Labor 411: Ask The Expert | Anthony Label (March 2017)

Guns, Carseats, Lane-Splitting, Cell-phones and more: new California laws you need to know.

Happy New Year, we hope your holidays were safe and enjoyable. A number of new laws went into effect this year that may impact your work and personal life. Remember, employers often refuse to pay for traffic tickets or legal violations, even if you’re on the job.

1. Hands-free cell-phone use: “Mount It or Ticket.” Under AB 1785, you can’t hold or operate a cell phone while driving unless it is mounted in a way that does not hinder your view of the road, and then only if activating a function on the device can be done with a single swipe or tap. If your company requires you to use a cell phone while driving, make sure they provide you an appropriate mount and voice-activation technology for features beyond the “one swipe or one tap.”

2. Motorcycle lane splitting: AB 51 adds section 21658.1 to the Vehicle Code, which permits the CHP to develop educational safety guidelines relating to “lane splitting,” defined as driving a motorcycle between lanes of vehicles. It does not change existing law that lane splitting is legal if done safely. It remains illegal and dangerous to “cut off” a lane-splitting motorcyclist, which is an unsafe lane change.

3. Juvenile criminal history: AB 1843 prohibits employers from asking about or considering juvenile convictions during hiring.

4. Buzzed haircuts: Under AB 1322, barbershops and salons can serve free beer or wine without a liquor license.

5. Gender-neutral bathrooms: Under AB 1732, all single-toilet bathrooms in businesses and government agencies must be gender-neutral.

6. Pet rescue: AB 797 allows you to break into a parked car to rescue an animal at risk of overheating without civil liability.

7. Uber driver background checks: AB 1298 requires ride-hailing apps (e.g., Lyft, Uber) to background check drivers.

8. Epipens at work: AB 1386 allows businesses to stock Epipens and volunteers who are properly trained to administer them without civil liability.

9. Farm Worker overtime: AB 1066 prohibits employers from causing farmworkers to work more than 6 out of 7 days.

10. Child Safety Seats: “40 or 40.” Under AB 53, kids under age 2 have to be in an appropriate back-seat rear-facing child seat unless they are over 40″ tall or weigh more than 40 lbs.

11. Gun laws: a number of laws enact tougher gun control measures. Large-capacity magazines (more than 10 rounds) are banned, first-time buyers of ammo have to undergo a background check, and limits lending guns to family members.

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