California Employment Law Update – July 2018

California

Salary History Information

On July 18, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 2282) providing for the following:

  • Definitions of the terms pay scale, reasonable request, and applicant.
  • Allowing employers to ask an applicant about his or her salary expectations for the position to which he or she is applying.
  • Allowing employers to make a compensation decision based on an employee’s current salary, as long as any wage differential resulting from the decision is justified by a seniority system, merit system, system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience.

The law is effective January 1, 2019.

Read CA A.B. 2282

Prohibited Discrimination Against Service Members

On July 16, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 1500) extending the protections against discharge from employment to U.S. Armed Forces federal reserve members and State Military Reserve members. The law also prohibits places of public entertainment or amusement from refusing entrance to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces because he or she is wearing a military uniform.

The law is effective January 1, 2019.

Read CA S.B. 1500

Immigration

On July 5, 2018, in U.S. v. California No. 2:18-cv-490, a federal district court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of both:

  • Lab. Code § 1019.2(a) and (b), which imposed restrictions on private employers reverifying current employees’ employment eligibility; and
  • Govt. Code §§ 7285.1-7285.2, which imposed restrictions on granting immigration enforcement agents access to nonpublic workplace areas or employee records.

We will provide more information on these laws as the case progresses.

Read the case

Income Tax Withholding

On July 1, 2018, the California Employment Development Department announced Express Pay — a new online payment option for employers to make payroll tax deposits or account payments via ACH debit or credit card. The Express Pay option also fulfills the state’s requirement for employers to remit taxes electronically.

Read more about Express Pay

Paid Family Leave

On July 9, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 2587) impacting the family temporary disability insurance program, otherwise known as the paid family leave program or PFL.  Employers may require employees to use up to two weeks of unused vacation leave or paid time off before using PFL. However, per A.B. 2587 and effective January 1, 2019, employers may no longer apply vacation leave to the waiting period, consistent with the removal of the seven-day waiting period for these benefits on and after January 1, 2018.

Note: Effective January 1, 2018, employees are not required to undergo a seven-day waiting period to be eligible for a PFL claim; however, it remains a part of SDI claim eligibility.

Read CA A.B. 2587

Privileged Communications by Former Employer and Sexual Harassment

On July 9, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 2770) adding the following to the definition (at Cal. Civil Code Ann. § 47) of a privileged communication in regard to sexual harassment:

  • Complaints of sexual harassment by an employee, without malice, to an employer based on credible evidence and communications between the employer and interested persons regarding a complaint of sexual harassment.
  • An employer’s answer, without malice, as to whether the employer would rehire an employee and whether or not a decision to not rehire is based on the employer’s determination that the former employee engaged in sexual harassment.

Generally, privileged communications are protected against forced disclosure. In other words, the communication is legally protected, and its disclosure is prohibited except when done by the privilege holder.

The law is effective January 1, 2019.

Read CA A.B. 2770

Milpitas Minimum Wage

The city of Milpitas updated its official minimum wage notice to reflect an increase to $13.50 per hour effective July 1, 2018.

See the poster