California Employment Law Update-October 2017

California

Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017

On October 15, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 258) applicable to manufacturers of certain consumer products, such as air care, automotive, cleaning, polish or floor maintenance products, and employers with these products in the workplace. Under the act, employers that are already required to maintain and provide safety data sheets must also make available information prepared by manufacturers about the aforementioned consumer products.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA S.B. 258

Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act

On October 15, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 201) making student-employees, whose employment is contingent upon their status as students, employees and higher education employees for purposes of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act. The law also:

  • Grants employees the right to form, join, and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for representation on all matters of employer-employee relations and to meet and confer with their employer.
  • Provides that all matters not within the scope of representation are reserved to the employer and are not subject to meeting and conferring.
  • Excludes from the scope of representation, for purposes of the University of California only, among other things, conditions for the award of certificates and degrees to students.
  • Provides that, for purposes of the University of California only, the requirements for students to achieve satisfactory progress toward their degrees are also outside of the scope of representation.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA S.B. 201

Sexual Harassment Training and Posting Requirements

On October 15, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 396) amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as follows:

  • Currently, the FEHA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of prescribed training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position and once every two years, as specified. The new provisions require these employers to include, as a component of the already required FEHA training and education for supervisors, training that is inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
  • Currently, the FEHA requires each employer to post a poster on discrimination in employment, which includes information relating to the illegality of sexual harassment, in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace. The new provisions require each employer to post a poster developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA S.B. 396

Ban the Box

On October 14, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 1008) repealing the prohibition on a state or local agency from asking an applicant for employment to disclose information regarding criminal conviction. The law also makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer, with five or more employees, to include on any job application any question about an applicant’s conviction history, or for an employer to inquire or consider an applicant’s conviction history until he or she has received a conditional job offer. Required notice provisions are also included in the law.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 1008

Construction Contractor Liability

On October 14, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 1701) requiring direct construction contractors (as defined in the law) to assume, and be liable for, unpaid wages, benefits, or contributions owed by a subcontractor for labor connected to the contract. The law is applicable to certain construction contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018 and requires that subcontractors provide payroll records upon a direct contractor’s request.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 1701

Employer Defined for Wage Discrimination Statute

On October 14, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 46) amending the California equal pay law by including both private and public employers in the definition of employer; however, public employers are exempt from the misdemeanor enforcement provisions.

The law was effective upon enactment.

Read CA A.B. 46

Workers’ Compensation and Definition of Employee

On October 13, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 189) expanding the scope of the exception from the definition of an employee under California workers’ compensation law. The exception applies to an officer or member of the board of directors of a quasi-public or private corporation who owns specified stock of the corporation if that officer’s or member’s parent, grandparent, sibling, spouse, or child also owns at least a certain percentage of the issued and outstanding stock and that officer or member is covered by a health care service plan or a health insurance policy, and executes a written waiver.

The law generally takes effect July 1, 2018, except as otherwise specified.

Read CA S.B. 189

New Parent Leave Act

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 63) providing 12 weeks of job-protected leave for parents who work for companies with at least 20 employees to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The act also provides protections against retaliation, addresses when both parents work for the same employer, and that employers must maintain and pay for group plan benefits during the employee’s leave.

The act is effective on January 1, 2018.

Read CA S.B. 63

Salary History

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 168) prohibiting all private and public employers from relying on an applicant’s salary history information in determining whether to offer employment or what salary to offer. The law also prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment and requires an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide an applicant with the pay scale for a position. However, the law permits applicants to voluntarily and without prompting disclose salary history information, and does not prohibit an employer from considering or relying on that voluntarily disclosed salary history information in determining salary. The law does not apply to salary history information disclosable to the public pursuant to federal or state law.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 168

Prohibited Discrimination Against Service Members

On October 8, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 1710) amending existing law prohibiting various types of discrimination against an officer or enlisted member of the military or naval forces of the state or the United States because of his or her membership or service. The amendments prohibit discrimination in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment and include remedies for violations.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 1710

Public School Employees Leave of Absence

On October 8, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 731) relating to leaves of absence for public school employees. The law adds a certificated employee and a classified employee who is a former active duty member of the Armed Forces, or a former active duty member of the California National Guard, to the entitlement for a leave of absence for an illness or injury with pay for medical treatment for a military service-connected disability. The entitlement is 10 days for a certificated employee and 12 days for a classified employee. The law also requires a leave credit for the employee on the date of his or her disability rating decision.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA S.B. 731

Prohibited Discrimination Against Service Members

On October 8, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 1710) amending existing law prohibiting various types of discrimination against an officer or enlisted member of the military or naval forces of the state or the United States because of his or her membership or service. The amendments prohibit discrimination in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment and include remedies for violations.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 1710

Human Trafficking

On October 7, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills that work in tandem (A.B. 260 and S.B. 225). A.B. 260 requires hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns, not including personal residences, to post a notice relating to slavery and human trafficking. S.B. 225 requires this notice to clarify that a person can text specified nonprofit organizations for services and support in the elimination of slavery and human trafficking, and revises the names of the nonprofit organizations listed in the notice.

The laws are effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 260 and CA S.B. 225

Immigration Worksite Enforcement

On October 5, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 450) prohibiting public and private employers from voluntarily consenting to an immigration enforcement agent entering nonpublic areas of a place of labor without a warrant. The law also prohibits an employer, or another acting on the employer’s behalf, from voluntarily consenting to an immigration enforcement agent obtaining employee records without a subpoena or court order.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 450

Sexual Harassment Prevention and Farm Labor Contractors

On October 2, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 295) amending existing law regarding farm labor contractor licensure. Currently, one of the licensure requirements is to provide sexual harassment training to all personnel. The new law requires this training to be conducted in or interpreted into the language understood by the employee, and adds an obligation to provide a list of all antiharassment training materials or resources used in the prior calendar year.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA S.B. 295

Distracted Driving and Electronic Wireless Communication Device Definition

On September 26, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 1222) removing a specialized mobile radio device and a two-way messaging device from the list of devices specifically included as an electronic wireless communications device under the state’s distracted driving regulations. Under the state’s law, it is a crime to drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device.

The law is effective January 1, 2018.

Read CA A.B. 1222