California Enacts Salary History Prohibition Law
New Law Effective January 1, 2018
California has enacted a law that generally prohibits employers from relying
on an applicant's salary history.
Salary History Prohibition and Additional Rules
An employer is prohibited from relying on the salary history information
of an applicant as a factor in determining whether to offer employment
to an applicant or what salary to offer him or her.
An employer is also prohibited from—orally or in writing—seeking
salary history information (including compensation and benefits) about
An employer (upon reasonable request) must provide the pay scale for a
position to an applicant applying for employment. The law does not allow
prior salary—by itself—to justify any disparity in compensation.
The law does not prohibit an applicant from voluntarily and without prompting
disclosing salary history information to a prospective employer. If an
applicant does as such, the law does not prohibit that employer from considering
or relying on that voluntarily disclosed salary history information in
determining the salary for that applicant.
Action to be taken:
Employers should carefully review your employment applications (Paychex
application is already updated accordingly) and hiring processes to ensure
that they do not impermissibly inquire into, or rely upon, salary history
information. Job applications and new hire packets should be amended to
remove any inquiries into prior salary history. All staff involved in
the hiring process should be trained about the law and how it impacts
the types of inquiries and questions that are permissible.
California Passes Parental Leave Act
Law Effective January 1, 2018
California has enacted the New Parent Leave Act.
The law applies to employers with 20 or more employees.
The law covers employees with more than 12 months of service with their
employers, who have at least 1,250 hours of service with their employers
during the previous 12-month period, and who work at a worksite that has
at least 20 employees within 75 miles.
Parental Leave Rights
Upon request, an employee may take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to
bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption,
or foster care placement. The employee is entitled to utilize accrued
vacation pay, paid sick time, other accrued paid time off, or other paid
or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer, during the period of
Note: If the employer does not provide a guarantee of employment in the
same or a comparable position upon the leave's termination, the employer
is deemed to have refused to allow the leave.
Employers may not refuse to maintain and pay for coverage under a group
health plan for an eligible employee who takes parental leave for the
duration of the leave (not to exceed 12 weeks over the course of a 12-month
period), starting on the date the leave begins. Employers may not refuse
to maintain and pay for such coverage at the level and under the conditions
that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued to
work in his or her position for the duration of the leave.
However, an employer may recover the premium that it paid for maintaining
coverage if certain conditions occur.
Action to be taken:
SB 63 goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Prior to that date, if you are
an employer with between 20 and 49 employees within 75 miles, you should
carefully review and revise your leave policies to comply with the new
requirements of the law.
California Enacts “Ban the Box” Law
Law Effective January 1, 2018
Law Creates New Procedures Governing Job Application Process
Prohibited Employer Actions
Employers with 5 or more employees are generally prohibited from:
- Including on any employment application—before the employer makes
a conditional offer of employment to the applicant—any question
that seeks the disclosure of an applicant's conviction history.
- Inquiring into or considering the applicant's conviction history (including
any inquiry about conviction history on any employment application) until
after the employer has made the applicant a conditional offer of employment.
- Considering, distributing, or disseminating certain criminal history information
(§12952(a)(3)) while conducting a conviction history background check
in connection with any application for employment.
- Interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of (or the attempt
to exercise) any right provided under the law.
Note: The law does not prevent an employer from conducting a conviction
history background check that satisfies the provisions above.
Procedure when Denying Employment
Employers must follow the procedure below when denying employment:
Individualized assessment. An employer that intends to deny an applicant
a position solely (or in part) because of the applicant's conviction
history must make an individualized assessment of whether the applicant's
conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific
job duties that justify denying the applicant the position. In making
this assessment, the employer must consider certain factors (§ 12952(c)(1)(A)).
Note: An employer may (but is not required to) commit the results of this
individualized assessment to writing.
Notification. If the employer makes a preliminary decision that the applicant's
conviction history disqualifies him or her from employment, the employer
must notify the applicant of this preliminary decision in writing. That
notification may (but is not required to) justify or explain the employer's
reasoning for making the decision. Regardless, the notification must contain
certain information (§
Applicant's response. The applicant must have at least 5 business days to respond to the notice
described above before the employer may make a final decision. If the
applicant notifies the employer in writing within the 5 business days
that the applicant disputes the accuracy of the conviction history report
that was the basis for the preliminary decision to rescind the offer and
that the applicant is taking specific steps to obtain evidence supporting
that assertion, then the applicant must have 5 additional business days
to respond to the notice.
Note: The employer must consider information submitted by the applicant
under the paragraph above before making a final decision.
Final decision. If an employer makes a final decision to deny an application solely (or
in part) because of the applicant's conviction history, the employer
must notify the applicant in writing of certain information (§ 12952(c)(5)),
including the right to file a complaint with the state.
Action to be taken:
Prior to that January 1st, you should carefully review your employment
applications and hiring processes to ensure compliance with the law’s
requirements, specifically not seeking or relying on criminal history
information until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
If you wish to rely on criminal history information, you will need to
understand and follow the specific individualized assessment and employee
notice requirements contained in the new law.
New Mandatory Poster on Transgender Rights for California Workplaces
The new transgender rights poster must be displayed starting January 1, 2018.
California recently passed a new law that requires all California employers
to post a “Transgender Rights in the Workplace” poster starting
January 1, 2018.
The new transgender rights poster must be displayed along with other mandatory
workplace notices in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the state agency charged
with enforcing California’s civil rights laws, has developed the
poster. The correct version is dated November 2017, but the posting is
not mandatory until January 1, 2018.
The poster, in part, follows regulations developed by the Fair Employment
and Housing Council that went into effect on July 1, 2017.
Key topics covered by the poster include:
- Definitions of terms such as transgender, gender identity, gender expression
and gender transition.
- A discussion on the right of employees to use restrooms, locker rooms and
other similar facilities corresponding to their gender identity.
- The importance of allowing an employee to dress in accordance with the
employee’s gender identity and expression.
“We expect this posting requirement to increase understanding of
the law and assist California employers in providing safe and inclusive
work environments,” said Kevin Kish, Director of DFEH, in a statement.
Mandatory Training Requirement
SB 396 also requires mandatory sexual harassment prevention training to
include a component regarding gender identity, gender expression and sexual
orientation. This new law takes effect on January 1, 2018.
California’s mandatory harassment prevention training requirement
applies to employers with 50 or more employees and requires training of