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New California Workplace Laws for 2018

4 Dec

Governor Brown has signed into law a number of significant employment-related bills that will impact California workplaces. Here’s a summary of key laws taking effect on January 1, 2018, along with best practices to get ready — and ensure compliance.

Salary history

California joins a growing number of jurisdictions in barring employers from using or seeking job applicants’ salary history. A.B. 168 will prohibit all employers, public and private, from relying on “salary history Information” as a factor in determining whether to offer employment and what salary to offer to an applicant. Also, an employer cannot, orally or in writing, personally or through an agent (such as a manager or even a third party), seek salary history information about an applicant. Salary history information includes information about compensation and benefits, but the bill does not apply to salary history information that is disclosable to the public pursuant to federal or state law, such as under the California Public Records Act. The law also requires employers to provide the pay scale for a position upon an applicant’s “reasonable” request.

If an applicant voluntarily and without prompting does disclose salary history information to a prospective employer, the law would not prevent the employer from considering or relying on that information to set the salary for that applicant — although the information still could not be used in determining whether or not to hire the individual. Employers should exercise caution in relying on this provision to consider salary history, as it could be difficult to demonstrate that a salary history disclosure was in fact voluntary. Employers should also bear in mind that under the California Fair Pay Act, salary history alone cannot justify a gender or race disparity in compensation.

On a related note, another new law, A.B. 46, will expand California’s Fair Pay Act to public employers. However, public employers are not subject to the Act’s misdemeanor provision for violations.

Getting Ready.  Employers should revise job applications and hiring forms and notices, whether hard copy or online, to remove questions that could seek salary history information.  Employers should also revise applicable hiring policies and procedures and interview/screening guidelines, to make clear that the organization does not request salary history and will not use salary history unless otherwise permitted by law. Procedures should be put in place to ensure delivery of pay scale information upon an applicant’s request. And, training should be provided to all personnel involved at any stage of the hiring process to ensure they understand the restrictions and obligations imposed by the new law. Employers in San Francisco should also take note that a similar city ordinance takes effect in July 2018.

Immigration Enforcement

In response to anticipated immigration-related actions by the Trump Administration, California has enacted strict new measures related to workplace immigration enforcement.

A.B. 450 will bar public and private employers, and anyone acting on their behalf, from voluntarily consenting to allow an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of a workplace, except if the agent provides a judicial warrant or as otherwise required by federal law. Employers can take an immigration agent to a nonpublic area in order to verify whether the agent has a judicial warrant, so long as no employees are present in the area and no consent to search nonpublic areas is given in the process.

The new law also prohibits employers and anyone acting on their behalf from providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to access, review, or obtain employee records without a subpoena or judicial warrant. This provision does not prohibit an employer from challenging a subpoena or judicial warrant in a federal court, nor does it apply to inspection of I-9 records or other documents for which the employer has received a Notice of Inspection.

A.B. 450 also imposes several new notification requirements on employers, as follows:

  • Within 72 hours of receiving a Notice of Inspection from an immigration agency to inspect I-9 forms or other employment records, the employer must post a workplace notice to employees and provide written notice to a collective bargaining representative. The Labor Commissioner will develop a template that employers can use for this purpose. Also, upon reasonable request, an employer must provide an affected employee a copy of an I-9 Notice of Inspection.
  • Within 72 hours of receiving an immigration agency notice that provides results of the I-9 or records inspection, an employer must provide each current affected employee and the collective bargaining representative a copy of the notice. Also the employer must provide to each “affected employee” and their representative written notice of the employer and employee’s obligations arising from the inspection results. An “affected employee” is one identified by the inspection results as lacking work authorization or whose work authorization documents have been identified by the agency inspection to have deficiencies. The notice must relate to the affected employee only and must be delivered by hand at the workplace if possible, or by mail and email if hand delivery is not possible.

Violations of any of the above provisions carry hefty civil penalties of $2,000 to $5,000 for a first violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

Finally, A.B. 450 prohibits employers from reverifying employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law.  Violations carry a civil penalty of up to $10,000.  This law does not restrict an employer’s compliance with a memorandum of understanding regarding the use of E-Verify.

Getting Ready.  Employers should ensure that management is familiar with the new prohibitions on granting voluntary access and understands proper procedures when faced with a visit or inspection request from immigration authorities. Employers should be prepared to promptly comply with the new posting and notice requirements when a Notice of Inspection or inspection results are received. Also, employers should review their I-9 processes to ensure that they are in full compliance with the law and are not engaging in reverification practices that are not strictly required by federal law.

Ban the Box

The new California Ban-the-Box law, A.B. 1008, amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to make it an unlawful employment practice for employers with five or more employees to:

  • include on any application for employment any question that seeks the disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history;
  • inquire into or consider an applicant’s conviction history before the applicant receives a conditional offer of employment; and
  • consider, distribute, or disseminate information related to arrests that did not result in convictions, diversion program participation, and/or convictions that were sealed, dismissed, expunged or eradicated.

The new law exempts from its coverage only a handful of positions: positions for which government agencies are required by law to check conviction history; positions with criminal justice agencies; farm labor contractors; and positions for which the employer is required by federal, state or local law to check criminal history or to restrict employment based on criminal history.

The law provides that covered employers may only consider an applicant’s conviction history after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. If an employer intends to deny hire solely or in part because of conviction history, the employer must conduct an individualized assessment to determine whether that history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job. Moreover, when making that assessment the employer must consider the nature and gravity of the offense and conduct, the passage of time since the date of the offense/conduct and completion of any sentence, and the nature of the position held or sought. Employers may, but are not required to, record the results of their individualized assessments in writing.

If the individualized assessment leads to a preliminary decision that the conviction history is disqualifying, the employer must then follow a specific procedure, sometimes referred to as a “fair chance” process, as follows:

  • First, the employer must provide written notice to the applicant. The written notice must identify the conviction on which the preliminary decision is based, include a copy of the conviction history report, if any, and explain the applicant’s right to respond to the notice within at least five business days. The notice must also explain the applicant’s right to submit evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction record, or evidence of rehabilitation, mitigating circumstances, or both. Employers are prohibited from making any final determinations based on conviction history during the minimum five day business period.
  • Second, if the applicant timely notifies the employer in writing that the applicant is disputing the conviction history and is taking steps to obtain evidence to do so, the employer must provide the applicant an additional five business days to respond. Any additional evidence the applicant provides in response must be taken into consideration by the employer before a final decision is made.
  • Finally, if after receiving the response from the applicant the employer makes a final decision to deny employment based on conviction history, the employer must again notify the applicant in writing. This final notification must include: the final denial; information relating to any existing procedure to challenge the decision or request reconsideration; and the right to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The employer has the option to include an explanation for making the final denial.

Getting Ready. Covered employers should revise their paper and online employment applications to remove “boxes” or questions which seek criminal conviction information from applicants. They also should review interview guidelines and hiring processes to ensure compliance with the law, and train managers, hiring, and recruiting personnel that they may not seek or rely on conviction history before a conditional offer of employment is made. Employers should adopt procedures to comply with the individualized assessment and “fair chance” process requirements. Finally, employers should review and revise, as necessary, “adverse action” notifications to comply with federal and California fair credit reporting law requirements, as well as local ban-the-box or fair chance ordinance requirements such as in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

New Parental Leave Act

The New Parent Leave Act, S.B. 63, amends the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) to allow employees who work for an employer with at least 20 employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new child bonding purposes so long as the employee works at a worksite that employs at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius. The new law is a significant expansion of the CFRA, which currently only applies to employers with 50 or more employees. It will provide parental leave rights to an estimated 2.7 million California workers who previously were not eligible for leave because of the size of their worksite. The law applies to private and public employers.

Similar to CFRA’s current requirements, it will be unlawful for a covered employer to refuse to allow an eligible employee to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. Eligible employees must have 12 months of service plus at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the 12-month period preceding the leave. Note that the law only expands CFRA’s bonding leave provision — it does not require employers with fewer than 50 employees to offer CFRA leave for other reasons such as for the employee’s or a family member’s serious health condition.

Before the start of a parental leave, the employer must provide the employee with a guarantee of reinstatement to the same or comparable position following the leave; failure to provide this guarantee will violate the law. Also, if both parents work for the same employer and are otherwise eligible for leave, the employer can require them to share the 12-week allotment between them.

Leave is unpaid, although employees may use accrued vacation, paid sick time, other accrued paid time off, or other paid or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer, and can apply for California Paid Family Leave benefits. Employers must maintain and pay for group health coverage during a parental leave at the level and under the conditions that coverage would have been provided had the employee continued working. The employer can recover coverage costs if the employee fails to return from leave after the leave entitlement period has expired and the failure to return is for a reason other than the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.

The new law does not affect an employee’s right under California law to take up to four months of leave for pregnancy-related disability, in addition to the 12 weeks of parental leave. Also, the new law does not apply to employees who are already subject to the FMLA and CFRA.

Getting Ready.  For employers with at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius of the worksite, promptly update employee handbooks and personnel policies, and create/update leave request forms and notices with respect to the new leave rights, reinstatement guarantee, and other requirements. Also, provide training to human resource employees and managers about the new leave rights and obligations.

Retaliation

S.B. 306 greatly expands certain employee retaliation and whistleblower claims. The law allows the Labor Commissioner to initiate an investigation of employers, with or without a complaint being filed, when it suspects the employer discharged or otherwise discriminated against an individual in violation of any law under the Labor Commissioner’s jurisdiction. In contrast, existing law authorizes such investigations only when an employee files a complaint.

Under the new law, complaints can be initiated by the Labor Commissioner when suspected retaliation occurs during the course of adjudicating a wage claim, during a field inspection, or in instances of suspected unlawful immigration-related threats. Moreover, the Labor Commissioner will now have authority to petition a court for relief, including injunctive relief, during the course of an investigation and prior to completing its investigation or concluding that retaliation has in fact occurred. This change means that employers could be forced to reinstate employees pending the months or years it takes to litigate a claim of unlawful retaliation.

Even more significantly, the law greatly diminishes the burden of proof for injunctive relief in retaliation or whistleblower cases under the Labor Commissioner’s jurisdiction, allowing an employee or the Labor Commissioner to obtain a preliminary injunction against an employer (most likely, restoring the employee to his or her position following termination or other disciplinary action) upon a mere showing of “reasonable cause” that a violation of the law occurred, and instructing courts to consider the “chilling effect on other employees asserting their rights under those laws” in determining if temporary injunctive relief or a permanent injunction is proper. The existing standard of proof for injunctive relief requires a showing of irreparable harm if the relief is not granted, likelihood of success on the merits of the claim, and that the foregoing interests outweigh the harm the defendant will suffer from granting injunctive relief.

S.B. 306 does provide that any temporary relief does not restrain an employer from disciplining or terminating an employee for conduct unrelated to the retaliation claim. However, as many employers know from experience, employees with performance issues who know that they are about to be terminated or disciplined will often attempt to file retaliation claims internally or with state and federal agencies in order to protect themselves from adverse action. Thus, it isn’t often that a discipline or termination claim will be deemed “unrelated” to a claim of retaliation.

The law also establishes a new citation process pursuant to Section 98.74 of the Labor Code for enforcement of whistleblower or retaliation claims. While current law requires the Labor Commissioner to bring a civil action for enforcement, S.B. 306 authorizes the Labor Commissioner to issue a citation directing the employer to cease the alleged violation and take actions necessary to remedy the violation, such as ordering reinstatement or back pay, thus placing the burden on the employer to challenge the citation through an administrative and court appeal. The law also requires any employer challenging the citation to post a bond with the Labor Commissioner’s office equal to the amount of back pay allegedly owed.

Getting Ready.  The new law necessitates that employers carefully analyze and make well-reasoned disciplinary decisions and that they document thoroughly the reason(s) for those decisions. Employers should familiarize themselves with the provisions of the new law and be aware that litigating retaliation and whistleblower claims under the Labor Commissioner’s jurisdiction, and opposing petitions for injunctive relief related to these claims, will be more difficult once the new law takes effect. Employers will also face a heavy burden when challenging citations under the new law.

Anti-Harassment Training

Employers in California with 50 or more employees currently are required to provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors every two years.  Now, S.B. 396 will require that anti-harassment training also include a component on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  This training must include “practical examples inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation,” and must be “presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise” in these areas.

The new law also requires employers with five or more employees to post a new workplace notice, to be developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, regarding transgender rights.

Another new law, S.B. 295, requires that farm labor contractors comply with existing requirements to conduct sexual harassment training for certain employees by providing the training in the language understood by the employee.

Getting Ready. Employers should be certain to update their A.B. 1825 training to include information regarding gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Also, look for the new poster and ensure it’s up in your workplace by the first of the year.

Human Trafficking Notice

Existing California law requires certain types of businesses to post a notice regarding human trafficking and assistance hotlines. A.B. 260 will extend the posting requirement to hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns, and S.B. 225 will require new language in the notice to state that person can text a specified number for services and support.

Getting Ready. Employers covered by this posting requirement should ensure the notice is in place and that it is updated to incorporate the new language.

Construction Contractor Liability

Under A.B. 1701, general contractors will be responsible for any payments owed to a wage claimant (or third party on a wage claimant’s behalf) by their subcontractors if the claimant’s work is a subject of the contractors’ relationship. Liability extends to unpaid wages, fringe or other benefit payments and contributions, and interest owed, but it does not include penalties or liquidated damages. The new law also requires subcontractors to provide payroll records to general contractors upon request. Finally, general contractors may establish remedies by contract for liabilities incurred on behalf of subcontractors. This law applies to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018.

Getting Ready. General contractors should review all agreements with subcontractors to ensure appropriate indemnification provisions are included. They should discuss with subcontractors their practices regarding wages and benefits. Also, general contractors should take full advantage of the new payroll review provision and request to review subcontractors’ records where wage compliance may be an issue.

Compliance Wrap-Up

With this new slate of workplace laws going into effect in January, employers have a lot to do to get ready, including reviewing and updating employee handbooks to ensure full compliance.

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Ready For The 2018 New Employment Laws for CA Employers?

27 Nov
Not to worry, here is a summary …

For 2018, California employers must be watchful of many new laws, and most are very important, including:
  • Changes in minimum wages
  • Changes required for their employment applications as a result of new state laws including questions they can ask job applicants.
  • New ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
  • Required Changes including updating with their Employee Handbooks on topics about:
    • Dealing with equal employment policies
    • Their training for sexual harassment
    • Small employers with 20-49 employees – should prepare how to deal with “Baby Bonding” leave for employees with new children.
Below is a summary of some of the significant other topics employers MUST comply to next year.

Minimum Wage:

  • Large businesses with 26 or more employees began complying January 1, 2017. The current minimum wage for large businesses is $10.50 per hour; the rate will increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2018. Large businesses will reach the $15 per hour minimum wage in 2022.
  • Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees had a one-year delay and will see their first minimum wage increase on January 1, 2018; the minimum wage will increase from $10.00 per hour to $10.50 per hour. Do not forget that many cities and some counties have local minimum wage ordinances as well – most of these call for increases on July 1, 2018.
When Hiring:

Salary History do not ask an applicant for employment their salary history, either on an application form or in an interview or otherwise; upon request you must provide the pay scale to an applicant for the position they are applying for.

When Hiring – Criminal History:
If an employer has five or more employees, it is unlawful to inquire about criminal or conviction history of an applicant until after a conditional offer of employment to the applicant; If you obtain or review information (which can only relate to conviction history, not juvenile criminal history or actions related to marijuana offenses more than two years old) and intend to deny an applicant employment based even in part on such conviction history, you must document that you have made an individual assessment whether the conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job justifying denying the applicant the position. Consideration must include:
  • Nature and gravity of the offense
  • Elapsed time that has passed since occurrence
  • Nature of the job; If you have made a preliminary decision not to employ an applicant based on conviction history, the applicant must be notified of the decision in writing, given a copy of the history report, notice of a right to respond, and have five days to respond. If told by the applicant that he/she disputes the accuracy of the report, the applicant has five additional days to respond to the notice. Any final decision by the employer must be in writing.
Handling of Immigration I-9 Forms:

Do not allow any government entity, and specifically DO NOT ALLOW the Customs & Immigration Service, or U.S. Homeland Security to obtain or review your records UNLESS provided a Notice of Inspection. If you receive a Notice of Inspection for I-9 forms, you must post a notice for employees immediately informing them that the process will occur. If the I-9 review raises questions about any particular employee’s status, that employee must be informed and allowed to participate to clarify their status. Also, employers can only “reauthorize” a I-9 form as required by the process.

Employment Policies:
Reproductive Health Rights: Employees have the right to and freedom to make personal decisions regarding reproductive health including the timing of use of birth control drugs and devices, or medical services. These rights are now protected by the Equal Employment provisions of California law and employers may not discriminate on the basis of employee decisions. Employee handbooks must also contain a notice of employee rights and remedies regarding this matter.
New Parent Leave Act:

Employers who have from 20-49 employees as of January 1, 2018 are required to allow qualified employees to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks to bond with a new child within one year of a child’s birth, adoption or placement for foster care. There are qualifications defining that the employee must have completed 1,250 hours of work for the company within the past year, and work at a location where there are at least 20 employees within 75 miles of the worksite. NOTE: This leave is in addition to pregnancy leave, which can be for up to four months, and employees are entitled to continuation of health benefits during this leave.

Harassment Training Re: Gender Identity, Expression & Sexual Orientation:  Training which is required regarding prevention of sexual harassment and bullying behavior now must include training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, in the training all employers with 50 or more employees must provide supervisors and managers for two hours every two years.

For a more detailed review – Click Here.

What are the chances you are in compliance with California employment and safety law?

7 Sep

There are over 44 Federal and California laws which apply to employers in our state. What are the chances you are in violation of one or more of these laws? What are the potential costs of such exposure?
We have some idea from the recent report of the Labor Enforcement Task Force, under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations, which is a coalition of California State government enforcement agencies that work together and in partnership with local agencies to combat the underground economy. In this joint effort, information and resources are shared to ensure employees are paid properly and have safe work conditions and honest, law-abiding businesses have the opportunity for healthy competition.
ETF focuses on high-risk industries known to frequently abuse the rights of low wage workers such as:
• car wash,
• restaurant,
• manufacturing,
• roofing,
• construction,
• agricultural and
• auto repair businesses.

Members of LETF include:
• Division of Occupational Safety & Health (Cal/OSHA)
• Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)
• Employment Development Department (EDD)
• Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB)
• California Department of Insurance (CDI)
• Board of Equalization (BOE)
• State Attorney General (DOJ)
These groups as a task force last year inspected over 3,000 firms, and found violations of Cal/OSHA, improper classification of independent contractors who really were employees, wage and hour violations, improper rest and meal periods, etc.
Over 40 percent of businesses inspected are found to be out of compliance with all inspecting agencies. . Cal/OSHA inspected 2,495 firms and found 89% out of compliance, levying fines of $4.3 million. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement inspected 2,858 firms and found 57% out of compliance and issued fines of $22.3 million. Employment Development Department inspected 3,019 firms and found 68% out of compliance and issued fines and tax penalties of $25.6 million. The average fine or penalty was $17, 000 per firm.
So, what are your chances of being out of compliance? Probably pretty good. You can improve your chances by working with a good human resources and safety consulting firm such as Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. Check out our website at http://www.CalWorkSafety.com.

You Need to Review Exempt and Salaried Employee Status

7 Aug

A client this past week asked me to review the status of a salaried employee for compliance with the exempt or non-exempt rules of California and Federal law. As it turns out, this key employee is primarily a “doer” meaning a person who handles very important actions every day for the company, but has limited responsibilities which involve independent decision making and the exercise of discretion. Not only that, but in earning about $34,000, the person is on the borderline of earning enough to qualify as an exempt employee by the level of their income.
Certainly – by the first of 2016 – this person would earn too little to qualify as exempt from overtime under the new rules being planned by the US Department of Labor under changes announced to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. You may have read in the news that the income level under these planned FLSA changes will go to over $50,000 per year.
Salaried or not, exempt from over-time or not, these are big issues for employers in California and involve a lot of lawsuits and lots of money and potential damage claims. Now is the time for every employer to look at every single salaried employee and ask an employment attorney or wage and hour specialist – am I ok? Do it long before January 1, 2016 while you still have time to make changes and correct any problems.
Let us know at Don Dressler Consulting if you need assistance. Our team of HR consultants are here to help. Email us at dondressler1@hotmail.com

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Issues Guidance on SB 60 Drivers Licenses

4 Jun

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on May 19, 2015 posted on its website guidance for employers of employees who present a driver’s license issued by a state to persons who cannot submit satisfactory proof of legal presence in the United States. In sum, the guidance states that such a license:
• Must be accepted in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process as a List B document establishing identity if it otherwise meets the requirements of a List B document (i.e., it contains a photo of or information identifying the individual presenting it) and the employer determines it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to that individual.
• Does not, in and of itself, support a conclusion that the employer had actual or constructive knowledge (i.e., knew or should have known) that the employee presenting it is not employment authorized (if that is in fact the case).
In addition, the guidance notes that:
• An employer accepting such a license as a List B identity document in the Form I-9 process must (as for all types of List B documents) also examine a List C document establishing the individual’s employment authorization.
• Under a regulation of the Department of Homeland Security, which houses USCIS, whether an employer is considered to have actual or constructive knowledge that an employee lacks employment authorization is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends upon all of the facts and variables specific to the individual case.
The last point above is made in the context of the federal ban against employing or continuing to employ an employee with knowledge that the employee is not eligible to be employed in the U.S. The DHS regulation noted above states that a “knowing hire” violation can be based on either actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of unlawful status. Constructive knowledge is knowledge that may be fairly inferred through notice of certain facts and circumstances that would lead a person, through the exercise of reasonable care, to know about a certain condition.
The omission from the guidance of any statement that an employer must do anything other than accept such a license as a List B identity document in the Form I-9 process indicates the federal government does not expect an employer to inquire into why an employee claiming employment eligibility has such a license—at least where the employer has no other reason to doubt the employee’s claim.

California Laws Important This Summer of 2015

10 May

California continues to lead the way in expanding the rights of employees and obligations of employers in the workplace in many areas. This should come as no surprise to employers and HR since the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) extends protections to almost 20 protected classes and California provides employees with more than one dozen types of leave.
Here are areas that California employers everywhere should take note of as summer 2015 approaches:
1. Paid Sick Leave
Cities around the nation have been active in enacting paid sick leave measures but so far, only three states, including California, have passed paid sick leave laws. Under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, covered California employers must provide paid sick leave to any employee working in California for 30 days at an accrual rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
The law takes effect on July 1, 2015, and it is critical that all California employers be aware of its stringent recordkeeping, notice and posting requirements and update their employee handbooks and paid time off policies accordingly.
2. Abusive Conduct
Awareness of workplace bullying is on the rise, yet no state has enacted a law specifically addressing abusive conduct in the workplace. However, under a new California law that took effect on January 1, 2015, covered California employers required to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors are now also required to include specific harassment training on abusive conduct.
Abusive conduct is conduct that “a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” It may include “repeated infliction of verbal abuse… verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.” The law does not create a private cause of action for abusive conduct, but it does require employers to revisit and revise their sexual harassment training to add an abusive conduct component. Don Dressler Consulting provides this training at your location for your supervisors and managers, as well as all employees, if requested.
3. Heat Illness
If you have any employees working out of doors, including truck or other vehicle drivers operating non-air-conditioned vehicles, the company must have a written heat illness prevention plan detailing how it provides training about heat illness, access to plentiful cool drinking water, cooling off periods for employees showing signs of heat illness, and emergency plans when illness occurs. Heat conditions can be a problem at any temperature, but specific rules apply at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and more stringent high heat rules apply at 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Increased Protections for Immigrant Workers
With the US population becoming more diverse and immigrants entering the workforce at rapid rates, California has passed several measures in 2015 specifically providing increased protections for immigrants and foreign workers, including new laws:
• Prohibiting employers from reporting, or threatening to report, a worker’s (or the worker’s family member’s) immigration status or suspected immigration status to a government official because the worker exercised a right under the California Labor Code;
• Expanding the definition of an unfair immigration-related practice to include threatening to file or filing a false report or complaint with any state or federal agency;
• Prohibiting employers from discriminating, retaliating or taking adverse action against employees based on a lawful change of name, social security number, or federal employment authorization document;
• Making it a violation of FEHA for an employer to require an individual to present a driver’s license, unless a driver’s license is required by law; and
• Amending FEHA to specify that “national origin” discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of possessing a driver’s license issued by the state to undocumented persons who can submit satisfactory proof of identity and California residency.
To keep up to date with California law and to ensure you are in compliance, ask to be added to our The Bottom Line e-newsletter, produced by Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com.
You can sign up by sending us an email or going to our website at http://www.dondressler.com

Which Employment Laws Apply to You – in 2015?

28 Dec

Use the following chart as a guide to determine which labor laws apply to you based on the number of employees you have.

Law/ Requirement All Employers: 1 or more employees

Child Labor ✓
Disability Insurance ✓
Domestic Violence/Assault Victim Leave ✓
Employee Safety (Cal/OSHA-including written safety plan)✓
Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) ✓
Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA-requires I 9 forms) ✓
Independent Contractors ✓
Jury Duty leave ✓
Military Service/USERRA ✓
New Employee Reporting ✓
Paid Family Leave ✓
Paid Sick Leave (effective July 1, 2015) ✓
Posters and Notices (including written notice at time of hire to hourly employees, notices or fliers on workers’ compensation, sexual harassment, disability insurance, paid family leave to all new employees, notices to employees when starting leave of absence and at termination.)✓
Privacy ✓
Sexual Harassment ✓
Smoking in the Workplace ✓
Unemployment Insurance ✓
Unpaid time off to vote ✓
Wages and Hours ✓ (note: there are many details involved just in wage and hour requirements including payment, overtime and recordkeeping.)
Workers’ Compensation ✓

Additional laws if you have 2 or more employees:
Cal-COBRA (health insurance continuation) ✓
Eligible for small group health insurance coverage ✓

Additional laws if you have 4 or more employees:
Discrimination and Foreign Workers ✓

Additional laws if you have 5 or more employees:
Discrimination Laws (State-FEHA) ✓
Pregnancy Disability Laws ✓

Additional laws if you have 15 or more employees:
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ✓
Discrimination Laws (Federal-EEOC) ✓
Organ and Bone Marrow Donors’ Leave ✓

Additional laws if you have 16 or more employees:
Civil Air Patrol Leave ✓

Additional laws if you have 20 or more employees:
COBRA (health insurance continuation Federal) ✓

Additional laws if you have 25 or more employees:
Alcohol/Drug Rehabilitation opportunities allowed✓
Domestic Violence Leave✓
Illiteracy Accommodations ✓
Military Spouse Leave ✓
School Activities Leave✓

Additional laws if you have 50 or more employees:
Affirmative Action (government contractors) ✓
Affordable Care Act (national health insurance reform) ✓
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA & CFRA) ✓
Mandatory 2-Hour Supervisor/Manager Sexual Harassment Training -CA (every 2 years) ✓
Volunteer Firefighters- leave for training ✓

Additional laws if you have 75 or more employees:
WARN Act (plant closings-mass layoffs, notices required) ✓

Additional laws if you have 100 or more employees:
Equal Employment Opportunity Reporting (EEO-1)✓

For more information on these various laws and how they apply to your business, or to discuss a safety and employment law audit, contact: Don Dressler Consulting, 2030 Main Street, Ste. 1300, Irvine, CA. 92614. Ph: 949-533-3742. E-mail: DonDressler1@hotmail.com

Website: http://www.Don Dressler.com and http://www.CalWorkSafety.com