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CA Adds More Employer Laws

Effective Jan. 1, 2018, California employers cannot seek or inquire into a job applicant’s salary history, compensation or benefits. In addition, they are required to disclose pay scales for a position if an applicant requests it.

California joins Delaware, Puerto Rico, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York City, Philadelphia (pending legal challenge) and San Francisco (effective July 1, 2018) as jurisdictions that will restrict the ability of employers to inquire about past or current compensation as part of the job application process.

Starting New Year’s Day, companies with 50 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for an ill employee and for those who care for a sick parent, spouse or child.

The leave also can be used for “bonding” with a child within one year of the child’s birth or placement of an adopted child with an employee.

The state Labor Commissioner’s powers also have been expanded to penalize employers who discharge, or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against employees or job applicants who engage in various protected activities.

The new law also subjects employers to penalties of $100 per day (up to a maximum of $20,000) for any “willful” refusal to comply with a court order to cease and desist illegal retaliation, to post a notice to employees, or to hire, promote, or otherwise restore a current or former employee to a position.

In addition, legislation awaiting the governor’s signature would expand sexual harassment posting and training requirements, ban discrimination against employees for “reproductive health decisions” and require regular employer reports on gender wage differentials.

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