There’s a bill in California that’s gaining momentum that you’ll want to keep an eye on. It’s Senate Bill 1044 also known by employer organizations as the “Job-Killer” Bill.
The Bill, SB 1044 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles), permits employees to leave work or not show up without any prior notice if they feel unsafe.
In addition, it prohibits employers, “in the event of a state of emergency or an emergency condition, as defined, from taking or threatening adverse action against any employee for refusing to report to or leaving a workplace within the affected area because the employee feels unsafe.”
But that’s not it. It also prohibits employers from preventing employees from using their mobile device to seek emergency assistance, assess the safety of the situation or communicate to a person to confirm their safety.
Emergency conditions are defined as “an event that poses serious danger to the structure of a workplace or to a worker’s immediate health and safety” or “an order to evacuate a workplace, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child.” This is in addition to national, state and local states of emergency.
Opposition to ‘Job-Killer’ Bill
Not surprising, more than 60 organizations oppose. But despite that, the California Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee recently passed the Bill. Now, it’s even closer to being voted on by the full state senate.
Here’s a real kicker for you. How safe or unsafe a person feels is subjective. So, when it comes to this Bill, even if the person is being totally irrational, they’d be protected under it.
So bottom line is, employers would face a lawsuit under the Private Attorney General Act, if they disciplined a worker for leaving or not showing up for work, under this Bill.
Jeopardize public safety
Opponents of the Bill say it would reduce public safety because it would allow emergency workers (police and firefighters) and healthcare workers to leave their jobs in an emergency, leaving the public high and dry.
Another area of concern, the definition of “state of emergency.” Currently, it encompasses any “state of emergency,” which is way too broad according to the Bill’s opponents. Also, it includes ongoing states of emergency, like a pandemic. And it doesn’t take into account any safety measures employers have in place.
If passed, this CA Bill could become a trend that few employers would like.
We’ll keep you posted on its progress.