AB 2664 sets in place new rules for court reporters pro tempore.

Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2664 by Assembly Member Chris Holden on September 18th as Chapter 497. The bill amends two Government Code sections. For example, it authorizes a pro tempore official reporter who is present in the courtroom providing that service to be appointed by the presiding judge of the court or the judge presiding in the department where the reporter will serve.

The bill also requires the Judicial Council to adopt rules to ensure that at the arranging party’s request, the court is required to appoint the certified shorthand reporter to be present in the courtroom and serve as the official reporter pro tem, unless there’s a good cause shown for the court to refuse that appointment. It also requires that the fees and charges of the certified shorthand reporter be recoverable as taxable costs by the prevailing party.

The purpose of new Assembly Bill 2664 is to end the requirement that all parties involved in litigation must agree and stipulate to the use of a specific court reporter pro tempore before the reporter can be appointed by the court. The bill also clarifies that an arranging party’s shorthand reporter may be appointed the official pro tem reporter so long as that reporter is present in the courtroom and there’s no good cause to reject the appointment.

You can find a full transcript of today’s podcast here.

Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2282 by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman on July 18, 2018 as Chapter 127. The bill provides clarity on several provisions of existing California law that’s intended to prohibit the use of prior salary history in negotiations between employers and applicants for employment. The bill amended Labor Code Sections 432.3 and 1197.5 and went into effect on January 1, 2019.

AB 2282 defined the terms “pay scale,” “reasonable request,” and “applicant” for purposes of the existing law. AB 2282 further clarified that existing law does not prohibit an employer from asking an applicant for employment salary expectations for the position that he or she is applying for.

In addition, the new law allows an employer to make a compensation decision based upon an employee’s current salary, so long as any wage differential from the particular compensation is noted.

The bill specifies that the prohibition on asking a job applicant about prior salary does not actually forbid the employer from asking the applicant for employment about his or her salary expectations.

In terms of specific provisions, the bill also said that a “pay scale” means a salary or hourly wage range, and that a “reasonable request” means a request that’s made after the applicant has completed an initial interview with the employer. Then AB 2282 defines an “applicant” to mean an individual who is seeking employment and is not currently employed with that particular employer.

Note, too, that AB 2282 also made two important changes to California’s Equal Pay Act in both the equal pay provisions. One is based upon gender and the other on race or ethnicity.

The new law struck the requirement that salary history shall not, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation. “Prior salary shall not justify any disparity in compensation.”

This bill didn’t have any opposition and moved relatively easily through the legislative process. It was co‑sponsored by the American Association of University Women, California Employment Lawyers Association, and equal rights advocates.

Today’s post is on AB 1654 by Assemblywoman Rubio from the 2018 legislative session. AB 1654 creates a new exemption from the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, otherwise known as PAGA.

The exemption is strictly for the construction industry, and it exempts from PAGA an employee in the construction industry – which is defined with respect to work performed under a valid collective bargaining agreement in effect any time before January 1, 2025.

That collective bargaining agreement, CBA, must contain certain provisions, including among other things a grievance and binding arbitration procedure to address violations that authorize the arbitrator to award otherwise available remedies.

PAGA, in effect, encourages class‑action type lawsuits over minor employment issues because once a PAGA lawsuit has been filed, the employee or class plaintiff is suing on behalf of the state.

The issues involved are no longer subject to arbitration. The threat of extended litigation, including wide‑ranging discovery allowed when prosecuting civil claims in court, on behalf of an entire class of workers, provides enormous pressure on employers to settle claims regardless of the validity of those claims.

Assemblywoman Rubio, the bill’s author, stated, “This bill would commit PAGA claims arising in the building and construction industry to the grievance and arbitration machinery of a collective bargaining agreement maintained by the employers and a union in that industry so long as that CBA expressly provides for certain key provisions, including grievance and binding arbitration procedures.”

You can find a transcript of today’s podcast here.

 

 

 

Today’s post is on AB 1531, which provides for new rules for the payment of court fees.

This bill establishes specified rules regarding the payment of court fees when using an electronic filing service provider.

Essentially, the bill requires, if a duplicate payment is made to a court by a party or an electronic service provided by either credit card or other electronic means for things like court filing fees, then the court must issue any appropriate refund to the entity that made the most recent payment.

In addition, the new law allows an electronic filing service provider to notify the court clerk that fees remain unpaid, despite notice to the attorney of record, which would thereby allow the clerk to notify the attorney of record that he or she may be sanctioned by the court for nonpayment of those fees.

AB 1531 essentially adopts a last‑in, first‑out refund approach, which many courts around the state already utilize to address duplicate payment issues. In addition, AB 1531 is intended to make it easier for service providers to collect money owed to them that was not paid by attorneys of record who filed court documents through them by allowing the courts to sanction those attorneys of record.

You can find a transcript of today’s podcast here.

SB 826 (transcript)

Today’s post is on Senate Bill 826 from the 2018 legislative session concerning California’s new mandate on women on publicly traded corporate boards.

Governor Brown signed SB 826 by State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson on September 30th. It was Chapter 954. It adds two new sections to California’s Corporations Code.

Essentially the new law requires every publicly held corporation whose principal executive offices are located in the state of California to have a specified minimum number of women on its board of directors.

It also requires the California Secretary of State to review and issue reports regarding corporate compliance with the bill’s provisions and authorizes the Secretary of State to impose fines for any violations of that bill.

The Legislature did make some modifications to the bill before they sent it down to the Governor for final action, including the addition of a fine for failure to timely file board member information with the Secretary of State. They modified the dollar amounts of the fines imposed for both the first and subsequent violations of the law.

What the bill essentially states is that no later than March 1, 2020 and annually thereafter, the Secretary of State will publish a report on its website that contains specified information. Again, it authorizes the Secretary of State to impose fines for violations of the bill.

These fines are quite substantial. For failure to timely file board member information the first violation is $100,000. For a second or subsequent violation, the amount goes up to $300,000 per violation.

Section One of the bill, which represents most of the bill’s contents, sets forth numerous legislative findings and decorations. In Section Two of the bill, it adds Section 301.3 to the Corporations Code, which we’ll cover in a moment.

Then it also adds Section 211.5.5 to the Corporations Code that essentially sets forth the requirements that will cover apply to a foreign corporation ‑‑ that is a publicly held corporation ‑‑ to the exclusion of the law, the jurisdiction in which that foreign corporation is incorporated.

What this new section of the Corporations Code says is that no later than the close of the 2019 calendar year, every domestic general corporation or foreign corporation that is publicly held, and whose principle executive office according to the corporation’s SEC 10K form is located in California, must have a minimum of one female on its board of directors.

Thereafter, the bill specifies that no later than the end of the 2021 calendar year, the required minimum number must be two female directors if the corporation has five directors or three female directors if the corporation has six or more directors.

This bill has gotten a lot of press attention and numerous legal scholars have questioned its constitutionality. We’ll have to wait and see once it’s implemented at the end of 2019 whether or not a publicly traded corporation undoubtedly incorporated out of state challenges this new statute.