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Governor Brown Vetoes Employment Regulatory Bills

On the October 11 constitutional deadline for action by the Governor on bills that passed by the California Legislature during it recently-ended 2014-2015 session, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed several bills that would have been harmful to California agricultural employers:

  • AB 561 (Nora Campos, D- San Jose) would have amended the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRB) to require an employer appealing a monetary board order to post a bond for the “entire economic value of the order.”  This would have unfairly restricted the right of an farm employer to appeal such an order.  While the Governor's veto message did not mention that concern, it did express concern about a provision requiring the Board to process all decisions within one year.  The Governor directed the Agricultural Labor Relations Board to make internal reforms to allow it to issue more timely orders.  You can read the Governor's entire veto message on AB 561 here.  
  • AB 465 (Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina) would have prohibited “contracts against public policy;" defined as a mandatory pre-employment agreement where an employee agrees to allow all employment-related disputes to be settled by an arbitrator.  Such arbitration agreements have long been used by employers as a means of managing litigation exposure and costs.   Governor Brown's veto message noted that prior court decisions have built in numerous protections against abuse of employees in the use of arbitration agreements, as well as employers' concerns that years of litigation would result from the enactment of AB 465 since both federal and California courts have clearly ruled that such bans violate federal law.  You can read the Governor's entire veto message on AB 465 here.
  • SB 406 (Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara) expands the scope of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to by adding to the number of relatives for whom an employee could take job-protected leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).   SB 406 would have added grandparents, grandchildren and siblings to those for whom an employee could take a CFRA leave, significantly greater coverage than the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), creating situations where employees could have taken consecutive unpaid leaves.  Governor Brown's veto message indicated he would be open to expansions of CFRA that did not conflict with FMLA; you can read his veto message here.
  • AB 578 by Evan Low (D-Campbell) would have hampered the process of obtaining a variance from a Cal/OSHA regulation by vastly expanding the number of parties that would have to be given notice of the proposed variance.  The Governor's veto message expressed his view that the current variance process ensures the rights of all affected parties to a variance proposal to be heard; you can read the Governor's veto message here