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Monday, September 27, 2010

Governor Schwarzenegger Vetoes Wage and Hour Bills

On Friday, Governor Schwarzennegger vetoed a number of wage and hour bills:

AB 677 (Solorio, D-Santa Ana) - Public works: prevailing wages. Veto message:
Defining projects for renewable energy generating facilities serving school and community college districts as public works when the only public funds are those spent to purchase power produced is an unwarranted expansion of prevailing wage requirements into private works of improvement. Because the payment of prevailing wages results in higher costs, the bill may potentially reduce the number of renewable energy projects undertaken.
AB 1881 (Monning, D-Carmel) - Recovery of wages: liquidated damages. Veto message:
This bill would increase liquidated damages in civil actions for minimum wage violations to twice the wages unlawfully unpaid and interest thereon. Existing law allows for liquidated damages equal to wages owed, in addition to interest, other penalties, and attorneys’ fees. There is no information to show that the existing enforcement and protections of California’s minimum wage laws are insufficient.
AB 2187 (Arambula, I-Fresno) - Employment: payment of wages. Veto message:
AB 2187 would create a new criminal prohibition against a person or an employer who, having the ability to pay, willfully fails to pay all wages to an employee who has been discharged or who has quit within 90 days of the date of the wages becoming due. The bill contains an exemption for instances in which the employee’s entitlement to unpaid wages is disputed by the employer in a civil action or proceeding by the Labor Commissioner unless there is a final judgment in favor of the employee.

Waiting time penalties and defined timeframes for the payment of final wages currently exist in California law, as do mechanisms for enforcement of these obligations. Therefore, this bill is unnecessary.
AB 2773 (Swanson, D-Alameda) - Civil actions: costs. Would have reversed the California Supreme Court decision in Chavez v. City of Los Angeles. See our post on Chavez here. Veto message:
This measure would require an award of attorney’s fees in all fair employment and housing cases even when nominal damages are awarded and even if the case was improperly filed in a court of unlimited jurisdiction. While there may be instances when an award of attorneys fees may be proper, this measure removes all discretion from a judge and encourages frivolous lawsuits.
The Governor also vetoed a number of other employment bills:

AB 482 (Mendoza, D-Norwalk) - Employment: credit reports. Veto message.

AB 1765 (Solorio, D-Anaheim) - Public employment: furloughs. Veto message.

AB 2008 (Arambula, I-Fresno) - Public employment: furloughs. Veto message.

AB 2494 (Blumenfield, D-San Fernando Valley) - Personal services contracts. Veto Message.

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