The workplace in California is evolving rapidly due in no small part to changes in state law.
Those laws are likely to echo through the business environment. It’s important to make appropriate changes to your company before you face complaints or litigation from workers.
Sherman Law Corporation is a client-centric employment law firm that delivers powerful, effective legal strategies for enterprises facing legal threats emerging from a constantly changing business environment. From our experienced team of employment lawyers, here are ten important legal updates in California.
Important Changes in California Employment Law
- Minimum wage increase—
At the start of the year, California implemented a state-wide hike in the minimum wage to make it $15 per hour (or $14 per hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees). Various local jurisdictions have also rolled out their own minimum wage adjustments, so check your city’s latest law changes to make sure you’re in compliance.
- COVID-19 laws–
California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) continues to issue updates relating to COVID-19 in the workplace, so it is incumbent on business owners to remain apprised of all such laws or face serious financial penalties. Some of the most relevant include:
- No-cost testing—Workers must have access to no-cost COVID-19 tests on paid time.
- Mask exemption—Workers who are exempt from wearing a mask must remain socially distant from other employees and be tested twice weekly.
- Employee notification of exposure—Businesses must notify their employees if they have been potentially exposed to a COVID-19 positive employee.
- Wage theft penalties—
Intentional theft of wages exceeding $950 from a single worker or $2,350 from two or more workers will now be punishable as grand theft, a criminal misdemeanor or felony.
- Personnel record retention–
Under SB 807, businesses must now retain personnel records for at least 4 years from the time they were created. This new law also grants the Department of Fair Employment and Housing extended time to investigate disputes and issue a right-to-sue notice.
- California Family Rights Act expansion—
Businesses with 5 or more employees must now include parents-in-law among CFRA leave-eligible family members.
- Silenced No More Act—
SB 331 prohibits non-disclosure clauses in settlements regarding workplace harassment, discrimination or other unlawful acts.
- Warehouse distribution worker quotas—
Companies with more than 100 workers at a warehouse or 1,000 workers at warehouses in the state must disclose work quotas on those employees.
- Food delivery gratuity—
It is now illegal for food delivery businesses to keep customer tips. The same law also prohibits delivery services from increasing the price of menu items.
- Arbitration agreements—
Following a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding AB 51 last year, employers must clearly explain to employees that they can refuse to use arbitration to resolve disputes with employers. All employment contract clauses that make arbitration mandatory are now null and void.
- Clothing worker compensation—
It is now unlawful to pay garment manufacturing employees by the piece or unit (some exceptions to this new law remain in place).
If you have questions or concerns regarding California’s latest employment laws, please contact a qualified employment law attorney.