A flurry of new laws will sweep California starting on January 1, 2018, impacting California businesses of all sizes. These laws run the gamut, affecting parental leave, hiring, minimum wage and expanded harassment training. Let’s dive in to a few of these changes in more detail and what you need to know to prepare.
The Act applies to private, state and municipal employers who employ 20-49 employees within 75 miles of each other. The 12 weeks of leave are in addition to the up to four months of California Pregnancy Disability Leave available to women who work for employers with five or more employees.
To be eligible to take leave, employees must have over 12 months and at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period with the covered employer.
To be compliant with this new law, covered employers must make sure they:
Employers with 50 or more employees—who are already required to conduct harassment training of all people managers within six months of assuming their role and every two years after that—must now include content on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation in their harassment prevention training materials.
We’ve talked in the past about discrimination of protected classes in California but, in addition to that information, employers should make sure to do the following as of January 1:
Your HR services provider can help you review and revise all training materials, as well as ensure all supervisors are up to speed with their anti-harassment training. TriNet will be sending updated and new posters to our clients who are affected by changing laws.
Existing law prohibits state and local agencies from asking an applicant to disclose conviction information until the applicant is determined qualified for the position. The new law going into effect January 1, however, extends this prohibition to all employers in California with five or more employees.
The new law makes it unlawful for these employers to:
Once a conditional offer of employment is made, an employer can consider an applicant’s criminal record. An employer cannot deny an applicant a position solely or in part because of conviction history until the employer performs an individualized assessment. This assessment must justify denying the applicant the position by linking relevant conviction history with specific job duties of the position sought. In particular, the assessment would have to consider:
Once the employer makes a preliminary decision that the applicant’s conviction history is disqualifying, the employer must notify the applicant of this preliminary decision in writing. The employer is not required to justify or explain to the applicant its reasoning for making the preliminary decision, but the employer must:
The employer cannot make any final determination based on conviction history during this five business day period. If the applicant provides timely notification to the employer in writing that he or she is disputing the conviction history and is taking steps to obtain evidence to support this, the employer must provide five additional business days to respond to the notice. The employer must also consider any additional evidence or documents the applicant provides in response to the notice before making a final decision.
And if the employer ultimately decides to deny an applicant based on the conviction history, the employer must notify the applicant of this in writing and include notification of any existing procedure the employer has to challenge the decision, as well as notification of the applicant’s right to file a complaint with the FEHA.
Again, your HR services provider or an employment attorney can help review of all of your various policies, procedures and other documents related to the screening process (e.g., job applications, offer letters, guidelines for recruiters, etc.). Relatedly, if not done already, employers in California should consider updating all documents related to federal and California fair credit reporting act compliance, including background check authorization and disclosure forms and “adverse action” notifications.
State, local and federal laws and regulations are constantly evolving, making it increasingly difficult for business owners of every size to maintain compliance. If you are facing these changes alone, now is a good time to consider partnering with TriNet.
This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.
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