Several Key Employment Bills Await Action by California Governor

On September 15, 2017, the 2017 California legislative session ended, with several employment-related bills being sent to the Governor’s desk.  The Governor has until October 15, 2017 to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature.  Below is a quick summary of key bills that may be signed and become effective in the upcoming year:

  • AB 168 prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history, either in applications or during interviews.  The bill exempts applicants who provide salary history information voluntarily and without prompting.  It does not apply to salary information which is publicly available, such as the salary history information for public employees that is maintained by the California State Controller.  This bill also requires employers to provide a pay scale for a particular position to applicants upon request.
  • AB 450 prohibits employers from permitting federal immigration enforcement authorities to access non-public areas of a place of labor without a warrant.  This bill also prohibits employers from releasing employment records to federal immigration agency authorities without a subpoena.  Within 24 hours of receiving notice of federal government immigration agency worksite enforcement action, an employer must notify the Labor Commissioner and the employee or his/her representative of such action.
  • AB 978 requires employers to provide to an employee or his/her representative a copy of the employer’s injury and illness prevention program (“IIPP”) within 10 business days after receipt of the request.
  • AB 1008 extends to private sector employers the ban-the-box prohibition against asking about criminal convictions on applications or before a conditional offer has been made, with narrow exceptions where such inquiries are required by law.
  • AB 1209 requires employers with 500 or more employees to report gender pay differentials every other year to the Secretary of State starting in 2020.  The Secretary of State will publish the pay data on a State website.
  • AB 1701 extends liability of construction industry subcontractors’ failure to pay employees to the general contractor if the subcontractor’s employees file a claim for unpaid wages.
  • SB 63 expands baby bonding leave to employers with 20 to 49 employees.  Such employers will be required to provide up to 12 weeks of leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement as long as the employee has at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period.
  • SB 306 authorizes the Labor Commissioner to seek temporary and permanent injunctive relief, if the Labor Commissioner has reasonable cause to believe an employer discharged or discriminated against an employee during the course of a wage claim or other specified investigation conducted by the Labor Commissioner.
  • SB 396 modifies mandatory sexual harassment training curricula for supervisors (applying to employers with 50 or more employees) to include discussion of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation protections.

We are tracking these bills and others and will prepare updates as the Governor takes action on the bills, with a full update following the close of the Governor’s October 15 deadline. New legislation generally takes effect on January 1 of the following year, if not vetoed by the Governor. Employers with questions regarding these bills or other pending legislation may ask one of the authors or their usual counsel at AALRR.

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