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New Employment Laws for 2018

By Victoria Plettner-Saunders

2018 ushered in a imagescar load of new employment laws

Since The Cafe is located in California, I’ll share some of the new rules here. If you’re not in California, a quick Google search will help you find the changes in your state. A review of federal employment laws for 2018 turned up little if any. Most of labor law happens at the state level. So whether you’re an employee who wants to know your rights or an employer who wants to uphold them, you’ll be interested in reading on…

Minimum Wage Increase

This is a big one that is always a hit. On January 1, 2018, the state minimum wage increased to $10.50 per hour in California for employers with 25 or fewer employees and to $11 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. Several other states including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, New York, New Jersey and Florida have also increased their minimum wage.

That Salary History Question is History

Several states including Massachusetts and now California have created rules to help job candidates avoid discrimination based on their salary history. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. AB 168 bans employers from asking about a job applicant’s prior salary, compensation or benefits (either directly or through an agent, such as a third-party recruiter). In addition, employers cannot rely on salary history information as a factor in determining whether to hire the applicant or how much to pay the applicant. However, an employer may consider salary information that is voluntarily disclosed by the applicant without any prompting. So mum’s the word.

Take Note: AB 168 further requires an employer to provide a job applicant, upon reasonable request, with the pay scale for the position

Worksite Immigration Enforcement and Protections

The Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) provides workers with protection from immigration enforcement while on the job and imposes varying fines from $2,000 to $10,000 for violating its provisions.

There is also a Chevy Suburban-ful of Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Protections:

Employee protections focused on equality and gender identity/gender expression protections are good news for our diverse workforce.

Harassment Prevention Training: Gender Identity/Gender Expression, Sexual Orientation

California employers with 50 or more employees must provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training every two years. Under SB 396, covered employers will have to make sure that any mandatory training course they use also discusses harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. This bill also requires employers to display a poster on transgender rights that the Department of Fair Employment and Housing will develop.

Gender Identification: Female, Male or Nonbinary

SB 179 will allow California residents to choose from three equally recognized gender options —female, male or nonbinary — on state-issued identification cards, birth certificates and driver’s licenses. For changes to birth certificates, the law is effective on September 1, 2018. For changes to driver’s licenses, the law is effective on January 1, 2019. The bill also makes it easier for individuals to change their gender on legal documents, effective on September 1, 2018.

Employment Discrimination: Gender Neutral Language

AB 1556 revises California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act by deleting gender-specific personal pronouns in California’s anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, pregnancy disability and family/medical leave laws by changing “he” or “she,” for example, to “the person” or “the employee.”

Fair Pay Act Expansion

AB 46 extends California’s Fair Pay Act — which prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of gender, race and ethnicity — to cover public employers; existing law only covers private employers.

Data Collection: Sexual Orientation

AB 677 requires that, beginning no later than July 1, 2019, various state labor agencies collect voluntary, self-identified information pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity in the regular course of collecting other types of demographic data.

I want to acknowledge the California Chamber of Commerce for posting this information on their website! For more information you can read their white paper