Starting January, 1st, employers in California will have to deal with more legal obligation and expanded laws. The obligations are associated with enquiry of conviction history, salary information ban, immigration enforcement, expanded anti-harassment training and posting, DLSE Enforcement Actions, and expanded family leave.
California Bans the Box: As per the new law, employers with five or more employees will be prohibited from inquiring into conviction history and employment applications, until a conditional employment offer is issued. Consideration of arrest that did not result in conviction and convictions that have been sealed or dismissed will also be forbidden. The employer will be required to follow a specific process of making an individual assessment of applicant, before denying employment based on an applicant’s conviction history. In the individualized assessment the employer needs to focus on whether the applicant’s conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job.
Salary Information Ban – All employers will be prohibited from asking about or relying on salary history when determining whether to offer an applicant a position or what salary to offer an applicant. Employers must also be prepared to provide an applicant with the pay scale for a position upon reasonable request. This law will not preclude applicants from voluntarily disclosing their salary history or goals.
Immigration Enforcement – Employers will be prohibited from allowing an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of the workplace without a judicial warrant and may not allow an agent to access, review, or obtain employee records without court order. Employers must give employees notice of an inspection of I-9 forms or other employment records within 72 hours of receiving the federal notice of inspection. Employers will also be prohibited from reverifying employment eligibility, unless required by federal law.
Expanded Anti-Harassment Training and Posting – The current mandatory sexual harassment training for supervisors will require to have training content that addresses harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Also, employers with five or more employees will need to post a workplace notice developed by the DFEH regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.
DLSE Enforcement Actions – The DLSE’s authority will be expanded to permit investigation when, during the course of an ongoing wage claim or other investigation, if the agency suspects an employer of retaliating or discriminating against an employee, regardless of whether a complaint has been filed. Upon a finding the reasonable cause that a violation of the law occurred, the department will be able to obtain an injunction ordering reinstatement of the employee pending resolution of the investigation.
Expanded Family Leave – Family leave is being expanded to include smaller employers with at least 20 employees. As per the new policy all eligible employees will be entitles to have up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave.