California Set to Enforce Groundbreaking Laws Affecting Employment and Personal Injury Cases in 2024


Reporting by Samuel Adam Lopez, Legal Analyst, USA Herald

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[CALIFORNIA] – A state long known for its progressive worker protections, California ushered in a new year with a wave of significant legal changes impacting both employment law and personal injury cases. These new laws will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the lives of workers and injured individuals throughout the Golden State.

“The new employment laws in California are a game-changer, providing stronger protections for workers while also presenting new challenges for employers,” said Samuel Adam Lopez, a legal analyst with the USA Herald. “These changes will undoubtedly shape the way businesses operate and how employees assert their rights.”

Employee Rights Take Center Stage

One of the most noteworthy changes involves minimum wage increases. California’s standard minimum wage will rise from $15.50 to $16.00 per hour. However, the impact extends beyond this baseline increase. Specific industries have already seen more substantial bumps: fast-food workers at large chains now earn a minimum of $20.00 per hour, while healthcare workers can expect a minimum wage of $23.00 per hour starting in June.

The return-to-work movement, a prominent issue following the COVID-19 pandemic, is also addressed. Employers seeking to transition employees back to an in-person work environment are now obligated to provide a written notice 30 days in advance under the new law SB 731. This advanced notice affords employees time to adjust schedules, childcare arrangements, and other aspects of their lives.

Another significant change impacting employment involves cannabis use. SB 700 prohibits discrimination against potential or current employees based on their off-the-clock cannabis use. This means employers cannot consider recreational cannabis use outside of working hours when making hiring or termination decisions, or when determining other employment conditions.

Employee Retaliation Gets Checked

The fight against workplace retaliation is bolstered by SB 497, also known as the Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act. This law creates a presumption of retaliation in favor of employees who experience adverse employment actions within 90 days of engaging in protected activities, such as reporting wage theft or discrimination. This shift in the burden of proof makes it easier for workers to hold employers accountable for retaliation.

Personal Injury Landscape Sees Adjustments

Beyond the realm of employment law, California has also implemented changes that could influence personal injury cases. Assembly Bill 1909 dictates that bicyclists must adhere to all traffic signals, even if those signals display different colored bicycle symbols alongside standard traffic control signals. This law could potentially impact the outcome of bicycle accident lawsuits, making it more challenging for cyclists who disregard traffic signals to win their cases.

These new laws herald a paradigm shift in California’s legal framework, aiming to bolster employee rights, prevent discrimination, and enhance safety standards for cyclists. As the state paves the way for progressive legal reforms, stakeholders must navigate these changes diligently to uphold ethical practices and ensure a fairness and justice for all.

Samuel Adam Lopez serves as a Legal Analyst and reporter at the USA Herald, bringing over two decades of experience in the legal field. His expertise spans a broad range of topics including legal and insurance industries, litigation, and verdicts. He specializes in analyzing trends within these sectors and reports extensively on insurers’ bad faith practices affecting the public and policyholders.

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