Assembly Judiciary Committee approves four Wieckowski bills

June 22, 2021

SACRAMENTO – Four bills authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), dealing with mandatory arbitration, employment and housing discrimination, minors and homeowner associations, were approved with bipartisan support by the Assembly Judiciary Committee today.

“These bills increase workers’ rights, strengthen the state’s ability to fight discrimination in housing, extend deadlines for minors or formerly incapacitated people to file claims against public entities, and authorize term limits for homeowner association board members,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. “They bring more transparency and fairness to Californians whether it is in the workplace or our homes.”

SB 762 adds transparency around the due date of arbitration fees in order to prevent unnecessary delays in the resolution of disputes for workers and consumers bound by forced arbitration provisions. It specifies that payment is due upon receipt of the invoice if a mandatory arbitration contract is silent regarding the timing of when fees are due.

More than half of America’s workforce has been forced to sign mandatory arbitration provisions as a condition of employment. Under these terms, consumers and workers whose rights have been violated cannot pursue their claims in court and instead must submit their claims in an arbitration proceeding that overwhelmingly favors businesses and employers. With workers and consumers barred from court, businesses are able to strategically withhold or delay payment to the arbitration service provider to obstruct the arbitration proceeding and the ability to pursue a claim.

Under legislation authored by Wieckowski and passed in 2019, consumers and workers can go to court if companies have not paid the fees within 30 days of the due date. By specifying when fees are due, SB 762 builds on the rights approved in 2019.

SB 432 allows homeowner associations to impose term limits on their HOA board members if the term limits are contained in the by-laws or election rules. It also requires that any appointees to oversee verification of signatures in elections, must meet the same neutrality requirements as the inspector of elections.

SB 807 improves the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s civil rights enforcement abilities to make sure no one is denied housing or employment because of discrimination. The bill clarifies and modernizes the Fair Employment and Housing Act to better enable the department to respond to the thousands of complaints regarding discrimination and harassment in employment and housing.

SB 501 extends the time that injured people who are minors or physically or mentally incapacitated can file a claim against a public agency. This will ensure that fewer people will run out of time before they file their claims.

All four bills were approved with bipartisan support.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and parts of Santa Clara County.