May 2015 - Issue 39

Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors

California JPIA 20th Annual Risk Management Forum: Capstone Award and Scholarship Opportunity

Registering for an Instructor-Led Course Using the New Learning Management System

California JPIA Website: Reporting a Claim

Human Resources Academy

Public Works Academy

California Revises Regulations on Family and Medical Leave

Lisa Pope Named 2015 City Clerk of the Year

Irwindale Police Unveils New Communication Center

Legislative Update

News: Worthy

Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors

by Jonathan R. Shull, Chief Executive Officer

Jon Shull

The Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. 

Those attending will have the opportunity meet the Executive Committee, Authority staff, and network with the members of the California JPIA. The business meeting will present information about the Authority's objectives, vision, and accomplishments over the past year, including recognition of the winners of the 2015 Risk Management Awards.

In addition, voting delegates will elect a President, and two Executive Committee members for two-year terms.  Additionally there will be an election to fill the unexpired term of Vice President for one year. 

The meeting will be held at the Authority’s La Palma campus at 8081 Moody Street.  A buffet dinner will be available al fresco at 5:30 p.m. with the Board of Directors meeting immediately following.  Voting delegates and up to one additional member representative traveling in excess of 100 miles are eligible to receive lodging and travel reimbursement for attending the meeting.  A $100 stipend will be provided to the voting delegate or alternate of each member agency attending the meeting.

On an annual basis, the California JPIA asks members to certify designated California JPIA Director and Alternate(s) prior to the annual Board of Directors meeting.  We automated the process and now have a more efficient, paperless, method which allows you to submit certifications electronically.  Please click here to complete the certification.  Registration for the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors will open in June.  For questions or assistance please contact Denise Covell, Office Assistant, by email or phone at (562) 467-8771.

I hope you will be able to join us.

News: Worthy

California JPIA 20th Annual Risk Management Forum:  Capstone Award and Scholarship Opportunity

Registration continues for the California JPIA's 20th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum: Managing Risk Like a Champion, to be held September 23-25, 2015 at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.

3rd Annual California JPIA Capstone Award

In 2013, the Authority awarded its first ever Capstone Award to an individual who best exemplified the practice of risk management. This year, the Authority will again present this highly distinguished award to another outstanding individual. This deserving person could work at any level within a member agency and ideally, would be someone who:

  • Thinks through the implications of risk in the carrying out of local government programs and services

  • Works to support traditional or enterprise risk management efforts for the member agency

  • Develops, implements, and administers loss prevention and loss control programs to mitigate risk exposures for the member agency

  • Coordinates support systems that serve the member's risk management goals and needs

  • Mentors others in developing quality risk management programs for the member agency

If you know someone who demonstrates these characteristics and would like them to be considered for the third Annual Capstone Award, please click on the survey link below to submit a nomination (members may nominate themselves). 

The top five finalists will be invited to attend the Authority's Risk Management Educational Forum held September 23-25 in San Francisco. The achievements of the finalists will be recognized in front of their peers during the award ceremony.

Finalists will receive a $200 travel stipend to attend the Forum and complimentary hotel accommodations at the historic Mark Hopkins Hotel, located at the top of Nob Hill in the heart of San Francisco, during their Forum stay. 

One finalist will be selected to receive the Capstone Award in recognition of their outstanding professional risk management efforts.

Please click here to complete the survey no later than Thursday, June 25th.

Educational Forum Scholarship Opportunity

While there is no cost for member registration, the California JPIA is awarding a limited number of scholarships for accommodation costs while attending the Forum.

The purpose of the scholarships is to assist members who are otherwise unable to attend due to financial constraints at their agencies.  The Executive Committee has authorized two nights lodging at the Mark Hopkins Hotel during the Forum for each scholarship recipient. 

This is a competitive process and will be awarded to the most deserving applicants. To be eligible to receive a scholarship, an applicant must:

  • Be an employee of a member agency of the California JPIA

  • Have supervisor or management approval to attend

  • Attend the forum in its entirety

  • Be able to pay for any other related costs

Candidates must complete an online forum scholarship application no later than June 25, 2015. Selected recipients will be notified by email on or before July 8, 2015.

For questions about the Capstone Award or scholarship program, email Jennifer Fullerton, Administrative Analyst. 

News: Worthy

Registering for an Instructor-Led Course Using the New Learning Management System

The Authority’s new learning management system, which replaces the Resource Center, is currently up and running. Members who were Registrars in the previous system still have the ability to register others for trainings by completing a few steps.

To register others for an instructor-led training, it is best to start with the Training Calendar, and find the class in which you are interested.  Please note that members must be logged-in to the website in order to access the learning management system (to log in, click on the myJPIA Login link in the upper right corner of the page).

  • Class title: Clicking on the class title in the calendar will open a dialogue box that contains a course description; the time, date and location of the course; and clickable buttons for registration.
  • Register others: When the “Register Others” button for a specific time and date is clicked, members will see another dialogue box with the heading “Initiate or Resume Registration Process?” asking if they would like to initiate a new registration process, resume a registration that was previously started, or cancel the process.  After selecting “New,” members then have the opportunity to select learners to add to the class roster.  (If members would like to add a learner to a registration they’ve already started, or would like to update the list of selected learners for a course, choosing the “Update” button instead of “New” allows for that process.)
  • Learners: Learners can be selected from a list of all available learners or by searching for a specific learner’s name. Clicking on the icon in the Actions column will add the specific learner to the pending registration list. To see the names of the learners selected, click the “Step 2: Review/Complete Registration” tab.
  • Complete registration: After all learners have been selected, click the “Step 2” tab and the “Complete Registration” button.

It should be noted that some older versions of Internet Explorer may not support the learning management system, so if members are experiencing difficulties with the website, they should try logging in using Firefox or Mozilla as their browser and determine if the problem is resolved. If the problem persists, please contact Courtney Morrison by email or phone at (562) 467-8779. If members would like assistance with training registrations and/or finding courses, they can contact Michelle Aguayo by email or phone at (562) 467-8777.

News: Worthy

California JPIA Website: Reporting a Claim

by Courtney Morrison, Administrative Analyst

The Authority offers broad protection to members across many different areas, including third-party damages, workers’ compensation, special events liability, and more. Members have different options for reporting claims in these areas, and now, with the California JPIA’s recently updated website,, members have another option: they can easily report claims using the Authority website.

For members wishing to report a claim, the Report a Claim page is a helpful feature. This page allows members to use an online form to report claims directly to the California JPIA's third-party administrators.

Liability claims concern bodily injuries, personal injuries, or property damage to a third party resulting from a member activity, including automobile liability. To report one of these claims, members simply click on the Report a Third-Party Liability Claim button, which will take them to an online form. Liability claims are sent to Carl Warren & Company, the Authority’s third-party administrator for liability claims.

Workers’ compensation injury and illness claims concern employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work activities. Members can click on the Report an Employee Injury or Illness button to submit a claim, and they will be taken to a York Risk Services client login page. If a member has never reported a claim to York or does not have a York account, there is an opportunity on the page to create a new account.

For those members participating in the property program, claims concerning first-party property, earthquakes, mechanical breakdowns, machinery, and first-party vehicle physical damage can be reported. Clicking the Report a Property Program Claim button will take members to an online form. Property claims are sent to VeriClaim and Alliant Insurance Services.

Other types of claims include first- and third-party pollution liability, crime, cyber liability, member on-premises special event liability, and vendors/contractor liability. The Report Other Claim button should be used for reporting these types of claims, which are received by the appropriate claims administrators.

When reporting a claim, please be prepared with as much information as possible, such as witness names, if any; location of the event; whether or not a third party was responsible; description of the event; and details about any law enforcement agencies contacted.

Note that the significant incident feature that appeared on the previous Authority website is no longer available. If you think you have a significant incident involving death, serious injury, or significant property damage, contact your risk manager.

News: Worthy

Human Resources Academy

by Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator

The California JPIA’s Human Resources Academy was held April 23 – 25, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells.  The two and a half day Academy — designed for experienced human resources professionals — featured presentations by Dr. Steve Albrecht, author and consultant; Jeff Bills, nationally recognized speaker, consultant, and facilitator; Kelly Trainer, Partner with the law firm of Burke, Williams, & Sorensen; Steve Filarsky, Partner with the law firm of Filarsky & Watt; Tim Davis, Chairman and Partner of Burke, Williams, and Sorensen’s Employment Law Practice Group; Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager with the California JPIA; and Jeff Rush, Workers Compensation Program Manager with the California JPIA. 

Sessions included:

  • The Role and Future of HR: Connecting with Senior Agency Leaders and Officials at the Strategic Level
  • The Art of Tapping into Potential and Developing Your Talent
  • No Employee Left Behind: Evaluating the Evaluations
  • Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations
  • Employment Practices: Recent Case Law Developments and Employment
  • Assistance/Intervention
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Legislation Update/Compliance
  • Workers’ Compensation

Thirty-five participants representing twenty-eight agencies attended the specialized academy.  “The update on employment practices case law for public agencies was an eye-opener,” expressed Del Walker with the City of Palm Desert, “This is information that I can use – or just feel confident that my agency is doing the right thing.”  Arlene Balmadrid, from the City of Carpentaria commented on one of the speakers, “Kelly Trainer is an engaging speaker. She is extremely knowledgeable and shares a wealth of information.”

For more information about the academies offered by the California JPIA, please email Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator, or contact her at (562) 467-8777.

News: Worthy

Public Works Academy

by Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator

The California JPIA Public Works Academy is set to take place beginning Tuesday, June 23 - 25, 2015 at the La Bellasera Hotel in Paso Robles. This newly designed academy is three full days of training, geared for experienced public works supervisors and managers.

Public works has some of the largest exposures to a municipal agency. The academy emphasizes best practices needed to effectively manage those risks. 

The topics covered in the Academy include:
Risk Management for Public Works with Tim Karcz; Workers Compensation with Jeff Rush; Intro to Cal-OSHA with Dick Monod de Froidville; Investigating Claims and Preserving Evidence with Scott Grossberg; Conducting Risk Reviews with Tim Karcz; Contractual Risk Transfer with Marjorie Segale; Traffic Control for Construction Zones with David Royer; Design Immunity with Scott Haith; Dangerous Conditions with Dave Ferrante and Mike Wroniak; Unwarranted Traffic Control Devices with Scott Grossberg; and Public Works Exposures and Lessons Learned with Paul Zeglovitch.

Registration is free of charge for members, and includes three nights at the hotel, breakfast, lunch, and all training materials. For further information contact Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator, by email
 or phone at or (562) 467-8777.

News: Worthy

California Revises Regulations on Family and Medical Leave

(Reprinted from the Society of Human Resource Management, April 23, 2015)

Thanks to family and medical leave laws, employees who are experiencing huge personal changes in their lives can step away from the workplace for a while, knowing their jobs are secure. These changes might range from the arrival of a new child to a newly diagnosed disease.

However, the leave laws are complicated, and now California employers will need to study up even more. On July 1, 2015, updates to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) will take effect. The changes will better align California’s rules with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations. Nevertheless, there will still be certain differences–reflecting in part California’s strong emphasis on employee privacy.

Federal and State Protections
Under both the FMLA and the CFRA, eligible workers have the right to unpaid, job-protected leave for certain situations. They can take time off for the birth or adoption of a child; the placement of a foster child in their care; or the serious health condition of the employee, or the employee’s spouse, child or parent. Both laws provide up to 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period.

The FMLA regulations underwent major changes in 2008, creating uncertainty for California companies as to which of those revisions would apply to them, said Gage Dungy, a Sacramento employment attorney at Liebert Cassidy Whitmore. Additionally, since 2008, there have been other changes to the FMLA regulations. The latest California revisions incorporate the 2013 version of the federal rules–to the extent they’re consistent with state law, said employment attorney Debbie Caplan, of Seyfarth Shaw’s Los Angeles office.

The updated California regulations have three general categories of change, said Caplan.

*Revisions that align federal and state rules.
*Revisions that clarify differences between federal and state rules.

*Revisions that clarify confusing areas.

Revisions that Align Federal and State Rules
The key provisions in this category include:

  • Calculating leave entitlement. One area that’s been aligned: how to determine what constitutes 12 workweeks of leave for employees with variable schedules. Under the previous rules, employers calculated this by using the weekly average of hours worked over the 12-week period before the beginning of leave. With the revisions, employers instead will use the weekly average of hours scheduled over the 12-month period before the beginning of leave.
  • Retroactive designation. Under the revised California rules, companies can retroactively designate leave as CFRA leave–but only if they provide appropriate notice to the employee, and if there’s no harm to the employee. This is aligned with the circumstances in which employers can retroactively designate FMLA leave, Dungy said.
  • Notice requirements. The new California regulations give employers five business days to respond to a request for CFRA leave. The previous state regulations allowed 10 days to respond.
  • Joint employers. The state regulations now include the definition of joint employer from the federal rules, rather than simply incorporating it by reference, and include the same examples of circumstances in which a joint employment relationship generally will be considered to exist, Caplan said. Under both the state and federal rules, determining whether a joint employment relationship exists is to be decided in its totality based on economic realities. 
  • Revisions that Clarify Differences Between Federal and State Rules. Despite the greater similarity between federal and state regulations, there are still significant differences. That’s partly because of California’s heightened privacy protections for employees, Caplan explained. In general, California is more employee-friendly and more restrictive for employers, she said.
  • Medical certification form. There are strict limits on the amount of information the employer is entitled to receive on the California medical certification form, Caplan emphasized. For CFRA leave requests involving serious health conditions, for instance, the certification form can’t require the medical diagnosis to be disclosed. But employees can voluntarily provide that information if they’d like, she added.
  • Clarifications of medical certifications. According to the federal regulations, an employer can contact a health care provider to authenticate or clarify the medical certification, after the employer has given the worker an opportunity to correct any deficiencies. The California regulations, though, place stricter limits on contacting medical professionals. Under the new state rules, an employer is permitted to contact a health care provider only to authenticate a medical certification. Because of this change, employers seeking clarification will need to take an indirect route, according to Caplan. It could work like this: The company gives the employee a letter explaining what needs to be clarified, and the employee gives the letter to the doctor. Then the doctor’s response passes through the employee before reaching the company. Caplan said this provision arises from a concern over employee privacy.
  • Second opinions. Under the FMLA rules, employers can seek second opinions if they have a “reason to doubt” that a medical certification is valid. Caplan noted that the updated state rules have a heightened standard. The California regulations permit employers to seek a second opinion only if they have a “good faith, objective reason to doubt” the validity. In addition, the federal regulations allow second opinions for the serious health condition of the employee or covered family members, while the California rules only permit second opinions for the employee’s serious health condition.
  • Inpatient care. Federal and state regulations also differ on how “inpatient care” is defined. The federal regulations require an overnight stay in a health care facility to be considered inpatient care, Caplan said. Under the revised California rules, a person is considered to be inpatient when admitted to a health care facility with the expectation of remaining overnight and occupying a bed–even if that person doesn’t actually stay overnight.

Revisions that Clarify Confusing Areas

  • Definition of “spouse.” The new California regulations clarify that the definition of “spouse” now includes married same-sex partners, as well as registered domestic partners.
  • Accrued paid time. If an employee receives disability benefits or paid family leave benefits during CFRA leave, the employer can’t force the employee to use accrued paid time while out on leave. Although employees can choose to use accrued paid leave (such as paid time off, vacation time or sick time) to supplement these benefits, companies can’t require them to do so, according to lawyers.
  • Permissible defenses for failure to reinstate. The state regulations clarify that restructuring a position or replacing an employee aren’t valid reasons for failing to reinstate someone who has been out on CFRA leave, according to Caplan. Under the California rules, a reduction in force is a permissible reason, though.

Other Provisions

  • In the areas of pregnancy leave and medical recertification, state rules continue to differ from federal regulations–although there haven’t been any recent revisions to the California regulations in these areas.
  • Pregnancy. While the FMLA regulations include the employee’s own pregnancy as a covered health condition, the CFRA regulations exclude pregnancy as a covered condition. The state regulations describe the right to CFRA leave as “separate and distinct” from the right to take state Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). The use of PDL doesn’t offset the ability to take CFRA leave at a later time, Dungy said. Under these laws, an eligible pregnant employee is entitled to four months of PDL (which can run concurrently with 12 weeks of FMLA leave, as pregnancy is a serious health condition under the FMLA), and then an additional 12 weeks of CFRA leave for baby bonding when no longer disabled because of pregnancy, according to Dungy.
  • Recertification. Under the FMLA regulations, employers can request a new medical certification form every six months, Dungy noted. In contrast, the California rules permit employers to make such a request only if the initial certification form has expired. This is important, Dungy explained, because an employee or other covered family member might have a “lifetime certification” for a serious health condition. When dealing with these situations, the employer typically can’t request a new certification form, according to Dungy. However, the employer could seek a new one if it believes fraud is involved–although it would need to show proof of the fraud, he said. In addition, Dungy believes that employers could question the validity of a continuing certification “based on more objective information received regarding the employee’s use of CFRA leave.” For example, if a worker has a lifetime certification for a serious health condition, and then later indicates to the employer that he or she no longer has any medical issues, “that could be a situation where an employer now has more concrete information to question the validity of the continuing lifetime certification,” Dungy said.

Be Prepared
Once employers have absorbed all these details, the next steps will be to ensure that workplace policies, notices and forms are up-to-date.

Employers should review all their policies and make revisions, if necessary, Dungy said. Also, companies will need to use updated medical certification forms and post revised notices, according to lawyers. Covered employers must display a notice in the workplace, explaining rights under the CFRA to employees and applicants. According to the new regulations, electronic posting is sufficient, as long as it complies with all necessary requirements.

In addition, when training supervisors on the new regulations, make sure they’re skilled at recognizing situations that potentially could qualify for FMLA leave or CFRA leave, Dungy added.

Re: Members

Lisa Pope Named 2015 City Clerk of the Year

(Reprinted from the Malibu Times, May 6, 2015)

Lisa PopeLisa Pope, Malibu's City Clerk for nearly 20 years, was named 2015 City Clerk of the Year by the City Clerks Association of California (CCAC) on April 23. The prestigious award was announced at the organization's Awards of Distinction dinner, the culmination of its week-long annual statewide conference held in Rohnert Park, California.

As City Clerk, Lisa has conducted six stand-alone municipal elections, manages access to City records, and acts as a compliance officer for federal, state, and local statutes, including the Political Reform Act, the Brown Act, and the Public Records Act, ensuring transparency to the public. During her time in Malibu, Lisa instituted and continues to oversee the Passport Acceptance Office, the Student Intern Program, and the Student Poll Worker Program. Lisa also researched, authored, and presented ordinances adopted by the City Council to ban the use of polystyrene foam in the City of Malibu, and to ban smoking on the beaches.

City Manager Jim Thorsen said, “Lisa has been a superb asset to the City for many years, and I am very proud to have her on the City of Malibu staff and to be recognized by CCAC. She has given so much to her profession and exemplifies the outstanding work the entire City staff provides to the community."

One of 18 clerks to be nominated for the top award, Lisa received 11 nominations submitted by members of the Malibu City Council, Malibu's City Manager, and City Clerk colleagues who worked with her through their membership in CCAC. She was recognized for her contributions to the Malibu community, as well as her active participation within the CCAC organization, including her service on the Board of Directors from 2005-2010, and her election as CCAC President for the 2010-2011 term. In 2005, she was the recipient of the CCAC President's Award of Distinction for Elections Management, and in 2011 Lisa was appointed to serve as a member of the League of California Cities Public Safety Policy Committee.

Since 2005, Lisa has shared her years of experience as coordinator and presenter of the Nuts and Bolts workshop, an introductory seminar for training new City Clerks and other administrative personnel on subjects such as agendas, minutes, recordkeeping, contracts, proper procedures for conducting public meetings in compliance with the Brown Act, and other legal requirements.

“When reading through ELEVEN individual nominations submitted for Lisa Pope, it was evident that this gifted asset to your City and our profession is worthy to be this year’s recipient of Clerk of the Year," said Byron Pope, CCAC President. "The 2015 CCAC Annual Conference theme was “Take Your Place at the Leadership Table,” and how befitting to have Lisa as our Clerk of the Year … someone who has clearly demonstrated, led, and inspired Clerks around the entire State to make a difference in our local communities!"

There are currently 886 active members in CCAC, with an additional 188 retired/lifetime members.  California is made up of 483 municipalities, along with Special Districts, Airport Authorities, and other non-governmental agencies that have someone serving in a similar capacity as Municipal Clerk.

Re: Members

Irwindale Police Unveils New Communication Center

(Reprinted from San Gabriel Valley Tribune, May 11, 2015)

Irwindale-LasordaAn estimated 300 people attended Monday’s ribbon cutting for the Irwindale Police Department’s newly redone communications center at 5050 N. Irwindale Ave.

Tommy Lasorda, former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and currently special adviser to the chairman, spoke at the event and signed autographs.

“We know Tommy Lasorda is a big supporter of law enforcement. We invited him to come here,” Irwindale Police Sgt. George Zendejas said.

The communications center, which cost $219,000, was funded by a grant from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “We remodeled it from the ground up,” according to Zendejas.

About 50 people toured the center and the police station, as members of the Irwindale Police Officers’ Association handed out hot dogs, chips, soda — and more than 100 bottles of Sriracha sauce donated by Huy Fong Foods.

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers' Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda joins in the ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating the Irwindale Police Department's new communications center May 11, 2015.

Legislative Update

by Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager and Tammie Haller, Administrative Programs Manager

The 2015 Legislative Session is well underway and the Authority staff is actively involved in monitoring bills as they work their way through the various committees.  Additionally, Norm Lefmann, Jeff Rush, and Carl Sandstrom participated in California Association of Joint Powers Authorities’ (CAJPA) Annual Legislative Action Day on Tuesday, April 14. They were part of a group that visited the offices of various legislators in Sacramento to promote CAJPA’s positions on pending legislation.

Workers’ compensation: permanent disability apportionment (A.B. 305)
CAJPA, the Authority and numerous other public and private agencies are opposed to AB 305 which would prohibit the use of apportionment in workers’ compensation cases where conditions such as osteoporosis, pregnancy or breast cancer have contributed to an employee’s permanent disability.  The bill is being framed as a gender equity bill and was recently passed by the Assembly Insurance Committee.  Since the bill has not been marked as a fiscal bill, it will next be heard by the entire Assembly.

Workers’ compensation (A.B. 511)
Another bill that is of concern to the Authority and many of our members is AB 511. AB 511 would extend presumptive coverage for cancer, heart disease, meningitis, pneumonia, and hernias to additional employees including correctional officers, security officers and other peace officers not currently covered.  This bill was also passed by the Assembly Insurance Committee although it has been marked as a fiscal bill so it will be sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for their consideration.

Prohibition Against Employers Advertising that Unemployed Applicants “Need Not Apply” (A.B. 676)
This bill responds to concerns about discrimination against the unemployed by limiting an employer’s ability to screen applicants based on their current employment status, in regards to an “individual’s present unemployment, regardless of length of time that the individual has been unemployed.” Specifically, beginning July 1, 2016, this bill would add new Labor Code Sections 1045 to 1048 to prohibit an employer, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, from: 1) publishing advertisements suggesting an individual’s current employment is a job requirement; or 2) affirmatively asking an applicant to disclose orally or in writing his or her current employment status until the employer has determined that the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications for the position, as stated in the published notice for the job. 

Accommodation Requests to Constitute Protected Legal Activity for Retaliation Purposes (A.B. 987)
The FEHA prohibits harassment and discrimination based on various protected classifications, and prohibits retaliation against employees who protest or oppose such unlawful employment practices. The FEHA also requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s medical condition or religious beliefs. However, it has been unclear whether an individual who requests such accommodation may state a FEHA retaliation claim in addition to a failure to accommodate claim based upon such requests. This bill would amend the FEHA to prohibit an employer or covered entity from retaliating or otherwise discriminating against a person for requesting accommodation for a disability or religious beliefs, regardless of whether the accommodation request was granted.

Workers’ compensation: prescription medication formulary (A.B. 1124)
AB 1124 would create a prescription medication formulary for workers’ compensation claims.  A formulary would allow employers to deny authorization for medications not covered by the formulary and this bill has gained bipartisan support.  As with AB 511, this bill is awaiting a vote from the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Expansions to the California Family Rights Act (S.B. 406)
This bill proposes to materially expand the number of employers subject to the CFRA and to expand the bases for employee leave, thus potentially creating further differences between the CFRA and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For instance, while the CFRA presently defines an employer as any entity with 50 or more employees, this bill would redefine employer as any entity with five or more employees. This bill would also alter the definitions regarding the circumstances for which CFRA leave may be taken. For example, it would expand the definition of child to include children of a domestic partner or for persons to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, and would remove the current age (i.e., under 18 years old) and dependent-status restrictions. If adopted, CFRA leave would be permitted for the serious health condition of a child, as defined, regardless of age and, for adult children regardless of whether that child is dependent upon the employee. It would also expand the definition of parent to include parents-in-law. While the CFRA presently authorizes employees to take leave for the serious health condition of a child, parent or spouse, this bill would expand this entitlement to include leave for the serious health condition of a grandparent, grandchild, sibling or domestic partner.

Workers’ compensation: utilization review (S.B. 563)
SB 563 seeks to impede an employer’s use of utilization review in workers’ compensation by limiting its use and also requiring a disclosure of how reviewers are compensated by the agency contracting their services.  The bill, which was deemed a job killer by the California Chamber of Commerce, has already been passed by the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee and is headed to the Senate Rules Committee.

Paid Sick Leave Usage for Child Care or School Emergencies (S.B. 579)
This bill would expand the state’s new paid-sick-leave law, due to go into effect on July 1, 2015, to cover leave for a “child care or school emergency.” A child care or school emergency would be defined as a situation in which a child cannot remain in a school or child care facility due to: (a) the illness of, or injury to, the child; (b) behavioral or discipline problems; (c) closure of the facility; or (d) a disaster or extreme weather conditions, including, but not limited to, fire, earthquake or flood.

If you have questions regarding these bills or any others, please contact Jeff Rush by email or phone at (562) 476-8707.