New Year, New Laws, New Headaches…
Posted October 17, 2017

The first half of the 2017 - 2018 legislative session was a busy one. By the October 15, 2017, deadline, Governor Brown, consistent with years past, rubber-stamped approximately 86% of the bills that crossed his desk. Although not all of those bills were employment law related, a good number were. Below are five examples:

STATEWIDE BANS

Criminal History: Ban-the-Box:

Effective January 1, 2018, AB 1008 makes it unlawful for employers with five or more employees to include inquiries about criminal histories in their employment applications or initial screening processes. Only after a conditional offer of employment has been made, are those types of inquiries allowed. Even after a conditional offer of employment, however, if a criminal history will adversely impact a hiring decision, the employer must both provide the affected applicant with notice and engage in an individualized assessment process to determine whether or not the criminal history directly impacts the specific job duties the applicant would perform. This can be a multi-step process, so proceed with care!

Salary History Inquiry Ban:

Effective January 1, 2018, AB 168 prohibits employers from “orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, [from] seek salary history information, including compensation and benefits, about an applicant for employment”. This broadly worded prohibition extends to all forms of seeking or relying on salary history information (including benefits data); it should not be used in determining whether to offer employment or determining what salary to offer.

Action Tip: Employers need to review their job application forms and other initial screening materials to ensure there are no questions regarding criminal or salary histories. Train hiring managers not to request such information from the employee or from any other source (including former employers) before a contingent offer of employment is given.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE: BABY BONDING EXPANDED

Effective January 1, 2018, SB 63 will add Section 12945.6 to the California Government Code and create the New Parent Leave Act (NPL) to require that private, state, and municipal employers with 20 or more employees within 75 miles to now provide their employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, but unpaid, parental leave. As well, employers must maintain and continue to pay for the employees’ continued coverage under a group health plan at the same level and under the same conditions that coverage would have been provided had the employee continued to work.

Action Tip: Employers that have between 20 and 49 employees (or if you will hit those magic numbers) between now and January 1, 2018, need to update their leave of absence policies to include this new parental leave law.

IMMIGRATION: DO YOU HAVE A WARRANT FOR THAT?

Effective January 1, 2018, AB 450 will prohibit employers (or their agents) “[e]xcept as otherwise required by federal law . . . from providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent [ICE] to enter nonpublic areas of a place of labor unless the agent provides a judicial warrant.” The bill also prevents employers from giving “voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to access, review, or obtain the employer’s employee records without a subpoena or court order.” As if that was not enough, AB 450 also requires employers to provide notice to their current employees on impending immigration enforcement inspections.

GENERAL CONTRACTOR WAGE AND HOUR WOES

For contracts entered into as of January 1, 2018, AB 1701, will make a general contractor on a private construction project liable for wages, fringe benefits, or other contributions (including interest) not paid by a subcontractor at any level of the project, not just direct subcontractors.

Action Tip: Be proactive in your business dealings. Before you engage a “subcontractor,” be sure to check them out thoroughly, including their financial stability and real proof of workers’ compensation coverage. Thereafter, monitor the contractor’s payroll activity for workers assigned to you.

To attend one of our upcoming 2018 Employment Law Update seminars, please join our email list and visit our “Seminars” page on our website for details and registration information. For assistance in updating your hiring documents or other policies, procedures and practices for 2018, or for questions regarding any other employment law matter, contact the attorneys at LightGabler.