I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend. This Friday’s Five is about five common questions I’m receiving from California employers at the close of 2016.
1. Does the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in California with the passage of proposition 64 change employer’s rights to prohibit it in the workplace?
No. Proposition 64 expressly provides that employers may prohibit marijuana in the workplace, and will not be required to accommodate an employee’s use of marijuana. This is also consistent with the California Supreme Court’s holding in Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, Inc. In that case the court examined the conflict between California’s Compassionate Use Act, (which gives a person who uses marijuana for medical purposes on a physician’s recommendation a defense to certain state criminal charges and permission to possess the drug) and Federal law (which prohibits the drug’s possession, even by medical users). The court held that the Compassionate Use Act did not intend to address the rights and obligation of employers and employees, and further noted that the possession and use of marijuana could not be a protected activity because it is still illegal under federal law.
2. Does Trump’s win change any laws facing employers in 2017?
While it is hard to predict the effect President-elect Trump will have on California employers, I previously wrote about potential impacts in immigration and E-verify issues, paid family leave, and the expansion of even more additional local laws.
3. When is the new Form I-9 required to be used by employers?
Employers must begin using the new Form I-9 by January 22, 2017. It is important to note that employees already hired with the older version of the Form I-9 do not have to complete the new version. More information about the revised Form I-9 can be read here.
4. What new laws in California do employers need to understand for 2017?
New laws that will impact many California employers include:
- Prohibition on asking or taking into consideration juvenile convictions when hiring
- Expansion of wage discrimination laws based on gender, race or ethnicity.
- Employers with 25 or more employees are required to provide written notice to employees about rights provided to domestic violence victims under California law.
- Employers are prohibited from requiring employees who primarily reside and work in California to agree to adjudicate claims outside of California or apply another state’s laws in arbitration agreements.
5. When are you conducting your next webinar?
Join me on December 13, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time for a webinar: “Employment law update: Essential issues facing California employers in 2017.” (I had to throw this self-promoting question in the line-up.) You can register for the webinar here.