New Legislation Affecting California Employers

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Gavel and Scales

Governor Brown has passed new 2013 legislation to affect California's employers' daily operations and policies. The most highly-affected areas are anti-discrimination protections, employee access to records and employer access to employees' personal accounts.

Anti-Discrimination Updates

When it comes to religion and reasonable accommodation, Assembly Bill 1964 clarifies that the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)'s discrimination protections and reasonable accommodation requirements cover religious dress and grooming practices. Furthermore, segregating an individual from other employees or from the public is not considered to be reasonable accommodation.

Another discrimination-related bill that is gaining attention is AB 2386, which changes the definition of “sex” under FEHA for purposes of protecting breastfeeding and related medical conditions from discrimination and harassment.

Access to Employees Social Media Accounts

A controversial topic around the country right now is whether or not employers and prospective employers should have the right to ask employees and candidates for their usernames and passwords to social media accounts. While it has become common practice for employers to “spy” on potential employees online, actually asking for their sign-in information is a new phenomenon. AB 1844 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting employees or job applicants to provide usernames or passwords for personal social media accounts. Limited exceptions to the law involve issues relating to employer investigations

Rules Around Personnel Files

AB 2674 amends the Labor Code relating to inspection and retention of personnel records. The law changes who has the right to inspect personnel files, deadlines for access to files, where and how the records may be available, an employer's obligation to retain files and penalties for failure to comply.

The following is a list of other amendments to California employer legislation:

  • Itemized wage statements/Temporary service employees
  • Penalties for wage statement violations
  • Commission agreements
  • Fixed salaries and overtime
  • Wage garnishment
  • Human trafficking posting
  • Workers compensation reform
  • Accessibility reform
  • FEHC eliminated, duties transferred to the DFEH
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Unemployment insurance: overpayment and penalties
  • Prevailing wage
  • Farm labor contractors
  • Warehouse workers

If you have any legal questions regarding this new legislation in California, contact an expert California employment attorney for more information.

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