CRLA, Inc: Labor Alert

One of CRLA’s five priority areas of work is Labor & Employment which accounts for thousands of requests for assistance that come through the doors each year. Our work here includes collecting unpaid wages, enforcing minimum wage and overtime laws, upholding health and safety protections, enforcing worker’s rights to rest and meal periods, collecting unemployment insurance benefits and fighting sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. 

In addition to our labor client casework CRLA engages in legislative advocacy permitted by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) regulations, and  is also committed to assisting other organizations further labor legislation benefiting the rural poor having a far-reaching impact on the lives of low-wage workers for many years to come.  We provide non-LSC resources to sister organizations like the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation with sub grants to fund this legislative work.

This legislative advocacy coupled with our service to clients truly impacts farmworkers and other low-wage non-agricultural personnel on the broadest scale possible!

CRLA Foundation’s 2013 Labor Bills Which Passed the Legislature & Were Signed by Governor Brown

SB 168 - Farm Labor Contractor Successor Liability.

This bill makes a farm labor contractor successor to any predecessor farm labor contractor that owed wages or penalties to a former employee of the predecessor, whether the predecessor was a licensee or not, liable for those wages and penalties, if the successor farm labor contractor meets one or more specified criteria

SB 390 -Labor Code Criminal Penalties and Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).

Existing California law makes it a crime for an employer to fail to make agreed-upon payments to employee health and welfare funds, pension funds, or other benefit plans.  This new law, which takes effect January 1, 2014, would also make it a crime for an employer to fail to remit withholdings from an employee’s wages that were due pursuant to local, state, or federal law

SB 435 - Heat Stress Recovery Period Protections & Remedies. 

Existing California law prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to work during any meal or rest period mandated by a wage order promulgated by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC).  This new law, which takes effect January 1, 2014, also prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to work during any “recovery periods,” defined by Cal-OSHA as a “cooldown period” intended to prevent heat illness. For example, when the outdoor temperature exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must allow employees who work outside  to take a recovery period of not less than 5 minutes  , in the shade, to protect from heat stress. Under SB 435 it is unlawful to deny that request and an employee who is denied a recovery period is also entitled to receive an additional hour of pay. 

AB 442 - Minimum Wage Liquidated Damages

Requires state labor agencies to recover and pay to workers minimum wage liquidated damages (equal to the amount of unpaid minimum wages) whenever it issues a minimum wage citation. The effect of this bill is to extend this wage protection in all Labor Standards Enforcement field compliance inspections that result in minimum wage citations. Last year, state recovered more than $3million in unpaid minimum wages for workers. This bill would have doubled that amount.


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