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News & Analysis
Latest legal news and recent law changes.

California’s 2023 Employment Laws: Safety and Wellness

A safe workplace requires more than a response to COVID-19, and as a recognition of this reality the California Legislature obliged with new laws attempting to provide safety from other threats. For example, nonemergency workers may flee the workplace or use their mobile phones for safety during an “emergency condition,” . The definition of an emergency does not include a reference to COVID 19, but it is otherwise expansive and includes a reasonable belief of an emergency condition.

There are now 14 categories of businesses that must post a notice designed to aid human trafficking victims. The newest category consists of beauty salons and similar businesses such as barber shops. In order to comply with the requirements, the notice must be prominently displayed in English, Spanish, and the third most widely spoken language in the county.

Cal/OSHA must now issue its citations, special orders, and actions in English and “the top seven non-English languages” in California, as well as Punjabi if not among these 7 languages. On receipt of a citation, special order, or action the recipient employer must post these citations, special orders, or actions in the workplace in all the required languages. 

As seen in a previous blog entry, an employer may not ask employees certain questions during the hiring process. In addition to salary history the list of prohibited questions has expanded to prohibit the mandatory disclosure of “reproductive health decision making” such as use of contraceptives.

Californian employees generally have the right to take medical leave to care for family members. An employee may now designate one individual not otherwise considered a family member to be considered as such for medical leave. Californian employees may also take up to 5 consecutive or nonconsecutive days as unpaid leave within 3 months of the death of a family member. 

Public hospital employees without a collective bargaining agreement are now entitled to rest and meal breaks over the course of the workday. The meal break consists of a 30-minute unpaid period for shifts over 5 hours and a second unpaid 30-minute meal period on shifts over 10 hours.  The rest time is 10-minutes per 4 hours or major fraction thereof. Violations are remedied through an extra hour’s pay to the employee for every day of violation.

If you have questions or concerns about how these news reports may affect you or your business, please contact The Burton Law Firm at: 916-822-8700 or email for a consultation.