The California Assembly on May 29 passed AB 25, an amendment to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 that would exclude employees and job applicants from the legislation's definition of "consumer." The proposed law, which passed unanimously 77-0-3, is now in the hands of the California Senate.

Under the terms of the amendment, an individual would not be protected under CCPA -- which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020 -- if his or her information was collected by a business "in the course of a person acting as a job applicant to, an employee of, a contractor of, or an agent on behalf of, the business, to the extent the person's personal information is collected and used solely within the context of the person's role as a job applicant to, an employee of, a contractor of, or an agent of, the business," the bill states.

Nathan Taylor, a partner with international law firm Morrison & Foerster, said the the amendment would be "significant," if passed, because it markedly reduces the obligations businesses would face as they strive to comply with the impending legislation.

"Every business subject to the CCPA that employs California residents or that has contractors or agents who are California residents would significantly benefit if AB 25 is enacted," Taylor concluded in a June 3 client alert that Morrison & Foerster made public. "In particular, being able to exclude systems that handle HR and vendor data from scope would significantly narrow the impact of the CCPA for many businesses."

AB 25 was introduced by Assemblymember Ed Chau, D, Monterey Park, and is also co-authored by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys.

Jim Halpert, a partner with the International Association of Privacy Professionals, wrote in recent IAPP online report that the exception created by the amendment would also "apply to emergency contact and beneficiary data, not just data regarding the employee/contractor/agent." Moreover, "Chau indicated intent also to exempt data collected and used solely in the context of a business-to-business relationship."

In his client alert, Taylor opined that the bill represented a positive step forward in terms of "bringing sensible clarifications to what is a confusing and often poorly drafted statute." Over the last few weeks, California's Assembly has passed several other laws seeking to revise CCPA, including AB 846, AB 1416, AB 873, AB 1564 and AB 1146.