Compliance Check List for California Employers–1 | DCR Workforce Blog

Compliance Check List for California Employers–1

california lawIn this blog, we often talk about the new laws enacted by the various states in America, and California stands apart in the number of employment-related bills enacted by it. Many of these laws take effect on the 1st of January 2015. Here is a quick summary of California’s latest legislation that employers must prepare for. Failure to comply with these regulatory requirements could result in legal action, penalties, equitable or injunctive relief and a requirement to pay/reimburse an attorney’s fees and costs.

  1. SB 1360 extends an existing monetary penalty provision for failing to provide an employee in a covered industry with required heat-illness prevention recovery periods. The law mandates that these recovery periods must be paid breaks, and counts them as working time for overtime pay calculation purposes.
  2. AB 1443 prohibits discrimination against employees and trainees based on race, national origin, gender, age, disability and religion. It also protects against using unpaid interns and unpaid work programs. It also mandates that accommodations must be made for the religious beliefs of interns and other individuals.
  3. Bill AB 1522, also known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014”, makes it necessary for employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers – whether temporary, part-time or permanent. –The law specifies a minimum rate of leave accrual, but affords employers a considerable amount of discretion in leave use, notice period and record-keeping requirements. The law applies to every employer irrespective of their size and non-profit status. Employers need to notify the workers of their right to paid sick leave by posting notices and by adding it as a clause in another mandatory notice which needs to be circulated among workers – known as the Wage Theft Prevention Act.
  4. AB 1650 is California’s version of “ban-the-box” (or criminal background check requirement) for certain jobs – providing a fair chance at employment to applicants with a history of criminal conviction.
  5. AB 1660 requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a driver’s license to anyone who meets all requirements but is unable to show proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law. It also prohibits differential treatment on the basis of immigration status that may be presumed on the basis that an individual possesses a particular driver’s license.
  6. AB 1723 ensures that minimum wage citations issued by the Labor Commissioner will also include any applicable “waiting time” penalties provided for under existing law. It also provides additional methods for recovering unpaid minimum wages.
  7. AB 1792 works to identify employers who pay low wages and thereby push their workers into public assistance programs to meet their basic needs like healthcare, food and other necessities.
  8. AB 1792 also prohibits employers from refusing to hire someone who is enrolled in a public assistance program or violating the right to privacy of an employee who receives or is applying for public benefits.
  9. AB 2053 mandates Abusive Conduct Prevention Training. Employers who hire more than 50 employees must provide 2 hours of training every two years. The intent of this law is to prevent abusive conduct and sexual harassment.  Bill AB 2536 expands the definition of emergency rescue personnel who are authorized to take time off to perform emergency duty to include an officer, employee or member of a disaster medical team who is sponsored or requested by the state. The worker would have to notify the employer of such designation to perform rescue work for the state.
  10. AB 2751 provides more remedies for acts of retaliation against workers who are suspected of being undocumented. The $10,000 penalty will be awarded to the worker (instead of the state.

Employers in California have a few short weeks to incorporate these laws into their workplace practices. We shall bring you an update on additional laws in a follow up post. As California is often among the pioneers in introducing new workplace legislation, companies in other states should closely follow these developments.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.