Time Off

Top 4 New California Laws and Top 5 Tips for California Employers in 2018

Top 4 New California Laws and Top 5 Tips for California Employers in 2018

This year, the California Legislature introduced a whopping 2,495 bills – and hundreds of these had to do with labor and employment issues.  Governor Brown signed many into law on October 15, 2017. Here are the top 4 new laws for 2018:

“BAN THE BOX” – Criminal Conviction History 

Los Angeles and San Francisco already had local ordinances prohibiting employers for asking about criminal histories before a job is offered to an applicant. This new law (AB 1008) applies similar requirements upon employers statewide.

The law prohibits employers with five (5) or more employees from considering criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.  If an employer decides to deny employment based on the criminal history, it must make an individualized assessment as to the 1) nature and gravity of the offense or conduct, 2) the time that has passed since the offense or conduct and completion of the sentence, and 3) the nature of the job held or sought.

If the employer determines not to hire the applicant, it must provide notice to the employee of 1) the disqualifying conviction that is a basis for the decision, 2) a copy of the conviction history, and 3) an explanation of the applicant’s right to respond before the decision becomes final and the deadline by which to respond (at least five business days).

If employer makes a final decision to deny employment, it must provide another written notice containing 1) the final denial or disqualification, 2) any existing procedure the employer has for the applicant to challenge the decision or request reconsideration, and 3) the right to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).


This new law (AB 168) prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history, including compensation and benefits. Employers also cannot rely on salary history information of an applicant as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer an applicant. Applicants, however, can “voluntarily and without prompting” disclose salary history information, and if so, then the employer can rely or consider such information in determining salary for that applicant.

Also, employers must provide, upon reasonable request, the pay scale for the position.


Currently, employers with 50 or more employees are required to comply with the California Family Rights Act and provide parental leave of up to 12 weeks to bond with a new child (birth, adoption, foster care placement) within one year. This new law (SB 63) lowers the number of employees for covered businesses to 20 employees in a 75-mile radius. The law also prohibits an employer from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan for an employee who takes this leave. The employer must provide the employee with a guarantee of employment in the same or comparable position following the leave.

The employee must also meet certain eligibility requirements like those under the CFRA and federal Family Medical Leave Act. The leave is unpaid, however, the employee can use accrued vacation pay, paid sick time, or other accrued paid time off.


Under the new law (AB 1701), General Contractors on a private construction project can be liable for wage and benefit liabilities incurred by subcontractors at any tier of the project. This would include items like unpaid/underpaid wages, unpaid overtime and related wage violations. General Contractors can request from subcontractors the payroll records.

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Top Tips for Employers:

  1. Get those Employee Handbooks updated, and start training Managers and Supervisors on these new laws.
  2. Edit applications so that they do not contain “taboo” questions regarding salary history and criminal backgrounds.
  3. Edit job postings (“help wanted ads”) so that they do not ask applicants to send in salary history information when applying.
  4. Pre-determine pay scales for jobs, and create a process to respond to reasonable inquiries regarding those pay scales.
  5. Stay informed! There are several other important new employment laws as well, including those involving anti-harassment training, immigration, human trafficking, and retaliation and whistleblowing.

For over 21 years, James has provided day-to-day counseling and advice to employers regarding compliance with employment laws, and reducing risks of employment-related claims and lawsuits. He also provides vigorous and strategic litigation defense when claims and lawsuits do arise.  In 2018, James will serve as the President of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, and has been on the Board for many years.

DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this website is not legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship. Nor should you act on anything stated in this article without conferring with the Author or other legal counsel regarding your specific situation.

Yahoo!, Telecommuting and March Madness in the Workplace

UPDATED: March 11, 2013: For the second consecutive time, my article for Windmill Networking (MaximizeSocialBusiness) has been highlighted in, and chosen as one of the top Blog posts by CommPRO.biz. Please see the March 8, 2013 Daily Headlines and Features by CommPRO.biz Last month, my article titled “Social Media in the Workplace: Hoaxes, Lies and a President’s Unconstitutional Behavior” was chosen as one of the top Blog Posts by, and highlighted in, the February 8, 2013 Daily Headlines and Features by CommPRO.biz

ORIGINAL MESSAGE: March 8, 2013: Yahoo! recently announced the end of telecommuting for its workforce. Yahoo!’s change in policy has spurred many discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting. And, for the majority of employers who permit telecommuting, it is critical that they have clear and comprehensive policies in place to address the many issues of a telecommuting workforce. In my March 2013 post for Windmill Networking (now MaximizeSocialBusiness.com), I examine some of these issues. In addition, I revisit the many issues employers and employees face during the season of March Madness. See my article titled: “Social Media and Employment Law: March Madness (and Yahoo!/Telecommuting) Causes Craziness in the Workplace“.


California Law Regarding Voting Time Off

California Law Regarding Voting Time Off

What does California law mandate as voting time off?

The debates between President Obama and Governor Romney are done, and last minute campaigning is in high gear. Both parties want as many voters as possible on election day – November 6, 2012. I’ve been receiving questions from California employers and employees about employee time off to vote, so I’m happy to provide a summary of the California law (California Elections Code 14000-14003), and a link to the required employer notice.

What do employers need to provide (what are employees entitled to) regarding time off to vote?

In California, the polls on election days are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If an employee is scheduled to be at work during that time, and thus, does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote, then the employee is allowed to take time off to vote. Unless the employer and employee agree, the time off for voting can only be used at the beginning or end of the employee’s regular work shift (whichever provides the most free time for voting and the least time off from work).

Is the time off to vote paid or unpaid?

California employees are entitled to take as much time off as needed to vote. Only up to two hours of that time off, however, must be paid. The employer can, but is not required to, pay for any time off to vote beyond two hours.

What notice to employees must an employer provide?

Every California employer must post an elections notice not less than 10 days before election day (this year, by Saturday, October 27). Here is a copy of the required “Time Off To Vote” notice from the California Secretary of State. It is also a common practice to include this information in an Employee Handbook.

What notice to employers must an employee provide?

If an employee believes time off to vote will be needed, the employee must notify the employer at least two working days before the election.

Note: These requirements are for California employers and employees. If you have employees (or are employed) in a different state, the law may be different.

Image courtesy of Yahoo News