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AB 51: Restrictions on Applicant/Employee Waiver of Rights

AB 51: Restrictions on Applicant/Employee Waiver of Rights

AB 51 : Existing law imposes various restrictions on employers with respect to contracts and applications for employment. A violation of those restrictions is a misdemeanor.

Existing law creates the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which is under the direction of the Labor Commissioner, and generally commits to the commissioner the authority and responsibility for the enforcement of employment laws.
This bill would prohibit a person from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or other specific statutes governing employment as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit. The bill would also prohibit an employer from threatening, retaliating or discriminating against, or terminating any applicant for employment or any employee because of the refusal to consent to the waiver of any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of specific statutes governing employment. The bill would establish a specific exemption from those prohibitions. Because a violation of these prohibitions would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
FEHA makes specified employment and housing practices unlawful and provides procedures for enforcement by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. FEHA authorizes a person alleging a violation of specified provisions of the act relating to employment discrimination to submit a verified complaint to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and requires the department to take actions to investigate and conciliate that complaint. FEHA authorizes the department to bring a civil action on behalf of the person who submitted the complaint upon the failure to eliminate an unlawful practice under these provisions. FEHA requires the department to issue a right-to-sue notice to a person who submitted the complaint if certain conditions occur, and FEHA requires a person who has been issued a right-to-sue notice to bring an action within one year from when the department issued that notice.
This bill would additionally make violations of the prohibitions described above, relating to the waiver of rights, forums, or procedures, unlawful employment practices under FEHA.

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