California Law Update

Minimum Wage Increases

Seven municipalities in California have passed minimum wages that are higher than the state rate and will go into effect or increase on July 1, 2017.

For employers with 56 or more employees: increase from $14.82 to $15.20 per hour
For employers with 55 or fewer employees: increase from $13.00 to $14.00 per hour

Los Angeles City and unincorporated areas of LA County
For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

San Francisco
Increase from $13.00 to $14.00 per hour

San Leandro
Increase from $10.00 to $12.00 per hour

Santa Monica
For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

Domestic Violence Victim Leave Notice

The California Department of Industrial Relations recently released a new notice regarding California’s Domestic Violence Leave Law. Employers with 25 or more employees must provide this notice to all new hires (as part of a new hire packet is acceptable) and to any employee upon request.

The notice is available for download on the Payroll Masters HR Support Center by searching California Domestic Violence Notice.

Expanded Protections for Transgender Employees

Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California already protects transgender employees from employment discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. New regulations going into effect July 1 extend those protections by requiring that employers take affirmative steps to acknowledge and respect an employee’s gender identity. Here are the key provisions of the new regulations:

  1. Names and Pronouns: Employers must use an employee’s preferred name and pronoun and may only use a different name indicated on government-issued identification (e.g., birth certificate or passport) if required to do so by law.
  2. Gender/Sex Inquiries: Employers may not require or request proof of an individual’s sex or gender, gender identity, or gender expression.
  3. Transitioning: The new regulations make it clear that FEHA protections extend to people in transition, perceived to be transitioning, or post-transition. The process of transitioning may include changes in name and pronoun usage, facility usage, participation in employer-sponsored activities (e.g., sports teams), or undergoing hormone therapy, surgeries, or other medical procedures.
  4. Grooming and Dress: Employers may not enforce dress codes or grooming standards or requirements that conflict with an employee’s gender identity.
  5. Facilities: Employees must be allowed to use the restroom, locker room, or other gendered facility that corresponds with their own gender identity.

There are no required notices, but employers should ensure that all levels of management are familiar with the new regulations and take appropriate steps to comply.

Further Restrictions on Use of Criminal Histories

The Fair Employment and Housing Council released new rules related to the use of criminal histories in employment decisions, which take effect July 1.

The new rules are in line with the guidance that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has provided since 2012, and require that employers consider whether their use of criminal histories will have an adverse impact on any protected class. If an applicant or employee claims that the policy or practice of using criminal histories has an adverse impact on a protected class, the employer will have to show that the policy was job-related and consistent with business necessity. This is a test we have long advised employers to use as a best practice (particularly those in California).

Under the new regulations, even if an employer can show job-relatedness and business necessity, it must also prove that there was no less discriminatory policy or practice that could have been used to achieve the same result. Employer policies should also specifically allow for individual assessment, which should consider the nature of the offense, how long ago it took place, and how it relates to the position, if at all.

The new rules also include a notice requirement. Applicants or employees must be notified if an adverse action will be taken because of their criminal history and given an opportunity to address any factual inaccuracies. If a record is shown to be inaccurate, it must not be considered.

As a reminder, the following criminal records should not be considered in California:

  • Arrests that did not result in conviction (unless trial is pending)
  • Detentions that did not result in conviction
  • Sealed records
  • Convictions that have been judicially dismissed, including through expungement
  • Misdemeanor marijuana convictions more than two years old
  • Participation in pre-trial or post-trial diversions programs
  • Proceedings in juvenile court

Additional information can be found on the HR Support Center under Arrest & Conviction records.

Source: HR Support Center  |  2017 © Copyright Payroll Masters

Payroll Masters is not a licensed insurance broker or agent and does not provide professional or legal advice. This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please contact your employment attorney in connection with any fact-specific situation in which you intend to take significant employment action. Readers agree that they will hold Payroll Masters in indemnity and Payroll Masters assumes no liability. Payroll Masters is not engaged in rendering legal or accounting services. Therefore, Payroll Masters assumes no responsibility for claims arising from the use or implementation of the above information.