This blog post covers timely California legislative employment updates. Check out what you need to know and gain compliance tips to help you stay on top of HR, the right way. Click on the topic below to catch up on the latest news.
- Update: Federal Immigration Law to Give Notice to Employers Prior to I-9 Audits
- California Encourages Sexual Harassment Victims to Come Forward by Avoiding Defamation Charges
- Rounding Punches Deemed OK
- California’s Equal Pay Act Clarifies Who, What, and When
- Heads Up California, You Cannot Deny Armed Forces in Uniform From Entry
- Data Protections in California to Match Strict GDPR by 2020
Update: Federal Immigration Law to Give Notice to Employers Prior to I-9 Audits
California’s Assembly Bill 450 penalized employers who allowed federal immigration officers access to audit their I-9 forms without a warrant. In July 2018, the U.S. District Court ruled that the State of California cannot restrict the federal government from enforcing immigration regulations. However, the court upheld Section 90.2 California Labor Law, which still requires the federal government to provide 72-hour notice prior to inspection. The court also clarified that re-verification of I-9s by employers is prohibited.
- Employers must notify employees upon receiving a federal notice that an inspection will take place within 72 hours.
- Flagged employees must receive a copy of the Notice of Inspection.
- Employers must provide inspection results to employees within 72 hours that describes the employer’s obligations and those of flagged I-9 employees.
California Encourages Sexual Harassment Victims to Come Forward by Avoiding Defamation Charges
Assembly Bill 2770 hopes to encourage more sexual harassment victims to come forward in light of the #MeToo movement and it mandates that claimants’ and witnesses’ sexual harassment statements are confidential and that they cannot be sued for defamation. As long as an incident is credible and reported “without malice” or ill intention, a defamation suit cannot be filed against the claimant.
Employers are also allowed to report sexual harassment violations as the cause of termination to future employers if done without ill intent.
- Train employees on sexual harassment behavior and set up a protocol for employees to report any incidents.
- Train supervisors on appropriate conduct and consider a policy regarding romantic relationships within the chain of command.
- Train hiring professionals and recruiters to understand when they can and cannot speak about a sexual harassment charge.
Rounding Punches Deemed OK
On June 25, 2018, in AHMC Healthcare Inc. v. Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals approved employers to round up employees’ time punches, as long as employees are not undercompensated and employers don’t benefit financially. Both federal and California laws allow employers to round time to the nearest 5 minutes, 1/10, or 0.25 of an hour as long it doesn’t result in pay discrepancies over a pay period.
This means employers using this rounding system in their payroll practices must check if their policies are the same across the board and that their net result on wages isn’t benefiting the employer or putting the employee at a disadvantage.
- Review your payroll policies across the organization to ensure this practice complies.
- Review your net result of wages to ensure there is no loss of employee compensation.
- Train managers and employees on correct payroll procedures.
California’s Equal Pay Act Clarifies Who, What, and When
On July 18, 2018, the Fair Pay Act also known as AB2282 was signed into law. It clarifies labor code sections 432.3 and 1197.5 which define “applicant,” “pay scale,” and “reasonable request” when setting salaries for new positions.
Governor Brown recognized a need to clarify California’s Equal Pay Act for employers. Current law prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their previous salary and requires employers to provide applicants with pay scales should they ask. The amendment clarifies the following for employers:
- “Applicant” — an individual who is not a current employee, someone who is seeking employment.
- “Pay scale” — a base pay range for a position. It doesn’t include bonuses.
- “Reasonable request” — a request made after an interview has taken place. Employers do not need to provide a pay scale to every applicant who submits a resume.
Employers should be aware that they can ask candidates about their salary expectations, but not their salary history. Employers can only justify a wage discrepancy due to seniority, merit, or performance, but they cannot set salaries based on sex, race, or ethnicity.
Effective: January 1, 2019.
Heads Up California, You Cannot Deny Armed Forces in Uniform From Entry
Effective immediately, California signed SB 1500 into law on July 16, 2018, which prohibits businesses from denying U.S. Armed Forces from entering any facility while in uniform. Several incidences in the news have alerted authorities to this happening around the state. This law extends discrimination protections for Armed Forces, military, or naval forces members.
Data Protections in California to Match Strict GDPR by 2020
The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) takes effect January 1, 2020 increasing consumer protection rights. This will bring European-grade data protections to the U.S. Review your data protection policies and procedures now to prepare.
California Consumer Rights in 2020
- To know what personal information is being collected about them
- To know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom
- To say no to the sale of personal information
- To access their personal information
- To equal service and price, even if they exercise their privacy rights
- To hold companies liable for data breaches
- Reaching compliance can take time, start now.
- Review your data mapping procedures to ensure you can find personal information.
- Ensure consumer data can be quickly located, provided, or deleted upon request.