New California Laws for 2022

January 1, 2022 will usher in new traffic and employment laws as California seeks to expand workers’ rights and address road safety concerns. Like most members of the public, you and your family will be impacted by these new laws. That’s why it’s important to be aware of these changes before they go into effect.

The Dominguez Firm wishes everyone a safe and happy New Year. If the unthinkable happens and you or a loved one suffer an accident injury or a negative work action, call us for a free consultation at 800-818-1818 today. Below you’ll find detailed information on the new legislation and your rights.

New 2022 Traffic Laws

Assembly Bill 3 (AB 3) addresses dangerous street racing and road takeovers, also known as sideshows. Empty streets during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the growing popularity of sideshows. Even with a return to normal traffic, the number of incidents has only continued to increase, often with deadly results. It’s gotten so bad that a quick search of local news headlines will often turn up headlines regarding the latest sideshow accidents and fatalities. AB 3 outlines the legal definition of a sideshow for the first time:

  • “An event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts.”
  • “Motor vehicle speed contests”
  • “Motor vehicle exhibitions of speed”
  • “Reckless driving for spectators”

Currently, state law punishes street takeovers and racing with just a $500 fine and/or up to 90 days in county jail. Under the new law, courts will be able to suspend violating drivers’ licenses for between 90 days and six months. This suspension will also restrict those convicted to only being able to drive for their jobs. These new penalties, however, won’t go into effect until July 1st, 2025.

Class C drivers, which describes the type of license most private citizens carry, will be allowed to operate a vehicle while towing a 10,001 – 15,000 pound gross vehicle weight trailer. Senate Bill 287 specifies the trailer can only be used for recreational purposes and to transport property. Applicants will need to pass a written test. Although this bill was signed into law by Governor Newsom earlier this year, it won’t go into effect until January of 2027.

Because it was enacted in July of 2021, many people aren’t aware of AB 47. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds drivers that this relatively new law imposes points on a driver’s license for more than one distracted driving violation. The following are classified as driving while distracted if not done on a hands-free device:

  • Texting
  • Dialing
  • Calling

If the driver is under the age of 18, they are prohibited from using any electronic device while on the road, even if it’s hands-free.

While not considered distracted driving, doing any of the following while driving can cause you to be pulled over for reckless driving:

  • Eating
  • Reaching for objects
  • Putting on makeup or combing your hair
  • Changing clothes
  • Attempting to read something while driving

Until recently, law enforcement could only issue multiple fines to repeat offenders of distracted driving laws. Now, violating this law more than once within a 36 month period will also cost a driver a point on their license. If you receive 4 points in one year, 6 points within two years, or 8 points within three years, your license can be suspended for six months or revoked.

New 2022 Employment Laws

California continues its efforts to strengthen workers’ rights through legislation. Some important new employment laws rolling out in 2022 will protect the rights of gig workers, those who experience wage theft, and warehouse workers.

Delivery workers will now be able to keep the entire portion of the tips they receive. Under AB 286, food delivery apps can’t retain any part of their workers’ tips or gratuities. These apps can’t charge more than what’s listed on their websites to compensate for this either.

AB 701 addresses employee safety concerns at major business warehouses. Employers such as online giant Amazon had strict productivity quotas in place that often stopped workers from taking much-needed rest and meal breaks. This new law will regulate these quotas, require employers to put them in writing, and outline the adverse action the worker could face if they aren’t met. Employers will also be prohibited from disciplining workers if they fail to meet their quotas due to safety or health breaks.

Wage theft will no longer be treated as a misdemeanor. By 2022, employers who knowingly withhold wages and tips from their employees will face felony charges. The amount must be above $950 from one employee or $2,350 from two employees or more within a year. AB 1003 will also apply to independent contractors who hire employees.

Changes to Existing Employment Law for 2022

Changes to some existing labor laws will occur in 2022. Two of the most prominent bolster the rights of workplace harassment and discrimination victims. Plus, the Golden State will again amend the definition of who is and isn’t an independent contractor.

Senate Bill 331 widens the restrictions on nondisclosure and separation agreements for workplace assault, discrimination, and harassment claims that were enacted in 2019. Starting in 2022, the same restrictions will apply to claims for harassment and discrimination claims not based on sex. In addition, trade secret and separation agreements cannot have provisions that limit the details of any harassment, discrimination, or other illegal activity that occurred.

The well-known Independent Contractor test will see some changes in 2022 via AB 1561. Among the biggest changes are:

  • Research subjects don’t have to be compensated to qualify as exempt
  • Licensed manicurists and subcontractors will see their exemptions extended to 2025
  • Some claims adjusters and third-party administrators in the insurance and finance sectors will be exempt

Finally, the California minimum wage is set to go to $14 per hour in 2022 for employers with 25 workers or less. Employers with more than 25 workers will see an increase to $15 per hour. Certain cities and counties will offer their own minimum wages for the new year.

The Dominguez Firm: Continuing to Serve the Community in 2022

The Dominguez Firm has been serving the community since 1987. In that time we’ve grown from a small office with a handful of employees to the powerhouse legal firm we are today. Yet one fact has remained the same: we always fight for our clients rights and the maximum compensation they need to put their lives back together again.

As we enter 2022, know that The Dominguez Firm is here and ready to help you with your personal injury or employment law issues. We offer free consultations at 800-818-1818. Call us today. And as always, we promise if there is no recovery, there is no fee!

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