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New 2019 Laws In San Diego Address Pets, Courts And Cops

January 2, 2019 1:47 p.m.

GUEST: Dan Eaton, partner, Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

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Related Story: New 2019 Laws In San Diego Address Pets, Courts And Cops


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

At the start of every year new laws go into effect most go unnoticed. But there are some that could impact your everyday life from pet sales to juvenile justice and minimum wage. California is now doing things differently and 2019. Joining us to talk about some of those changes is Dan Eaton a legal analyst and partner with the law firm in San Diego. Dan welcome.

Thank you Jake good to be with you. Happy New Year.

Thank you. So you know I want to start off by asking you one law that's going to impact a lot of people is the increase in minimum wage which businesses are included in. And when will people see it in their paychecks they'll see it right away.

I mean the law says that if you have 25 or fewer employees you've got to be paid at least 11 dollars an hour if you have 26 or more employees you got to be paid at least 12 dollars an hour. But here's the catch. If you work within the boundary of the city of San Diego for two hours you have to be paid at least 12 dollars an hour for those hours that you work inside the city of San Diego regardless of the employer's size.

And there are a number of changes to workplace laws from nondisclosure agreements to liability protections. Many of these laws have been impacted by the 2 movement. Talk about the changes.

For one you talked about the nondisclosure agreement you can't have a nondisclosure agreement where you're talking about a complaint of sexual harassment or retaliation for sexual harassment that's been filed in court or with a state agency. Now there's one very narrow exception to this debate and that is where the complaining party wants to keep her. Generally speaking identity secret. But even then the facts surrounding the sexual harassment cannot be made secret. And of course even that narrow exception does not apply. We're one of the parties who's either a government agency or a public official.

That's just one of many changes by the way in the ME2 movement there have been other Mitsu inspired laws that came about by the legislature. So that's just one of them.

We talked about and so also tell me about the police transparency laws. There have been a number of changes there as well.

Well the police transparency laws deal with for example body camera and audio being made available to the public and we're talking about a shooting or something like that. They have to be made available within a certain number of days 45 days and then you're also. It also gives the public access to certain kinds of police misconduct. So both of those are in the name of giving more transparency to the conduct of police officers. Now current cases that are under investigation could those now be reopened and available to the public or it'll probably be it'll probably be prospective as what they say that is effective January 1st 2019 but ultimately that's going to be for the courts to decide.

Also some changes to juvenile justice and sentencing.

Yeah well juvenile justice particularly those who commit serious crimes such as murder when they were 14 or 15 year old a DA's the prosecutors will no longer be able to seek to transfer those to adult criminal court unless these people were apprehended after the juvenile justice system loses jurisdiction which is at the age of 18. So that's one very important change to the juvenile justice.

Now do these changes in the law actually impact any previous cases.

Well again that's that's the kind of issue that a court is ultimately going to have to decide. But this is a very significant change because the idea is to create more to put more and more of the juveniles within the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system and to relieve some of the what some people view as the over prosecution or burdening the criminal justice system with people who are very very young and immature at the time they committed even very very serious offenses.

All right now moving away from criminal justice to our pets it seems a lot of people here in San Diego have them. There's been changes to how we can fire back.

Well it's very interesting though because of that pet law that you're referring to only applies to live dogs cats and rabbits I'm not sure why they chose three of them fish is an obvious exclusion. But the bottom line is that you can't that you cannot sell was a pet store operator cannot sell them unless they come from the kind of thing like a rescue operation or a humane society. Now that law interestingly enough was actually passed in 2017 and signed into law in 2017. It only one into effect though on January 1st of 2019.

And there are also efforts to save the environment. Who knew straws were going to be such a big part of that straws.

Again this is all part of. You talked about earlier about movement you talk about the YouTube movement Black Lives Matter movement all of these movements and the environmental movement all of these are propelling the legislature to act and respond and that's why you have this range of laws of the California legislature has acted effective this year. And you can expect that more will be on the way now that the legislature is back in business in the next months in the months ahead. Right. And so as far as we know going to restaurants you won't be able to get a strike unless you ask for one.

Correct. Well that's it law unless they find a way to. I mean they have these reusable straws now and we're paper straws or whatever I think that people are going to become very clever about the way they deal with these issues because sometimes it's going to be driven by customer demand.

And as you said movements have had a big impact on the legislature moving in to 2019. What are some things that employers need to keep in mind.

Well you talked about the you talked about the need to move and I'm one of the other issues is that all employers that have five or more employees are going to be required to train their employees in the prevention of sexual harassment before it was only 50 or more employees. So that is a big change. Another big change is that you cannot be sued for defamation if you disclose to a future prospective employer that an employee was fired for sexual harassment. If you make that disclosure without malice. Now some employers are just going to say the heck with it I'm just going to give what we call in the trade name rank and serial number and not going to get into whether I disclosed this information with or without malice.

But still if you do disclose this information regarding sexual harassment you are protected from a suit from defamation if you make that disclosure without malice and there are all kinds of changes also about these standard under which sexual harassment cases are going to be judged. Those are the kind of regulations that only an employment lawyer like me can really love.

Now you've also mentioned you know deleting impermissible questions from employment applications. Tell me about that.

Well that's right. And an upcoming long work article when you interview and I talk about the fact that it's important that employers look at their applications so that they delete questions about criminal history and salary history because recent laws were passed and not last year but in years prior. So you can ask those questions with respect to criminal history. You can ask questions about criminal history until at least a conditional offer employment has been made and that's designed to broaden the opportunity for people who may have criminal history in their past but also may be qualified for the job.

To give them an opportunity to have employers take a really clean first look at their application would be considered on the merits.

I've been speaking with legal analysts Dan Eaton. Dan thank you so much. Sure.

Good to be with you Jade.