Welcome to Part 2 of our October review of the end-of-year employment measures signed by the Governor. In the prior article we discussed new leave requirements and health and safety rules that will likely require updates to company handbooks. This installment covers topics including anti-discrimination efforts and privacy rights. Again, unless otherwise noted, these laws come into effect on January 1, 2023.
It’s been a good couple of months for cannabis users. As of January 1st, 2024, California will prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s (or prospective employee’s) use of marijuana in their personal time. AB 2188, does however, permit important safeguards such as pre-hiring drug tests that exclude cannabis and workplace rules against possession or use of cannabis on the job.
If you use drug testing in your business, unless the testing is mandated by federal or state law you will need to modify your drug testing to exclude cannabis.
As part of a broader push to brand California as a pro-choice state, the Legislature also passed SB 523, which prohibits discriminating against employees for using birth control or seeking an abortion. This may require a slight modification of company EEO policies.
SB 1162 seeks to combat pay discrimination by requiring employers to provide a pay scale for a worker’s position upon request, and (if they have over 15 employees) including a pay scale in any job postings (whether posted by the employer or a third party on their behalf). Additionally, employers must keep records of each staff member’s job title and pay history and maintain them for three years after their employment ends. I actually recommend keeping the information for at least four years after the employment ends. Non-compliant employers will face potential fines and face a rebuttable presumption against them in lawsuits.
Employers with over 100 employees will now have to report pay data along racial and gender categories by the second Wednesday in May every year.
At the last election, Californians voted to adopt Prop 24, also known as the California Privacy Rights Act. Among many changes, the new law imposes new disclosure requirements on employers. Covered businesses will have to notify employees and job applicants about personal information they are collecting. Additionally, employees have new rights to view, correct, and/or delete their personal information on file with their employer. The new rules are complex, and as always, employers should seek legal advice about new obligations they might face.
SB 1126 requires essentially all businesses, with the exception of self-employed people, to provide a payroll deposit retirement savings program to their employees by December 31, 2025. This will ensure all employees have access to the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program.
The legislature passed two hotly contested laws impacting specific industries. First, AB 257 seeks to create an appointed Fast Food Council at the Department of Industrial Relations that will be empowered to set minimum wage and other working condition regulations in the fast food industry. Heavy hitters in the industry are fiercely opposed and are seeking to place a referendum on this law on the 2024 ballot.
Next, AB 2183 implements “card check” in agricultural labor union petitions – circumventing a formal election when unions demonstrate majority support. This provision was initially opposed by the governor and business interests, and it was signed after intense pressure from unions and President Biden.
Finally, AB 1601 imposes requirements on call center companies attempting to relocate a call center to a foreign country. Call center businesses with over 75 employees must provide 60 days’ notice to their workers before relocation.
Original article by J.T. Kean, edited by Robert Nuddleman
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