New California Employment Laws - 2014

New California Employment Laws for 2014


            California enacted several new laws for the coming year that affect employers.  Some of the new laws are highlighted:


Minimum Wage Adjustment


Effective July 1, 2014, the California minimum wage for all industries increases from $8 to $9 per hour.  As of January 1, 2016, minimum wage increases to $10 an hour.  As of July 1, employers must insure hourly pay rates comply.  Ensure exempt employees are still earning no less than twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment to satisfy the compensation requirement of exemption.


Fair Employment and Housing Act


Military Veterans - expands protected categories/characteristics from employment discrimination to now include "military and veteran status."  This new category includes a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces and Armed Forces reserve, United States and California National Guards.  An exemption exists permitting employers to inquire about  military or veteran status for purposes of awarding a veteran a preference as permitted by law.


            Sexual Harassment - expands definition to specify conduct constituting sexual harassment need not be motivated by sexual desire. 


Employment Protections


Time Off - bars employers from discharging, discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of several specified offenses from taking time off from work to appear at any court proceeding.  Employees must provide reasonable notice, if possible, of the need to take time off. 


Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking - extends current protections provided domestic violence and sexual assault victims to victims of stalking.  Prohibits employers from discharging, discriminating or retaliating against employees who are victims of this type of conduct if employer receives notice or as actual knowledge of employee's status as a victim of one of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.


Expands employer’s obligation to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation for an employee who requests an accommodation for the safety of the victim what work while considering exigent circumstances and dangers facing the employee.  If an employee suffers an adverse employment action in violation of this law, remedies include reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits.


These are only some of the new laws enacted for the coming year that affect lawyer-employee relationship.