Peopletrail Logo

Legislative Updates: New California Employment Laws

California capitol building at sunset

When it comes to hiring laws and regulations, California is among the most active and creative states in the union.

Furthermore, as the most populous state in the country, California is naturally home to more workers than any other– roughly 17.5 million as of 2021.

Thus, the recently-passed California hiring legislation will impact roughly 1 out of every 10 U.S. hires– and there is much more than a single bill to consider.

Here is a breakdown of five (of the many) recently enacted (or amended) California employment laws.

5 New California Laws Every Employer Should Be Aware Of


1. AB 2188: Discrimination Based on Cannabis Use


Governer-approved: September 18, 2022

In-effect: January 1, 2024

This bill makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against new hires or current employees on the basis of off-duty cannabis use away from the workplace, except when a pre or post-employment drug test is duly administered according to an organization’s formal and expressly communicated drug screening program.

It’s important to note that this bill does not preempt state or federal drug testing requirements as a condition for employment.

For more insights regarding cannabis law, here’s a helpful article.

2. AB 1949: Bereavement Leave


Governor-approved: September 29, 2022

In-effect: Current

This legislation is an addition to the existing California Family Rights Act.

Under this bill, California employers are required to grant a 5-day bereavement request to employees upon the death of a family member.

Under this legislation, a “family member” primarily includes the following:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Domestic Partner
  • Parent-in-law

3. AB 1041: Employment Leave


Governer-approved: September 29, 2022

In-effect: Current

This existing law, which requires California employers (with five or more employees) to grant up to a 12-workweek leave to employees (within a 12-month timeframe) to care for a qualifying individual, has been expanded.

Now, the designated person to whom the employee will administer care can include any family member– and the definition of “family member” remains somewhat loose.

Qualifying family care situations include:

  • Birth of a child of the employee
  • Leave to care for a designated person with a serious health condition
  • Leave because of employee’s own serious medical condition

4. AB 2223: Reproductive Rights


Governer-approved: September 27, 2022

In-effect: January 1, 2023

This act affords individuals the right to privacy regarding their reproductive decisions (including the decision to bear children or terminate a pregnancy). As these rights are now included in the California Civil Rights Act, actions can be filed against employers for infringement of these rights.

Under another act, SB 523, there is to be no discrimination against employees based on their reproductive decision-making.

5. AB 2282: Hate Crime Penalties


Governor-approved: September 18, 2022

In-effect: Current

This is an addition to existing law that levies criminal penalties against individuals who publicly utilize certain symbols, marks, signs, or emblems with the intent to intimidate an individual or group.

The expansion extends penalties when such symbols, marks, signs, or emblems are used in K-12 schools, colleges, cemeteries, places of worship, places of employment, private property, public parks, public spaces, and public facilities. 

Employers are encouraged to report any hate behavior to the police.

Staying Updated

Laws and regulations are constantly changing. As an employer, it’s very important to stay apprised of all updates that are relevant to your sphere of responsibility.

At Peopletrail, we help organizations stay up-to-date on regulatory changes that apply to their state(s) and their industry.

For more information, visit us online.

Share our Blog