New California HR Laws

Minimum Wage
California’s minimum wage, effective January 1, 2018, is $10.50/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees; and $11/hour for employers with 26 or more employees.  And, the minimum salary for exempt computer professionals is now $90,790.07 annually.

What should you do?
Review all employee wages to ensure you are paying the minimum wage.  Make sure your exempt employees still meet the requirement for exempt status of 2 times the minimum wage:  for employers with more than 26 employees it is $45,760 annually and for employers with 25 or less employees it is $43,680.  Ensure that any exempt computer professionals are making $90,790.07.

Salary History:
Employers may not ask about applicant’s salary history.  Employers may consider salary history if an applicant discloses it, but cannot rely on it alone for salary.  Employer must show applicants the position’s pay scale if asked.

What should you do?
Train your hiring supervisors to not ask any questions about salary history and revise you job application to delete questions regarding past salaries.  You should also develop a salary structure with salary ranges for your positions so that you can disclose the range to applicants and you can demonstrate you have an objective method of determining salary levels.

Conviction History:
For candidates that are seeking employment, employers with 5 or more employees must not ask about convictions on application forms or orally in interviews unless the applicant brings it up.

Employers may ask about convictions if making a conditional job offer based on successful completion of a background check.  Background checks may not disclose arrests, diversion, or sealed convictions.

Employers cannot deny employment, based on convictions, until doing an assessment regarding the nature of conviction relative to job being considered, time passed, and gravity of the offense.

If a position is to be denied due to an applicant’s conviction history, the employer must notify the applicant in writing regarding the conviction, history if any, the applicant’s right to respond with conflicting conviction evidence for employer’s review. If employer then still denies position, they must inform the applicant and provide the procedure to challenge the denial, if any, and applicant’s right to file a complaint with the DFEH.

What should you do?
Train your hiring Managers about discussing convictions during an interview.  Revise your job applications to not have any questions about convictions.  Develop a procedure to review any candidate convictions and their relevance to the job, how grave the offense is, and time passed since the conviction.  Develop a procedure to properly notify applicants that are rejected due to a conviction.

Immigrant Worker Protection Act:
Prevents employers from voluntarily providing worksite access or employee information (excluding I-9 Forms) to Federal immigration enforcement agents such as ICE without a judicial warrant. There are severe penalties for violating this law including fines from $2,000-$10,000 for each violation.  Also requires the employer provide a notice to employees within 72 hours of receiving a notice from a Federal agency to inspect employee records. (Notice Attached)

What should you do?
Ensure that any employees that might be approached by Federal agents are trained in the requirements of this law.  Provide the required notice to employees within 72 hours of receiving a notice of inspection of I-9’s or other records by Federal immigration agents.

Parental Leave:
Employers from 20-49 employees must provide up to 12 weeks for parent to bond with new child.

What should you do?
If you have from 20-49 employees ensure that you are now offering this type of leave.

Poster requirement:
Employers must post this new poster that outlines the new anti-discrimination protections regarding gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation including using the gender description or pronoun an employee or applicant requests. (Poster Attached)

What should you do?
Post this notice where you post other required notices and make sure you have these added protections in your employee handbook or other policies.

Expanded Supervisor Training:
For employers with 50 employees, bi-annually for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, including gender identity/expression/sexual orientation.  Must include practical examples, and trainers with expertise in the subject matter.

What should you do?
Ensure that this information is part of your every two year Supervisor discrimination, harassment, and retaliation training.  Please note if you have less than the mandated 50 employees to conduct this training, it is still a good idea to train your Supervisors and Managers on discrimination, harassment, and retaliation as you have the same liability exposure as larger employers.

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