The California legislature has been busy creating additional protections
for employees. Employees and employers must be aware of the changes for
their own protection.
The minimum wage in California for employers with 26 or more employees
goes to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2017. The minimum wage for employers
with 25 or fewer employees will remain at $10.00 per hour for 2017.
Minimum wage violations (AB 2899): An employer seeking a writ of mandate to contest a Labor Commissioner
citation for failure to pay minimum wages must first post a bond with
the Labor Commissioner issued in favor of the employee in an amount equal
to the unpaid wages, liquidated damages, and overtime compensation assessed,
excluding penalties. Proceeds are forfeited to the employee if the employer
fails to pay the amounts owed within 10 days after the proceedings.
DLSE enforcement authority (
): The Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) authority under Labor
Code section 98.7 to bring an action, with or without an employee complaint,
against an employer who terminates or discriminates against an employee
in violation of any law under the Labor Commissioner’s jurisdiction.
Salary history (AB 1676): An individual’s prior salary cannot, by itself, justify a wage differential
Juvenile criminal history (AB 1843): Labor Code section 432.7 restrictions on inquiries regarding criminal history
are expanded to prohibit asking an applicant to disclose juvenile convictions
and information related to a juvenile arrest, detention, processing, diversion,
supervision, adjudication, or court disposition; or seek from any source
or utilize as a factor in determining any condition of employment any
of the same information. Health may inquire about an applicant’s
juvenile criminal background if a juvenile court made a final ruling or
adjudication that the applicant had committed a felony or misdemeanor
relating to certain sex or controlled substances crimes within five years
preceding the employment application. Inquiries regarding sealed juvenile
criminal records are prohibited.
Choice of law and forum in employment contracts (SB 1241): New Labor Code section 925 prohibit makes voidable the employee’s
request any contractual provision that (1) requires an employee who lives
and works in California to litigate or arbitrate outside of California
claims that arise in California; or (2) deprives the employee of the protection
of California law with respect to a controversy arising in California.
The law applies to contracts entered into, modified, or extended on or
after January 1, 2017. It does not apply where the employee is represented
by legal counsel in negotiating the choice of law or forum.
Work experience education programs (
): Expands the opportunity to participate in a work experience education program
for credit to students at least 14 years old (previously this only applied
to students at least 16 years old). Students may job shadow for up to
40 hours if the school principal certifies that it is necessary for participation
in a career technical education program.
Background checks by “transportation network companies” (AB 1289): Companies like Uber or Lyft will be required to conduct or have a third
party conduct local and national criminal background checks on each driver.
Companies are barred from hiring a driver who is currently registered
on the National Sex Offender Public Website, has been convicted of terrorism-related
or violent felonies or, has been convicted of misdemeanor assault or battery,
domestic violence, or driving under the influence within the previous
Removal of age from actors’ online profiles (AB 1687): A commercial online entertainment employment service provider may longer
the actor’s age on its website.
Wage statements for exempt employees (AB 2535): Employers of exempt executive, managerial, professional, outside sales,
or computer software professionals need not show the employee’s
“total hours worked” on their pay stubs. It also applies to
parents, spouses, children, or legally-adopted children of the employer;
participants, directors, and staff of a live-in alternative to an incarceration
rehabilitation program for substance abuse; exempt crew members of licensed
commercial passenger fishing boats; and participants in national service programs.
Overtime for agricultural workers (AB 1066): Currently
, workers engaged in agricultural occupations covered by IWC Wage Order 14-2001
get overtime after 10 hours a day in a work day or 60 hours in a week
The Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act creates new overtime
protections for. Starting in 2019 the daily and weekly hours that an agricultural
worker must work to receive overtime pay, will decrease to eight hours
in a work day and 40 hours in a work week by 2022.
Pay equity based on race and ethnicity (SB 1063): A new Wage and Equality Act extends California’s Fair Pay Act protections
in Labor Code section 1197.5 to race and ethnicity. It is now unlawful
to pay employees less than employees of another race or ethnicity for
“substantially similar work.”
Single-user restrooms must be “all gender” (AB 1732): Effective March 1, 2017, a business establishment with no more than one
bathroom and one urinal with a lock controlled by the user must have “all
Smoking in the Workplace (ABX2-7): Effective June 9, 2016, Expands Labor Code Section 6404.5’s prohibition
on smoking in all enclosed places of employment to all employers of any
size, including a place of employment where the owner-operator is the
only employee (
i.e., owner-operated business). “‘Enclosed space’ includes
covered parking lots, lobbies, lounges, waiting areas, elevators, stairwells,
and restrooms that are a structural part of the building.” A violation
is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 for a first violation, $200
for a second violation within one year, and $500 for a third and for each
subsequent violation within one year.
Notice of domestic violence leave and accommodation rights (AB 2337): The Labor Commissioner must develop a model notice of the time off and
accommodation rights under Labor Code sections 230 and 230.1 protecting
victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Employers
will not be required to provide this notice until this sample is available.
Unfair immigration-related practices (
): Labor Code section 1019.1 defines an “unfair immigration-related
practice” to do any of the following in verifying authorization
to work: (1) request more or different documents than required by the
I-9 process; (2) refuse to honor documents reasonably appear to be genuine;
(3) refuse to honor documents or work authorization based on the specific
status or term that accompanies the authorization to work; or (4) attempt
to re-verify an existing employee’s work authorization using an
unfair immigration-related practice. An aggrieved person can file a complaint
with the DLSE for enforcement. Violations carry a penalty of up to $10,000.