December 14, 2017

California Business Owners : January 1, 2018 Brings Yet More Laws for California Employers

Just when you think operating a business is challenging enough in California, 2018 ushers in more new business-related laws, particularly for businesses with employees.

If you are a California business owner, particularly one with  employees, here’s a peek at  a few of the new laws that may impact your business beginning January 1, 2018.   And I suggest that you prepare for the new regulations now, if you have not already done so.

New Laws for California Employers on January 1, 2018

These new laws don’t replace any current California employment-related laws, but rather add to the web of laws California employers must wade through.  Here’s just a sampling of what’s new for y'all on New Year’s Day 2018.

Cannot Ask for Past Salary History (AB 168)

A California employer cannot ask a prospective employee for his or her salary history, including wage and benefit compensation.  The employer, however, if asked must provide the prospective employee with compensation information for the position being applied for.

Cannot Ask for Criminal History Information Until Employer Extends a “Conditional Job Offer” to the Applicant (AB 1008)

A California employer with 5 or more employees may not ask, on a job application, for information pertaining to a prospective employee’s criminal conviction history.  This information may only be asked and investigated after a prospective employee has received a conditional job offer.  (Although no specific definition is provided, or parameters given, for what constitutes a “conditional job offer”.)

There are a few employer exemptions to this new law, including but not limited to government agencies, justice departments, and stock broker/investment management firms.  This law also does not impact the many state licensing boards, for any of those that have prohibitions on granting a license or certification to individuals with criminal backgrounds.

If the employer than decides to rescind the conditional job due to the prospective employee’s prior criminal conviction history, the employer must follow specific procedures for notifying the prospective employee of this decision. Namely, the employer must notify the declined job applicant of the employer’s decision in writing.  This notification must:
  • State the conviction or convictions relied on for rescinding the conditional employment offer;
  • Include any conviction history report obtained by the employer; 
  • Inform the job applicant of his/her right to respond to the notice before the decision becomes final, and the deadline for the applicant’s response; and
  • Inform the job applicant that the applicant’s response may include evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction history, as well as information about the applicant’s rehabilitation and any mitigating circumstances.
Got all that?

Parental Leave (SB 63)

With certain exemptions and conditions, California employers with at least 20 employees must allow an employee to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a new child.  During this 12-week period, the employer is not required to pay the employee’s salary, although the employee may use up accrued vacation or sick leave time during this leave for income.  However, the employer must continue to maintain and pay for the employee’s group health insurance coverage during this leave.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training:  Gender Identity and Expression, Sexual Orientation (SB 396)

California employees with 50 or more employees must add to the already state-required sexual harassment training curriculum.  The training (required of all supervisory-level employees every 2 years) must now include a component addressing gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  Employers must also prominently post a Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing poster outlining transgender rights.  

Wanna be a California business owner with employees now?  And the above are just a few of the new state laws affecting California business owners in 2018. 

I guess I’ll just close with Happy New Year!  And may we all ring in more sometimes-hair-pulling California business bureaucracy together. 

Mary Rae Fouts

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