It’s springtime in California!  And even as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, the California legislature is busy, busy, busy passing hundreds of new laws because, after all, you can never get too much of a good thing!

Yes, it’s Bill Passing Season in Sacramento, and the California legislature seems as determined as ever to defend the state’s vaunted position as one of the top “Judicial Hellholes” in the nation!

In that vein, The California Chamber of Commerce has just identified a host of recently introduced “Job Killer” Bills from the California Legislature.

This year’s list includes 18 bills that would expand Cal/OSHA authority and enforcement; create a new single-payer health care system; impose new mandatory leave requirements; and further increase taxes.  As is often the case, many of these measures seem to be “solutions in search of a problem,” according to Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg.

Here are a few:

  • AB-71 (Rivas, L.; D-Arleta) Corporate Tax Increase: Would increase tax rates for corporations and financial institutions with $5,000,000 or more in profits. This is one of several pending proposals to increase taxes in California—which already has the highest personal income taxes, excise and sales taxes, and gas taxes in the country—and comes despite a projected $26 billion surplus plus another $26 billion in unanticipated funds from the federal government under the recently-passed American Rescue Plan.
  • AB-95 (Low; D-Campbell) New Bereavement Leave Mandate: Would impose on all employers the obligation to provide employees bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner, regardless of how long the employee has worked for the employer.
  • AB-995 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Sick Leave Expansion: Would require all employers to provide five days of paid sick leave to employees. Employers would also be required to allow a total paid sick leave accrual of 80 hours.
  • AB-1003 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) “Wage Theft” Punishable as Grand Theft: Would make “’the intentional theft of wages” (which is often attributable to a good faith mistake) punishable as “grand theft,” which can be punished as a misdemeanor, by fine, or through a civil action by the employee or labor commissioner to recover wages, benefits, and other compensation.
  • AB-1074 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Rehiring Displaced Workers: Would require employers to offer certain of its laid-off janitorial and hotel services employees specified information regarding job positions for which they are qualified that become available.  “Laid-off employees” are those who worked for the employer for six or more of the twelve months preceding January 1, 2020 and were laid-off for a COVID-19 related purpose.
  • AB-1119 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Expansion of FEHA Duty to Accommodate: Would add “family responsibilities” to the list of protected categories under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and would prohibit discrimination against employees based on those “family responsibilities.”  The bill would also require employers to reasonably accommodate employees who are providing ongoing care to a family member whose school or place of care is otherwise unavailable.
  • AB-1179 (Carrillo; D-Los Angeles) Employer Childcare Funding: Would require employers with 1,000 or more employees to provide up to 60 hours of paid backup childcare to employees once they been employed for at least 30 days. This law would apply to childcare obtained by the employee when the regular childcare provider is unavailable.
  • AB-1400 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Guaranteed Health Care for All: Would effectively eliminate private health insurance in favor of shifting the responsibility for financing and administering health coverage in California to the state government. While the measure does not even attempt to estimate the cost of such a bold initiative, a similar measure that failed in 2017 would have cost an estimated $400 billion per year.
  • SB-213 (Cortese; D-San Jose) Expands Presumption of Injury: Would create a presumption of work-related injury for health-facility employees who contract COVID-19. For hospital employees who provide direct patient care, the bill also would expand the presumption of work-related injury to include illness or death caused by: blood-borne infectious diseases; MERSA; Tuberculosis, Meningitis, and COVID-19.
  • SB-606 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Expands Cal/OSHA Authority: Would require Cal/OSHA to cite those who violate certain provisions related to the spraying of asbestos. If an employer has multiple worksites and a written policy that violates this law, this bill would also create a rebuttable presumption that policy requires enterprise-wide abatement. Would also create a rebuttable presumption of retaliation for an employee discharged within 90 days of disclosing a COVID-19 diagnosis due to workplace exposure, or for requesting testing for COVID-19 as a result of such exposure.

We will continue to track the progress of these and any other “job killer” bills as they move through the Legislature.

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Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including…

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Tony is recognized as a leading lawyer by such highly respected publications and organizations as the Los Angeles Daily JournalThe Hollywood Reporter, and Chambers USA, which gives him the highest possible rating (“Band 1”) for Labor & Employment.  According to Chambers USA, clients say Tony is “brilliant at what he does… He is even keeled, has a high emotional IQ, is a great legal writer and orator, and never gives up.” Other clients report:  “Tony has an outstanding reputation” and he is “smart, cost effective and appropriately aggressive.” Tony is hailed as “outstanding,” particularly for his “ability to merge top-shelf lawyerly advice with pragmatic business acumen.” He is highly respected in the industry, with other commentators lauding him as a “phenomenal strategist” and “one of the top employment litigators in the country.”

“Tony is the author of the treatise titled Employment Discrimination Depositions (Juris Pub’g 2020;, co-author of Proskauer on Privacy (PLI 2020), and, since 1990, has been a regular columnist for the official publication of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Tony has been a featured guest on Fox 11 News and CBS News in Los Angeles. He has been interviewed and quoted by leading national media outlets such as The National Law JournalBloomberg News, The New York Times, and Newsweek and Time magazines. Tony is a frequent speaker on employment law topics for large and small groups of employers and their counsel, including the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”), PIHRA, the National CLE Conference, National Business Institute, the Employment Round Table of Southern California (Board Member), the Council on Education in Management, the Institute for Corporate Counsel, the State Bar of California, the California Continuing Education of the Bar Program and the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. He has testified as an expert witness regarding wage and hour issues as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and has served as a faculty member of the National Employment Law Institute. He has served as an arbitrator in an employment discrimination matter.

Tony is an appointed Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission Board of Rights and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law and a guest lecturer at USC Law School and a guest lecturer at UCLA Law School.