a legal claim and seeking justice through a court of law. If passed, this legislation would bar any pre-dispute arbitration agreement imposed on any person as a prerequisite to a job offer or continued employment.

A number of other labor-based bills are also working their way through the legislative pipeline. We will be sure to keep readers timely posted on material developments that emerge concerning them.