From hire to termination, these new laws impact every stage of the employment relationship. Read carefully, a couple of them require significant departures from what likely are your traditional practices.
1. Meaningful Changes to an Employer's Ability to Collect and Rely on Criminal Convictions. Effective January 1, 2018, the Fair Employment and Housing Act will include new restrictions on an employer's ability to make pre-hire and during-employment decisions based on an individual's criminal history. California employers with five or more employees are prohibited from asking any applicant to disclose conviction information until the applicant is determined otherwise qualified for the position. Specifically, employers no longer may:
- Include on an application for employment any question that seeks the disclosure of an applicant's conviction history;
- Inquire into or consider the conviction history of an applicant before the applicant receives a conditional offer of employment.
Also under the new law, . . . click here for more.
2. Employers May no Longer Request or Rely on Salary History. Effective January 1, 2018, employers may not request (either verbally or in writing) and may not rely upon an applicant's prior salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment. Employers also are prohibited from considering that amount in determining the compensation to offer an applicant. Upon reasonable request, an employer is required to provide an applicant with the Company's pay scale for the relevant position. As a limited exception: employers may review and consider salary history that is publicly available pursuant to federal or state law. Also, if an applicant volunteers the information without prompting, the employer may consider and rely on that salary history. Be sure to check the various other state and city laws on this as well. For example, San Francisco has an even more rigorous law on this subject.
3. California Employers with 20 - 49 Employees within a 75 Mile Radius Must Provide Parental Leave. Effective Janaury 1, 2018, an employee with more than 12 months of service with the employer, who has least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period, and who works at a worksite in which the employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles, is eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The employee must return to the same or a comparable position at the conclusion of the leave. The employee is entitled to utilize accrued vacation pay, paid sick time, accrued paid time off (or other paid or unpaid time off with approval from the employer), during the period of Parental Leave. Medical insurance must be maintained during Parental Leave, just as it is during active employment. Because pregnancy disability leave does not run during this Parental Leave, an employee could be eligible for up to four months off for Pregnancy Disability Leave, and another 12 weeks off under this new Parental Leave Act.
4. Discrimination Laws are Expanded for Military Service Members. Effective January 1, 2018, the laws against discriminating on the basis of military or veteran status are expanded to include not only the denial of or disqualification from employment based on military service, but also discrimination in the "terms, conditions, or privileges" of employment.
5. Sexual Harassment Laws are Expanded to Protect Transgender Employees. Employers with five or more employees are required to post a Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) notice (stay tuned for the notice itself) regarding transgender rights. Sexual harassment training mandated for employers with 50 or more employees must now include training on prohibiting harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Further, in order to be issued a farm contractor license, a farm labor contractor must provide sexual harassment training to all personnel, including supervisory and agricultural employees, and must provide the issuing entity a list of all the anti-harassment training materials or resources used in the prior calendar year. The training must be in a language understood by the employees.