An Overview New 2018 Laws Effecting California Employers
Courtesy of the CalChamber
In 2017 California enacted new employment laws that may affect your business’s day to day operations.
Employers must be aware of significant changes in key areas, such as a small business parental leave law and new hiring restrictions.
Unless specified the new laws take effect January 1, 2018.
Parental Leave for Small Employers
An important new law requires that small employers provide new parents with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. A small business is defined by 20 or more employees. The law required unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child, within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. The employer must maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan at the same level and conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued working. Before the leave starts and employer must provide the employee with a guarantee of reinstatement to the same or comparable position.
Hiring Practices and Enforcement
- AB 1008 prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking about criminal history information on job applications and from inquiring about or considering criminal history at any time before a conditional offer of employment has been made. There are certain positions where a criminal background check is required by federal, state or local law.
- Once an employer has made a condition offer of employment it may seek certain criminal history information. However before denying employment because of a criminal conviction, these specific steps much be followed.
- The employer much first conduct an individual assessment to determine whether the conviction has a direct and adverse relationship with the job’s specific duties that justifies denying employment.
- Any preliminary decision not to hire because of a conviction history requires written notice to the applicant, who must be given the opportunity to respond. Specific, timeline and process for this step must be followed.
- Any final decision to deny employment because of the criminal conviction requires another specific written notice to the applicant.
No more Salary History Questions
AB 168 bans employers from asking about a job applicants prior salary, compensation or benefits.
In addition employers cannot rely on salary history information as a factor in determining whether to hire the applicant or how much to pay the applicant. An employer may consider salary information that is voluntarily disclosed. Employers must provide a job applicant, upon reasonable request with the pay scale for the position.
Work Immigration Enforcement and Protections
The immigration Worker Protection Act provides workers with protection from immigration enforcement while on the job and imposes varying fines from $2000 to $10,000.00 for violating provisions.
Employers cannot give immigration enforcement agents access to non-public areas of a business without judicial warrant.
Prohibition does not apply to Form I-9 or other documents for which a Notice of Inspection was provided to the employer.
This Bill also makes it unlawful for employers to re-verify the employment eligibility of current employees in a time or manner not allowed by federal employment eligibility verification laws.
AB 1221 requires that businesses licensed to serve alcohol make sure each alcohol server receives mandatory training on alcohol responsibility and obtains an alcohol server certification.
Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Protections
Several new laws expand employee protections for 2018. Many of these laws focus on gender equality and gender identity/gender expression protections.
California employers with 50 or more employees must provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training every two years.
Employers will have to make sure that any mandatory training course they use also discusses harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
Employers must display a poster on transgender rights that the Department of Fair Employment and Housing will develop.
SB 179 will allow California resident to choose from three equally recognized gender options, female, male or non-binary –on state-issued identification cards, birth certificates and driver’s licenses. For changes to birth certificates, the law is effective on September1, 2018. For changes to driver’s licenses the effective date is January 1 2018.
AB 1556 revises California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act by deleting gender-specific personal pronouns in California’s anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, pregnancy disability and family medical leave laws by changing “he” or “she” for example to “the person” or “the employee”.
AB 260 extends the list of businesses that must post a human trafficking information notice to include hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns.
AB 1102 increases the maximum fine for a violation of whistleblower protections in healthcare facilities from $20,000 to $75,000.
Workplace Safety and Worker’s Compensation
Sb 258 relates to the safety of designated cleaning products including general cleaning, air care, automotive, or polish or floor maintenance products used primarily for janitorial, industrial or domestic cleaning purposes.
AB 44 requires employers to provide a nurse case manager to advocate for employees injured during the course of employment by an act of domestic terrorism, but only when the governor has declared a state of emergency.