Contractors State laws

California law makes employers responsible for subcontractor safety

Sacramento, CA – Newly signed California legislation seeks to protect subcontracted workers by holding employers who use labor contractors accountable for workplace safety.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed AB 1897 into law on Sept. 28. The law requires client employers using labor contractors to inform those contractors of all responsibility and liability regarding wages and workers’ compensation coverage for the contractors’ workers. Client employers also are prohibited from shifting responsibility for the subcontracted workers’ safety to the contractor.

“Under this law, the practice of corporations ignoring labor violations committed against subcontracted workers won’t just be immoral, it will be illegal,” Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, said in a press release.

Although supported by labor advocates, the California Chamber of Commerce had urged Brown to veto the legislation. The Chamber called the bill a “job killer” and claimed it “unfairly forces” one employer to ensure obligations for another employer’s workers.