Waag Susan 150

By Susan Waag

New Year’s resolutions have been made (and possibly already broken), but have you addressed your employment practices for 2018?

If you’ve been in business with employees for a while, it should not come as news to you that every January, California employers have to be ready for a wide variety of new employment laws. Whether you have 1 employee or 100, compliance is absolutely essential—invariably, these new requirements are complex and come with a stringent set of penalties for not following them.

At the SLO Chamber’s sold-out Employment Law Update next week, I’ll be leading a high-speed low-down on more than 140 new laws and court rulings, the vast majority of which went into effect when the calendar flipped to Jan. 1.

In the meantime, here are three important changes to hiring and leave practices now in effect that employers should know about asap.

  1. Criminal History – “Ban the Box”: AB 1008 makes it unlawful for employers with five or more employees to include inquiries about criminal histories in their employment applications or initial screening processes. Only after a conditional offer of employment has been made are these types of inquiries allowed. Additional rules apply. Requires updating employment applications and hiring procedures.
  1. Salary History – Inquiry Ban: AB 168 prohibits employers “orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, [from seeking] salary history information, including compensation and benefits, about an applicant for employment.” This broadly worded prohibition extends to all forms of seeking or relying on salary-history information (including benefits data); it should not be used in determining whether to offer employment or determining what salary to offer. Additional rules apply. Requires updating employment applications and hiring procedures.
  1. New Parent Leave – Baby-Bonding Expanded: SB 63 amends the California Family Rights Act to require that private, state and municipal employers that have 20 or more employees within 75 miles provide their employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, but unpaid, parental leave to care for or bond with a new child. Additional rules apply.

But that’s not all, not even close. If you’re not attending the Employment Law Update (or even if you are!) you’ll want to seek legal advice about the many new laws and court decisions that create new requirements for most or all employers, including:

  • New California minimum-wage and exempt-salary increase
  • Implementing effective anti-harassment programs
  • Required gender expression and identity training
  • Updated posters and notices required
  • EEOC: mental illness and national origin discrimination
  • Gender-based pricing forbidden
  • Heat regulations for indoor workers
  • New I-9 regulations
  • New immigration requirements for employers
  • Update on recreational use of marijuana
  • Cleaning products: what’s in your cupboard?
  • New anti-discrimination protections for the military
  • New arbitration do’s and don’ts
  • Rest and meal period updates
  • And many, many more!

And don’t forget your 2018 Labor Law poster, which all California employers must display in a central location year-round. Order yours today.