California’s Labor Code and Fair Employment and Housing Act
provide some of the most expansive and protective workplace laws
in the country. Nevertheless, the California Legislature, every
year, introduces numerous proposals to further expand these laws
and add obligations and penalties on employers.
Under many of these laws, it is easy for employees to make
allegations and bring suit, while there is a high burden of proof
on the employer who may have done nothing wrong to disprove the
allegations. The prospect for high penalties and damages amounts
and one-sided attorneys’ fee recovery for employees, incentivizes
many plaintiff’s attorneys abuse the laws and file meritless
lawsuits against employers.
While it is important for employees to have workplace
protections, policymakers need to take a balanced approach when
writing these laws. Weighting them too far in one direction
invites abuses and excessive litigation.