California: Important Legislative Updates for 2018

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January 1, 2018

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Recently, Governor Brown signed a number of employment-related bills that affect employers of California employees. Significant changes are highlighted below.

  • SB 63 – Employers of 20-49 employees must provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental bonding leave. See details here.
  • AB 168 – Employers are prohibited from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history, and from relying on salary history information when determining whether to offer employment or what salary to offer. However, applicants may voluntarily (without prompting) disclose their salary history. Employers must also provide applicants with the position pay scale upon request.
  • AB 1008 – California enacted a state “ban-the-box” rule. Employers (with 5 or more employees) are prohibited from inquiring about criminal history prior to making a conditional offer of employment. If an employer intends to deny a position because of a conviction history, the employer must (1) make an individualized assessment of whether the applicant’s conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship to the position’s job duties, and (2) notify the applicant of the preliminary decision in writing. The applicant then has 5 days to respond to the notice before the employer may make a final decision. After responding to the initial notice with an intent to dispute, the applicant has an additional 5 days to obtain evidence to dispute the accuracy of the conviction report. If the employer makes a final decision to deny an application due to the conviction history, it must do so in writing to the applicant. There are limited exceptions to these requirements.
  • AB 450 – Employers are prohibited from providing federal immigration enforcement agents with access to or permission to search (1) nonpublic areas of a business, or (2) employee records (except Form I-9s subject to a Notice of Inspection), without a judicial warrant. However, employers may allow an enforcement agent in a nonpublic area, where employees are not present, for the purpose of verifying whether the agent has a judicial warrant, provided no consent to search nonpublic areas is given in the process. Employers must notify employees within 72 hours of receiving a notice of inspection of Form I-9s, or other employment records, from federal immigration enforcement. The Labor Commissioner will be issuing a posting to comply with the notice requirement. Within 72 hours of receiving the results of an inspection, employers must also provide notice to each individual employee affected by an inspection of their specific results. Finally, employers may not re-verify the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not consistent with Form I-9 requirements. Employers who violate these rules may be subject to penalties up to $10,000 per violation.
  • SB 396 – Statutory harassment training must include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Training must be presented by trainers with knowledge and expertise in those areas. Employers must display a DFEH issued poster regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.

Action Items

  1. Have managers and other appropriate staff trained on updated hiring and leave procedures, as well as responding to federal immigration enforcement agent requests.
  2. Have employment applications and hiring procedures updated consistent with the new requirements.
  3. Have job descriptions updated consistent with the new requirements.
  4. Display required postings.
  5. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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