Mandatory Update Required:
New California Employment Laws taking Effect January 1, 2018 

*** Updated as of December 1, 2017  ***

Need information about California’s new employment laws for 2018? In less than 30 days, California will be enacting a series of new employment laws requiring mandatory updates for all businesses in California or with California employees.  Check out our guide below for all the details.

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Summary of New Requirements

As part of your year-end updates, you will need to update your business’s application process for new hires.  There have been several important changes:

1) No Salary History

California is banning employers from asking about salary history. Assembly Bill 168 will prohibit all employers from relying on “salary history information” to determine whether to offer the employee employment and at what salary.  Further, an employer can’t soclicit this information verbally, in writing, or through a third party (like a recruiter, etc.)  This law does not apply to public employees who salary can be found online.

  • Disclosure of Pay-Scale Information.  Among the other changes, if a prospective employee asks for the pay scale for a position, your business must now disclose it.
  • Severe Limits to Asking About Criminal History Information. There are now severe restrictions about what you can ask job candidates to disclose about their criminal background, and what steps you must take if you are asking for this information.

2) Immigration Enforcement

California is putting strict measures in place concerning immigration enforcement, in response to the federal administration’s increase of deportations.  According to the new law (A.B.450), no employer may voluntarily consent to have federal immigration officers (like ICE/BCIS) entering the workplace, unless if the agent an produce a warrant.  Further, the business is prohibited from allowing federal immigration officers to ask for employee records, review them, or obtain them, without a warrant.

Responding to Immigration Inspection Notices. California is also enacting new requirement for businesses who receive notices from federal immigration agencies asking to inspect I-9 forms (these are the forms that new hires must complete).  Specifically:

  • If an employer receives an immigration inspection notice, they must provide prompt notice to employees by posting a workplace notice, and also provide notice to any collective bargaining/union representatives.
  • If your business receives 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.


3) Mandatory Management Training and Posting on Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation Harassment.

California’ Fair Employment and Housing Act currently requires employers with fifty (50) or more employees to provide at least two (2) hours of training on sexual harassment to supervisors every two years.  As of January 1, 2018, this training must also include training on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation harassment.

4) New Parent Leave Act

New California law requires employers with 20 or more employees to:  (1) provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave to employees if the employee has more than 12 months of service, at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period, and works at a worksite in which the employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles; (2) maintain group health plan coverage for such an employee during the parental leave (the employer may recover costs if the employee fails to return from leave and the failure is for a reason other than continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the control of the employee); (3) on or before commencement of the leave, provide the employee with a guarantee of employment in the same or a comparable position upon the termination of the leave; and (4) allow the employee to use accrued vacation, paid sick time or other accrued paid time off, or other paid or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer, during the leave.

5) Contractor/Subcontractor Downstream Liability for Wage/Hour Violations

Assembly Bill 1701 will now hold general contractors directly liable for wage/hour violations committed by subcontractors.  The law will apply to all construction contracts and contractor/subcontractor agreements after January 1, 2018.

6) Minimum Wage Increases

California’s state-wide minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour for employees with 25 or less employees, and up to $11.00 per hour for 26+ or more employees.  There are also local wage ordinances that will require higher than what state law requires, depending on where your business is located.

6) Changes to Criminal Information Solicited During Job / Candidate Interview Process

Major changes have been made to the types of questions that candidates can be asked during the job interview process that relates to their criminal background and history. We have prepared a longer article that walks through these changes, accessible here. 

7) Ensure Employee Handbooks are Up to Date

Over the course of 2017, the California legislature made changes to California’s FEHA (employment) laws.

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