Merriam-Webster defines accountability as, “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” This is a life lesson we’ve all learned at one point or another, and it’s an important virtue in society. Yet a member of the California Legislature is attempting to redefine accountability with Assembly Bill 1897, which is authored by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D – West Covina), by proposing to hold innocent third-party businesses liable for the employment obligations of another employer. Essentially, AB 1897 attempts to shift accountability in a subcontractor relationship by unfairly holding the majority of California employers liable for the wage and hour violations of another that they could not control or prevent.

This bill is gross overreach that has real-world impacts on our Golden State job market. First, this bill threatens our state’s temporary workforce, which has a valid place in our state’s economy. California employers have numerous reasons for making use of temporary workers such as hiring for seasonal work, filling in for unpredictable work schedules, covering other employees on leaves of absences or vacations, accommodating flexible work schedules, or protecting primary employees to avoid layoffs or staff reductions.

Second, the legislation threatens subcontracting job opportunities, which is a vital part of our state’s economy – playing an important role in the growth of small businesses. For example, the construction industry uses subcontractors to meet specific needs in the industry, which in turn creates jobs throughout the economic chain. Yet, AB 1897 would kill that opportunity by sweeping up countless law abiding companies in the pursuit of a few bad actors.

For issues where there have been documented evidence of unlawful practices and abuse, laws are already in place. Another law is not necessary; instead current sufficient worker protection laws should be enforced.

It’s not surprising that AB 1897 is facing widespread opposition from state and local organizations throughout California, as it will create a host of problems.

First, AB 1897 will punish nearly every job creating industry in the state by inflicting an unreasonable law that is impossible to implement. Almost every California industry comes under fire, such as construction, agriculture, hospitals, restaurants, newspapers, retailers, food processors, and banks, among others.

Second, it will impose staggering costs to job creators who are already overburdened with the rising costs that are required to do business in California. Another unnecessary overregulation on job creators will only hinder business expansion and ultimately reduce opportunities for Californians to find work and support their families.

Third, AB 1897 inappropriately targets the private sector, while exempting government from such regulation. It’s fundamentally unfair to punish the businesses community, yet hold taxpayer-funded government agencies to a different standard.

California businesses are already overburdened with overregulation and AB 1897 is another hit. Worker protection laws are already in place and AB 1897 is unnecessary and irresponsible. I encourage our state leaders to be accountable to hard-working California families and examine the impacts this bill will have on our state’s economy, as it will do nothing but create a longer wait in our state’s unemployment lines.