This Friday’s five summarizes five new laws that were just approved by the Governor last week, and California employers need to heed going into 2017:

1. AB 1843 – Juvenile Criminal History

The new law prohibits employers from asking or taking into consideration juvenile convictions.

The law states, “employers [are prohibited] from asking an applicant for employment to disclose, or from utilizing as a factor in determining any condition of employment, information concerning or related to an arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law.”  Effective January 1, 2017

2. AB 1676 – Wage Discrimination

Existing law generally prohibits an employer from paying an employee at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work for work performance that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility that are performed under similar working conditions.  This law now establishes that an employee’s prior salary cannot, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation.  It is important to note the bill was modified to take out language that would have prohibited employers from obtaining an applicant’s prior salary.

3. AB 1063 – Wage Differential – Fair Pay Act Expanded to Protect Race and Ethnicity

Current law prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work.  This law expands the prohibition of a wage differential based on an employee’s race or ethnicity for substantially similar work.

4. SB 1001– Immigration Documents

This law prohibits employers from doing any of the following:

  1. Request more or different documents than are required under Federal law.
  2. Refuse to honor documents tendered that on their face reasonably appear to be genuine.
  3. Refuse to honor documents or work authorization based upon the specific status or term of status that accompanies the authorization to work.
  4. Attempt to reinvestigate or reverify an incumbent employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigration-related practice.

For any violations, workers may file a complaint with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement and can recover penalties up to $10,000.  The law is effective January 1, 2017

5.  AB 2337– Notice: Domestic Violence Protection

Employers with 25 or more employees must provide employees written notice about their rights under the domestic violence protections under California law.  The Labor Commissioner must develop a noticed employers can use by July 1, 2017.  Employers do not have to provide the notice until the Labor Commissioner posts the notice.

(Bonus – It is California, and I could not limit the list to only five) SB 1241 – Arbitration Agreements Venue and Choice of Law

This law restricts employers from requiring employees who primarily reside and work in California to adjudicate claims outside of California when the claim arose in California, or deprive employees of California law with respect of claims arising in California.  Employers should carefully review their arbitration agreements with California employees to ensure that the agreement does not have a choice of law provision that applies another state’s law to the agreement or require any claims be adjudicated outside of California.  The effective date for the law is January 1, 2017.