Compliance/Best Practices Employment Law Legal Topics New Legal Developments

New Year, New Laws for Employment Lawyers

The California legislature has enacted several new laws that will affect employers and employment lawyers. Here are some of the key statutory changes you need to know about.

  • California again broadens its harassment prevention training requirement. Unfortunately, workplace harassment has been a seemingly perpetual problem. In 2004, the California Legislature passed AB 1825, mandating harassment prevention training for supervisory employees. That statute was expanded in 2015 to require training on bullying and abusive conduct (AB 2053). This year, it was expanded again to include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. As before, this requirement applies to any business with over 50 employees. (Note that the new law also requires all employers to post the DFEH’s poster on transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.) See Govt C §§12950, 12950.1 (amended by Stats 2017, ch 858, effective January 1, 2018). For guidance on sexual harassment prevention training, check out CEB’s Advising California Employers and Employees §9.61.
  • No more asking about prior salary. Employers will soon be barred from asking about prior salary. This will help to prevent the perpetuation of historical discrimination and to balance the negotiating power between an employer and an applicant. Applicants don’t have a similar bar: They may ask for the pay scale for a position and may voluntarily and without prompting disclose prior salary information. See Lab C §432.3 (added by Stats 2017, ch 688, effective January 1, 2018). For more on hiring guidelines and pitfalls, including sample forms and checklists, check out CEB’s Drafting Employment Documents for California Employers, chap 1 and Advising California Employers and Employees, chap 1.
  • New leave protections for new parents. The new Parental Leave Act, which applies to employers with between 20 and 49 employees, i.e., employers who aren’t subject to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allows employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child if they’ve worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking the leave. Employers must maintain health coverage for the new parent during this leave. Employees should be able to take this time off without fear, because the new law prohibits discrimination and retaliation against an employee for taking parental leave. See Govt C §12945.6 (added by Stats 2017, ch 686, effective January 1, 2018). For more on family leave laws generally, check out CEB’s Employee Leave Laws: Compliance and Litigation, chap 1.
  • New law gives workplace protection from ICE. A new law stops employers from cooperating with federal immigration authorities absent a judicial warrant or court order. Among other things, the law prohibits employers from voluntarily allowing immigration enforcement agents into nonpublic areas of the workplace without a warrant, or reviewing or obtaining employment records without a subpoena or court order. Employers are limited in reverifying the employment eligibility of a current employee, and must notify employees when its I-9 forms will be inspected. Penalties for failure to comply range from $2,000 to $10,000 per violation. See Govt C §§7285.1–7285.3 and Lab C §§90.2, 1019.2 (added by Stats 2017, ch 492, effective January 1, 2018). For guidance on immigration law requirements for employers, check out CEB’s Drafting Employment Documents for California Employers, chap 2 and Advising California Employers and Employees, chap 4.

Get more of these key legislative updates in CEB’s free 2017 NewsFlash! Key Statutory Developments for Employment Lawyers. To keep up with all developments in employment law, subscribe to CEB’s OnLAW® Employment Law Library—a virtual encyclopedia of employment law, full of commentary, practice advice, and sample documents.

From all of us at CEB, we wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

Check out all CEBblog™ posts on employment law.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Add your comment to the blog post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s