United States: Legislation Affecting California's Employment Regulations

California Assembly Bill No. 168 – Salary Information

Labor Code section 1197.5 prohibits employers from paying any employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of another sex, race or ethnicity for substantially similar work unless an exception applies. Assembly Bill No. 168 adds section 432.3 to the California Labor Code to prohibit an employer from asking, either directly or through an agent, about a job applicant's salary history, including compensation and benefits, and requires the employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to a job applicant.

California Assembly Bill No. 1008 – Ban-the-Box Law

Assembly Bill No. 1008 prohibits an employer with five or more employees from inquiring about or considering a job applicant's conviction history at any time before a conditional offer of employment is made. Employers must take the following steps prior to rescinding an employment offer based on an applicant's criminal conviction history:

  • Step 1: Conduct an individualized assessment to determine whether the applicant's conviction has a direct and adverse relationship with the job's specific duties, considering the following factors: (1) the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; (2) the time that has passed since the offense or conduct; (3) the time that has passed since the offense or conduct and completion of any sentence imposed; and (4) the nature of the job held or sought.
  • Step 2: If the employer makes a preliminary decision to rescind an offer because of the applicant's conviction history, the employer must, at least five business days before the decision becomes final, (1) provide written notice to the applicant stating the disqualifying conviction(s) that is/are the basis for the preliminary decision to rescind the offer, (2) provide a copy of the conviction history report, and (3) notify the applicant of his or her right to respond and provide evidence challenging the accuracy of the report or of other mitigating circumstances.
  • Step 3: The employer must give the applicant at least five business days to respond to the notice of rescission of a job offer. Applicants are entitled to an additional five business days to respond if they provide timely notice in writing that they dispute the accuracy of the conviction history report and are taking steps to obtain evidence in support thereof.
  • Step 4: If an employer makes a final determination to deny an applicant because of his or her conviction history, the employer shall notify the applicant in writing of its final decision, any existing procedures for challenging the decision or requesting reconsideration, and of the right to file a complaint with the department.

California Senate Bill No. 63 – Parental Leave for Smaller Employers

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) prohibits employers with 50 or more employees from refusing a request by an employee who has at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption or foster care placement.

Senate Bill No. 63 expands existing law to require employers with 20 to 49 employees to provide employees who have at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption or foster care placement.

California Senate Bill 396 – Gender Identity, Expression, Sexual Orientation

Senate Bill 396 requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training every two years. The training must discuss harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. The training also must include specific examples and be presented by trainers with knowledge in these areas. Under the new law, covered employers also must display the "Transgender Rights in the Workplace" poster issued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

California Assembly Bill 1102 – Whistleblower Protections for Health Facilities

Assembly Bill 1102 increases the maximum statutory fine that can be assessed against a health care facility for a violation of whistleblower protections from $20,000 to $75,000.

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