02
Jan

It’s 2018 and Time for California to Impose New Laws on California Employers

With the start of the New Year, California employers should be aware of some new laws that will impact their relationship with their employees and applicants.

Inquiries about Salary History-Applicants 

Newly added Labor Code section 432.3 prohibits employers from asking about the job applicant’s salary history or relying on salary history exclusively when determining whether to make an offer of employment and at what rate of pay, unless the applicant volunteers the information without any prompting.  Employers are also required now to provide employees with a pay scale specific to a position if requested. 

Inquiries about Convictions-Applicants 

The Legislature enacted Government Code section 12952 which prohibits employers offive or more employees to seek disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history prior to making a conditional offer of employment.  Thus, employers are precluded from including a question on an application seeking disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history (the “Ban-The-Box” mantra) and from asking any questions about conviction history during the interview process.  The new law does not apply to specific circumstances enumerated in the statute.  If an employer intends to deny an applicant a position of employment solely or in part because of the applicant’s conviction history, the employer must take extra steps to justify the denial and notify the applicant accordingly. This new statute falls under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. 

Parental Leave 

The new Parental Leave Act added to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (section 12945.6) applies to employers with 20 or more employees.  Under this new statute, employers are required to permit an employee, with more than 12 months of service, who has worked at least 1,250 hours within the previous 12 month period for the employer, and who works at a worksite at which the employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles, to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. 

As with the California Family Rights Act, which mirrors the Federal Family Medical Leave Act, the new Parental Leave Act guarantees reinstatement to the employee who exercises his or her right to take leave under the new law. 

Thus, employers with 20 or more employees need to review their leave policies to include parental leave.  Leave under the California Family Rights Act or federal counterpart statute still applies only to employers with 50 or more employees. 

Supervisorial Training 

Employers with 50 or more employees are required under California law to provide supervisorial employees with at least two hours of training on sexual harassment prevention and abusive conduct every two years or within six months of an employee entering a supervisorial position. 

California amended this mandatory requirement to now require the training include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  The training must be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation with the inclusion of practical examples. 

Employers are required to post updated notices which includes information about transgender rights. 

Conclusion 

This only provides highlights of some of the new laws which go into effect this year, and is not intended to cover all applicable new laws affecting the employer-employee relationship.  Employers are well served to consult with their counsel to ensure all current policies are updated, as necessary, and new policies developed as required.