Labor laws are constantly changing, and it is important that California employers keep up with those changes so that they do not unknowingly violate any of them. The Pleasanton business attorneys at Garcia & Gurney, ALC ensure that our clients are in compliance with new and old California labor laws, both for their own protection and the protection of their employees. With the New Year quickly approaching, we want to let you know what to expect in terms of changes to California’s labor code in 2017 so that, if necessary, you can revise your policies and contracts to avoid any compliance issues.

Five New Laws to Anticipate in 2017

Governor Jerry Brown approved the following laws to go into effect this coming year:

  1. AB 1843: Juvenile Criminal History

The first new law approved by the governor prohibits a California employer from considering a person’s juvenile criminal record during the hiring process. Under the law, which goes into effect on January 1, employers are not allowed to ask an applicant to disclose any information regarding any court proceedings that occurred when the person was a juvenile, and that are on the applicant’s juvenile record.

What This Means for Employers: Many California employers will have to revise their applications and interview questions so that they do not include any questions about a juvenile record. Furthermore, all employers should scan their hiring documents and company policies to make sure there is nothing in them about discrimination based on a past juvenile record.

  1. AB 1676: Wage Discrimination: 

State and federal wage discrimination laws already prohibit wage discrimination based off of a person’s class status; the new law has been re-written to include wage discrimination based off of prior salary. An individual’s previous salary cannot justify any disparities in compensation between a newly hired individual and a person of the same skill level, and with the same responsibilities, within the same company.

What This Means for Employers: Employers can still collect information regarding an applicant’s previous salary, but they cannot use that information to set or justify a candidate’s lower-than-company-standard salary.

  1. AB 1676, Section 1197.5: Wage Differential, Expansion of Fair Pay Act:

Currently, California’s Fair Pay Act only includes literature that prohibits wage discrimination based on a person’s gender; the expansion of the bill prohibits a difference in pay based on an employee’s race or ethnicity for considerably comparable work of that of another employee.

What This Means for Employers: This simply means that employers must extend their policies to include a provision similar to that of the one they have in place for compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  1. SB 1001: Immigration Documents:

Under SB 1001, California employers will be disallowed from doing any of the following:

  • Requesting additional or differing documents than what Federal Law requires;
  • Refusing to honor documents that appear to be reasonably genuine upon presentation; and
  • Attempting to reverify or investigate further into an employee’s permission to work in the U.S.;

What This Means for Employers: Any employer who violates any of the provisions set forth in this law will be subject to a discrimination claim be forced to pay the victim up to $10,000 in damages.

  1. AB 2337: Notice of Domestic Violence Protection:

As of July 1, 2017, all California employers must provide their employees with written notice regarding their rights under the domestic violence protections under California law.

What This Means for Employers: While an employer may develop their own notice to distribute to employees before the July 1 deadline, the Labor Commissioner will develop and distribute a notice which employers can use. Whether they develop their own notice or wait for the Labor Commissioner’s notice, all notices must be distributed to employees by July 1.

Consult a Pleasanton Business Lawyer

At Garcia & Gurney, ALC, our employment attorneys can help you remain in compliance with California’s new and changing labor laws. If you have yet to revise your company policies and documents, or if you are unsure of which laws apply to you, contact our Pleasanton employment law firm today at 925-468-0400 or online.