By Jeremy Biberdorf
Several new laws took effect on January 1st 2020, and while not all of them will involve the Average Joe, many will change businesses of all sizes. Here are some of the most important new laws that are affecting companies in California.
Worker status (AB-5): This law was created to curb the use of businesses classing some workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are directly impacted, but also truck drivers, freelance journalists, and software companies. Those exempted from the law are cosmetologists, health care professionals, real estate agents, commercial fishermen, and lawyers.
Workplace hairstyles (SB-188): From January 1st 2020, schools and workplaces cannot discriminate against someone because of their chosen hairstyle. This includes hairstyles such as braids, twists, and locks.
CCPA: The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) states that businesses in California must disclose any held personal data and erase the information if requested. After the request, companies are given 45 days to comply, although a 45-day extension is allowed in some cases.
(SB-34) Marijuana sellers are able to contribute their products to medicinal users: Vendors may provide medical marijuana to low-income consumers with no extra taxation. However, it’s still prohibited for shops to give away free marijuana to advertise their own company. Work is still being done in order to shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries.
Increase of minimum wage (SB-3): The minimum wage in California will increase to $12 per hour for employers with 26 or less employees, whereas it’s $13 per hour for employers with more than 26 employees.
(SB-778) Sexual harassment training: Amended from SB-1343, this necessitates that employers must give sexual harassment training to their employees. Two hours are compulsory for employees in a supervisory position, while one hour is required for all others. If training was provided in 2019, then the employer can wait until 2021 for further training.
Renters’ protection (AB-1482): Landlords are allowed to increase rents by only 5% (including inflation) on houses created more than 15 years ago. The law further demands that tenants who were evicted without “just cause” must be compensated.
The display of religious items (SB-652): This law permits homeowners and renters to display any religious symbols on doors. In the past, restrictions have existed from homeowner’s associations and property managers.
Human trafficking training (SB-970): Owners of hotels and motels must give a minimum of 20 minutes training to employees in order to spot human trafficking. Training must happen every two years from January 1st 2020.
Planned power outages (SB-167): Electrical companies must create a three-year wildlife mitigation plan to be sanctioned by the Wildfire Safety Division. The plan has to contain schemes to avert wildfires, as well as providing electricity to customers with medical conditions.
Housing discrimination (SB-222): This law helps to safeguard veterans and military members against house and lodging discrimination.