As 2020 comes to an end, it is a great time to audit employment policies and practices. Obviously, it is important to work with a qualified attorney to ensure compliance, but I wanted to highlight a few issues on these topics that employers can use to start a self-audit that then can be used to save time and money when reviewing with an attorney.
Five areas to audit regarding the hiring process in California:
1. Are applications seeking appropriate information?
- Review applications to ensure they have been updated to meet new legal standards. As a reminder, starting on January 1, 2018, California prohibits employers from asking a job applicant to disclose information about criminal convictions. In addition, be careful about local city ordinances as well, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
2. Are new hires provided with required policies and notices?
- Items include Notice to Employee (Wage Theft Prevention Act notice for non-exempt employees); I-9; and Federal and State pamphlets. All California employers are required to post California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment. In addition, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has updated many posters that will apply to most California employers (it is important to check the links below near the start of 2021 for most recent documents from the DFEH):
- Transgender Rights in the Workplace (starting January 1, 2018), which applies to businesses with 5 or more employees.
- Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee, which applies to businesses with 5 or more employees.
- Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave, which applies to businesses with 20 or more employees.
3. Are new hires provided and recommended policies?
For example, many employers implement the following policies:
- meal period waivers for shifts less than six hours
- arbitration agreements
- any other specific policy or notice required for the employer’s industry
4. Are hiring managers trained about the correct questions to ask during the interview?
- Are managers trained to not ask applicants about criminal convictions? See above.
- Are they trained to no ask applicants about prior compensation and benefits? See my prior article on California’s prohibition on seeking or taking into consideration an applicant’s prior compensation and benefits.
5. Are the required posters properly displayed and translated?
The DFEH website sets forth the following explanation regarding displaying posters:
Any required Department of Fair Employment and Housing posters must be conspicuously displayed where they can be easily seen and read by all employees and job applicants. The text has to be large and legible enough to be easily read when posted.
Posters must be displayed at the following places:
- At each location where a company has employees – offices, stores, warehouses, branches, etc.
- At employment agencies, hiring offices and union halls.
- On computers as long as the posters are posted electronically in a conspicuous place where employees will tend to see it.
If 10 percent or more of a company’s workforce speaks a language other than English, the posters must also be displayed in that language (or languages). DFEH provides translated posters in several languages, available in the posters, guides and fact sheets section of our website. We will work with an employer if other translations are needed.
Free copies of workspace posters can be downloaded from the posters, guides and fact sheets section of our website.