As an employee in the state of California, it’s important to understand the laws that protect you in the workplace. But, this can be challenging since the law is constantly evolving. In fact, a number of new employment and labor laws are going into effect in 2018. Here’s a look at some of the key new laws:

Minimum Wage

Each state has its own laws regarding minimum wage. The state of California’s minimum wage increased by $0.50 beginning on the first day of the year. Because of this increase, employers with more than 25 employees will need to pay workers at least $11.00 per hour this year. However, employers with 25 or fewer employees are only required to pay $10.50 per hour in 2018. The state of California has scheduled other minimum wage increases for every year between 2019-2022.

It’s important to note that cities throughout the state of California have enacted their own minimum wage laws. For example, the minimum wage in Los Angeles is $12.00 right now, but it will increase to $13.25 on July 1st of this year. If an employer is located in Los Angeles, they must comply with the city’s minimum wage law instead of the state’s minimum wage law.

Parental Leave Law

A new parental leave law also went into effect this year, however it only applies to employers in California with between 20-49 employees. The new law provides certain employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to welcome a child to the family. This includes parents who are adopting a child or welcoming a foster child into their home.

To earn this parental leave, employees must meet a number of conditions, including:

  • The employee must have worked for the employer for a minimum of one year prior to taking the leave of absence.
  • The employee must have worked a minimum of 1250 hours for the employer within the last year.
  • The employee must work at a job site where there at least 20 other employees working for the same employer within 75 miles.

This law states that parents can take this leave within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. This means parents do not need to take their 12-week leave immediately after the child is born or placed with the family. As long as it is within the one-year timeframe, it is protected by this new law.

Sexual Harassment Training

Prior to this year, the law required employers with 50 or employees to provide managers with at least two hours of sexual harassment and anti-bullying training every two years. Employers are still required to do this, but the law has been expanded even further. The training that employers provide to managers must also include harassment based on a victim’s gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. The new law also requires employers to provide specific examples of harassment in the training so there is no confusion as to what does and does not qualify as harassment.

Managers are the only ones who are required by law to take this training. However, employers must educate all of their employees on transgender rights in the workplace by hanging up an informational poster.

Ban the Box

The Ban the Box initiative also takes effect in 2018. This law falls under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, so it applies to all employers within the state of California that have five or more employees. This law prohibits employers from including questions about an applicant’s criminal record on a job application. It also prevents employers from asking an applicant about their criminal history throughout the interview process. In fact, employers cannot bring this topic up with an applicant until a job offer has been made.

The employer has the right to rescind the job offer after learning about the applicant’s criminal record. But, this is only permitted if the applicant’s criminal record will adversely affect their ability to perform the job.

For instance, a car services company may rescind an offer after learning that an applicant has a DUI on their record. Since the crime of driving under the influence is directly related to the job, the company has a legal right to take the job offer off of the table. This is because the conviction proves that the applicant may not be able to safely perform the duties of the job.

If an employer decides to revoke a job offer, the employer must notify the applicant of their decision as soon as possible. The notification must explain the employer’s decision, include a copy of the conviction report, and outline how the applicant can respond to this decision. The applicant then has the right to respond within five days—the employer’s decision is not final until this five-day period has passed. This gives applicants the chance to explain why their convictions should not cost them their job opportunities.

Salary History

Due to AB 168, employers are no longer allowed to consider an applicant’s salary history when deciding whether or not to hire them or what to offer them in terms of compensation. This means employers cannot ask applicants about their salary history at previous jobs or attempt to get this information in another manner. But, this law does not apply if an applicant voluntarily brings up their salary history. In this case, the employer can consider the applicant’s salary history when making job-related decisions since the information was not illegally obtained.

If your employer is not complying with these employment and labor laws, seek legal representation as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at Shegerian & Associates are ready to hold your employer accountable and seek justice on your behalf. Contact us today by calling 1-800-GOT-FIRED.