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California Imposes Controls on Janitorial Businesses

Requirements Include Registration and Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

California Assembly Bill (AB) 1978, enacted September 2016 as the Property Services Protection law (the Act), will require janitorial service providers to register annually with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and to provide sexual harassment training to their employees. The Act covers all enterprises providing janitorial services under a contract, subcontract or franchise agreements and who have at least one “covered worker.” The new law refers to any such business as an “employer” even if the covered worker/janitor is an independent contractor or franchisee.

The state legislature enacted the Act after Frontline’s “Rape on the Night Shift.” and University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education’s “Race to the Bottom” reported widespread sexual abuse of primarily female workers in the janitorial sector.

The Act requires all janitorial employers to:

  • Begin keeping certain covered worker records as of January 1, 2017 and maintain them for three years. These include names and addresses, hours worked daily, beginning and ending times, wages and pay rate in every payroll period, ages of minor employees, and other employment conditions.
  • Effective July 1, 2018, register annually with the DLSE and pay a $500 fee or be prohibited from conducting any janitorial business. Beginning July 1, 2018, janitorial employers must also provide all new and current covered workers a copy of Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s pamphlet DFEH-185.
  • Effective January 1, 2019, provide required sexual violence and harassment prevention training. The DLSE has until January 1, 2018 to propose the requirements for such training.

The Act also includes civil penalties of $100/day up to $10,000 for any employer that does not register. Beginning July 1, 2018, any entity or individual that contracts with an unregistered business will be subject to a civil penalty between $2,000 and $10,000 for a first offense and from $10,000 to $25,000 for subsequent offenses.

For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth, or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

December 20, 2016