Here are some details about five of the most impactful new employment laws that will affect California employers beginning in 2018:
The Fair Chance Act (AB 1008)
Nearly one-third of all adults in California have a history of criminal convictions that could compromise their chances of securing employment. In order to help these individuals avoid the common problem of being rejected for employment outright, California’s “ban-the-box” initiative has prohibited state and local governments from asking job candidates about their conviction histories on employment applications since 2013. The Fair Chance Act will extend ban-the-box requirements to most private sector employers.
Specifically, AB 1008 will prohibit organizations with five or more employees from:
Salary Privacy (AB 168)
This law will prohibit employers (including state and local governments) from asking about an applicant’s salary history. The goal of AB 168 is to rectify the gender wage gap by preventing employers from relying on an applicant’s past compensation in determining what salary they will offer. However, employers may rely on an applicant’s compensation history if the applicant discloses it voluntarily and without prompting. In addition, the law will require employers to provide applicants with a pay scale for the open position upon request.
The New Parent Leave Act (SB 63)
Currently, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires organizations with 50 or more employees to provide eligible employees with twelve weeks of job-protected leave following the birth or adoption of a child or a foster care placement. SB 63 will extend this right to parental leave to employees of medium-sized organizations with between 20 and 49 employees. The goal of the law is to allow new parents sufficient time to care for and bond with their children—particularly during the early formative weeks of an infant’s life—without fear of losing their jobs.
In order to qualify under the New Parent Leave Act, an employee must:
Expanded Harassment Training and Prevention (SB 396)
Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), organizations with 50 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to all supervisors. SB 396 stipulates that this training will need to include examples of harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Organizations must also post DFEH’s poster on transgender rights.
Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450)
AB 450 is California’s response to the federal government’s indications that penalizing undocumented immigrants is now an enforcement priority. Unless required by federal law, AB 450 will prohibit both public and private employers from permitting immigration enforcement agents to:
Andria Holt is a J.D. graduate of Pacific Coast University School of Law who has been employed in the California Workers' Compensation Field since 2008.
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