On August 31, 2020, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1281, extending the business-to-business and employee partial moratoria also referred to as employee privacy rights, until the end of 2021. Earlier this year, in a study conducted among privacy professionals by Dimension Data on behalf of Truyo, 49% of businesses were already addressing employee privacy rights in the workplace.

On the other hand, for much of the year, privacy professionals and businesses in-scope for CCPA have expressed much concern over implementing CCPA compliance obligations amid a pandemic. However, that did not stop Attorney General Xavier Becerra from moving forward with his enforcement strategy regardless of a pandemic; stating companies should’ve been in compliance starting January 1st, 2020.

In 2020, CCPA has been full of uncertainty and surprises including AB-1281. Michael Hellbusch partner at Rutan and Tucker weighs in on what needs to happen for AB-1281 to be finalized.

According to Hellbusch, AB-1281, which would extend the carve-outs for employment-related and business-to-business transactional data until January 1, 2022, has passed both houses of the California Legislature. The bill is currently being enrolled, which is the process of printing and proofreading the bill before it is sent to the Governor. Once enrollment is complete and the bill is delivered, the Governor has 12 days to either sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. According to news reports, Governor Newsom is expected to sign AB-1281.  

Hellbusch also states, as most privacy professionals know, Proposition 24 a.k.a. the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which will be voted on at the November 3rd election, would extend the same employment and B2B carve-outs until 2023. As a result, the Legislature inserted a provision in AB-1281 which provides that the law only takes effect if Proposition 24 is not approved at the election. While polling suggests Prop. 24 has strong voter support, the passage of AB-1281 signals that the Legislature considers the carve-out extensions to be too important to leave to popular vote. 

We will keep you updated on the proceedings of AB-1281 in the days to come. Even if employee privacy rights are extended the companies that are already addressing employee privacy rights in the workplace add an additional layer of security and trust, which is extremely valuable especially during a pandemic.