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2018 Employment Law Update For California Businesses

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Employers with 50 or more employees must now include in their mandatory 2-hour training requirement a component based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Employers with 5 or more employees must post a new workplace poster regarding transgender rights, to be developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Parental Leave

Expands parental leave law. Employers with 20 or more employees must grant 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental bonding leave within one year of that child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. Two employees may be granted simultaneous leave for the same birth, adoption or foster care placement.


Prohibits employers from allowing enforcement agents access without a judicial warrant. The new law also prohibits an employer from reviewing or obtaining employee records without a subpoena or court order. Violators can be assessed civil penalties of between Civil penalties in amounts between $2,000 and $10,000.

Salary History

Adds Section 432.3 to the Labor Code which prohibits all employers from asking about and using an applicant’s salary history to set salary.

Criminal Background Checks

Employers with five or more employees may not ask about criminal convictions on employment applications, or ask applicants about criminal convictions prior to making a conditional offer of employment. Employers cannot consider, distribute, or disseminate information arrests not leading to conviction. There are a few exceptions where criminal background checks are required by law.

Construction Contractors

Construction contractors are now jointly liable with their subcontractors for unpaid wages, benefits, or contributions owed by subcontractors. The new Labor Code Section 218.7 states that nothing in it “shall be construed to impose liability on a direct contractor for anything other than unpaid wages and fringe or other benefit payments or contributions including interest owed.” Only unions, and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement can file an action to recover these wages. In order to protect themselves direct contractors now have the right to require their subs to produce copies of their employees’ pay stubs.

Human Trafficking

Requires hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns to post notices concerning human trafficking and available hotlines to include a text number to access support and services.

Equal Pay

Beginning this year California’s Fair Pay Act is expanded to public employers.

Antidiscrimination: Military Personnel

Extends protection from discrimination against service members in any terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, such as “health care which may be continued at the employee’s expense, life insurance, disability insurance, and seniority status.”

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