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August 10, 2004
California Amends Law Allowing Workers to Sue Employers

Lawmakers in California have scaled back a law that allowed employees to sue their employers for labor-law violations such as safety, working conditions, overtime pay, and wages, the Sacramento Bee reports.

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The legislation, SB 1809, was part of a compromise for passage of the state's budget. The measure amends the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act, which became effective in January 2004.

SB 1809 limits when employees can file lawsuits against employers under the act and sets up procedures workers must follow before filing a lawsuit.

The legislation gives employers a grace period to correct problems, the newspaper reports. In addition, the legislation bars workers from filing lawsuits for violations of posting rules, except in the cases of workplace injury and mandatory payroll reports.

"The frivolous lawsuits that are used to shake down businesses are not going to happen," says Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce.

Business groups wanted lawmakers to repeal the entire Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act, saying the law led to frivolous lawsuits, the newspaper notes.

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