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Governor signs bills protecting Calif. workers
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SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed several bills that seek to protect California workers who are immigrants or victims of domestic violence and other crimes.

SB400 from Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, prevents employers from firing an employee who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Employers also must make a reasonable effort to protect victims from their abuser, such as changing a work telephone number or desk location.

Under SB288, from Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, employers cannot fire a worker who is the victim of certain crimes and takes time off for a court hearing. The bill was backed by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and the Crime Victims Action Alliance.

The bills from Jackson and Lieu will take effect on Jan. 1.

The Democratic governor also signed AB263 from Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, which prohibits employers from retaliating against immigrant workers who protest unfair conditions. Hernandez says immigrant workers are more likely to be victims of wage and work-hour violations.

Labor groups said Hernandez's bill provides the strongest anti-retaliation protections for immigrant workers in the country. That measure and a similar bill, SB666, from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, will help enforce basic state labor laws, they said.

"Employers should now be on notice that threats to deport workers to prevent them from standing up for their rights will have serious consequences," said California Labor Federation executive secretary-treasurer Art Pulaski in a statement.