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California: Employees Cannot Be Retaliated Against for Discussing Working Conditions

  • October 3, 2002

Extending workplace protection for employee discussions about wages, a new law signed by Governor Davis on September 26 prohibits retaliation against individuals for disclosing information about working conditions. The law makes it unlawful to require employees to agree not to disclose information about working conditions and prohibits discharge, formal discipline or other discrimination against an employee who does disclose such information.

California Assembly Bill 2895: Private Employment / Working Conditions

Purpose: To extend protection to employees against retaliation for disclosing information about working conditions.

Effective Date: January 1, 2003

Consequences: The bill not only prohibits retaliation, but also requires employers to refrain from requiring employees not to disclose information about the worker's employment conditions. Exceptions exist for information which constitutes proprietary information, trade secret information, or other information subject to a legal privilege. Employers will therefore have to carefully review and, in many instances, revise confidentiality agreements which require employees to maintain in confidence information which is not legally protected.

View full text of AB 2895

Press release issued by the Office of Governor Davis:

Bills Allow Employees to Inspect Payroll Records; Report Poor Working Conditions

Governor Gray Davis has signed legislation designed to offer employees the right to inspect their payroll records and report poor working conditions without fear of repercussions from their employers.

"California's workforce is the soul and strength of our economy," Governor Davis said. "Signing these bills protects the rights of those working men and women that have played a major role in ensuring the prosperity of this Great State."

Governor Davis has signed:

AB 2412, by Assemblymember Manny Diaz (D-San Jose), specifies that, within 21 days of receiving a written or oral request from a current or former employee, an employer must provide copies (at cost) of his or her payroll records, or permit the employee to inspect those records. The bill prescribes a penalty of $750 for an employer that fails to comply with this requirement. AB 2412 also authorizes an employee to bring action for injunctive relief to obtain access to payroll records.

AB 2895, by Assemblymember Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco), creates protections for an employee who discloses information about his or her working conditions. The bill also makes it unlawful for an employer to require employees to refrain from disclosing information about the employers working conditions. The measure also makes it unlawful to discharge, formally discipline or otherwise discriminate against an employee who does disclose information about the employer's working conditions.

©2002 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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