The Impact of New Law AB 1701: Direct Contractors May Be Liable for the Unpaid Wages of Subcontractors!
Direct Contractors may be liable for the unpaid wages of sub-contractors on any construction project, including repair projects. Really. The liability is for unpaid wages, fringes, benefit payments/contributions and interest. Not only may the wage claimant seek a recovery from the direct contractor, but the Labor Commissioner may also enforce the claim. The claim must be filed within one year of earliest of the notice of completion, notice of cessation or actual completion.
How can a direct contractor defend itself? First, it has a right to know the name and address of subcontractors of any tier (and a subcontractor has the same right as to lower tier subs). More significantly, it may demand payroll records, including, minimum gross wages, total hours worked, number of piece-rate units (if applicable), all deductions, net wages, dates for which payment is made, name of the employee, applicable hourly rates and number of hours worked at each rate, among other information. If the information is requested, all sums owed may be withheld until the information is provided.
New Law AB 1223: Internet Posting of Progress Payments
This new law adds Section 10261.7 to the Public Contracts Code, requiring Public Agencies that maintain a website to post within 10 days of making a construction contract payment, the name of the project for which payment was made, the name of the contractor paid, the amount of the payment, and other information.
Meet The Official California State Dinosaur! (From New Law AB 1540)
For almost 170 years, the state of the Golden Bear has lacked a state dinosaur. This horrendous oversight has at long last been fixed. As a matter of law, Augustynolophus morrisi is now the official California state dinosaur. For those who want to know it all, the California dino is a genus of the herbivorous saurolophine hadrosaur dinosaur, which was discovered in the Moreno Formation in California, dating to the late Maastrichtian age. After 70 million years, the augustynolophus morrisi has been given the recognition it deserves.
New Law AB 1008: No Prior Conviction History Question Allowed on Job Application
Oh-Oh there goes the check box on the application. It is now unlawful for an employer with 5 or more employees to include questions about an applicant’s criminal history, to inquire or consider an applicant’s conviction history before making a conditional offer of employment. After a conditional offer is made, an employer can inquire about and do a background check regarding criminal conviction. However, an employer who intends to deny an applicant a position of employment solely or in part because of the applicant’s conviction history must make an individualized assessment of whether the applicant’s conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job.
Only when the there is a direct and adverse relationship with the duties of the job, i.e. a person convicted of financial fraud handling money, can the employer notify the applicant in writing the specific conviction(s) that form the basis that the offer is being withdrawn, and must attach a copy of the conviction history report. The notice must inform the applicant they then have 5 business days to respond to the notice and if the applicant responds within 5 business days that they are disputing the accuracy of the conviction information they have an additional 5 business days to respond in order to gather that disputing evidence.
Before making a final decision, the employer must consider the applicant’s response. If an employer makes a final decision to still withdraw the offer, the employer must notify the applicant in writing of all the following: (1) The final denial or disqualification – the employer may, but is not required to, justify or explain the employer’s reasoning for making the final denial or disqualification; (2) Any existing procedure the employer has for the applicant to challenge the decision or request reconsideration; and (3) The right to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
New Law AB 1424: The University of California Can Use Best Value Contracting – With A Condition
The University of California may use Best Value Contracting, which allows consideration of many factors, such as experience, competency and capacity to complete similar projects. Prequalified bidders will submit sealed bids. The U.C. is to issue procedures and guidelines for use of best value contracting. The condition is that at the time of bid the contractor must commit that a certain percentage of workers on the project will be graduates of an apprenticeship program (with certain trade exceptions, such as plasters). The percentage starts at 30% in 2017 and increases to 60% in 2020.
Do Your Materials Meet Global Warming Standards? (New Law AB 262)
In AB 262, the California Legislature creates global warming requirements for materials used in public works for state agencies, the University of California and California State University. The state will establish global warming potential standards for certain listed materials. The contractor will need to submit a facility-specific Environmental Product Declaration that that its materials comply, before installation of those materials. This provision goes into effect on or after January 1, 2019 (in part) and after July 1, 2019 (in part).
Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) – Labor Code 2698 et seq.
PAGA provides employees the ability to file certain types of legal actions against employers to collect penalties on behalf of the state. A plaintiff under PAGA only receives 25% of the penalties collected, but there are two reasons these lawsuits are filed: (1) It provides for attorney’s fees to the employee who successfully brings the suit; and (2) it allows for class action lawsuits, so that large penalties can be won.
The variety of claims that can form the basis for PAGA is extensive. A few of the major areas are: (1) violations of meal and rest break requirements; (2) wage statement violations – such as not listing all the hours worked and the types of hours; (3) waiting time penalties regarding payment of wages; and (4) a catch all for a violation of any provision of any wage order of the state – for example the failure to provide employees with suitable seating (Section 14 of most wage orders) or to maintain comfortable temperatures at work (section 15 of most wage orders)!
This is a minefield through which employers must navigate successfully or be prepared to deal with the explosion.
New Law AB 168: Salary Information for New Applicants
This new law prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment (in any way and as to any part of the application process) and prohibits the employer from relying on the salary history information of an applicant for employment as a factor in determining whether to offer an applicant employment or what salary to offer an applicant. In addition, an employer, upon reasonable request, is required to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant for employment.
Finally, an applicant is not prohibited from voluntarily, and without prompting, disclosing salary history information and would not prohibit an employer from considering or relying on that voluntarily disclosed salary history information in determining salary
New Law AB 132: Los Angeles Olympics 2028
This new law authorizes the governor to execute games support contracts in connection with the site selection process for Los Angeles to become host for the 2028 Olympic Games and Paraplegic Games (Special Olympics). The contracts would accept financial liability to provide state security for amounts owed by the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (OGOG) and for any financial deficit accruing to the OGOG as a result of hosting the games by the endorsing municipalities.
Keep watching. More new laws to come.