Just like every new year in California, changes in the law are in store for California employers and 2018 is no different.  With the ringing in of 2018, Californians can expect changes to their pay checks and employers with have to be more conscientious when interviewing.  Here is a list of significant employment law changes that will go in effect in 2018:

Increase in Minimum Wage

The minimum wage for employers with 26 employees or more is increasing from $10.50/hour to $11.00/hour.  The minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees is going from $10.00/hour to $10.50/hour.

Do Not Ask About Criminal Convictions or Salary History

Starting on January 1, 2018, employers cannot ask about an applicant’s past criminal conviction(s).  The reason for this is to prevent an employer from dismissing an ex-con, who has the skills for the position, as an applicant, simply due to his/her past criminal history.  The law does not, however, prevent an employer from performing a background check and discovery of the applicant’s past criminal conviction.

Employers are also prohibited from asking about an employee’s salary history.  The California legislature has made the sexist determination that female employees are not as good of salary negotiators as men, so to assist women in negotiating a salary, the legislature has prohibited employers about asking an employee’s salary history.  The legislature’s belief is that by eliminating the salary history question, employers will offer the same salary to an equally qualified woman as it would to a man.  The law does not prevent an applicant from volunteering his or her salary history.

Similar Pay for Similar Work

Starting in 2018, employers are prohibited from paying white males more than females and other minorities for work that is “substantially similar.”  If there is a discrepancy in pay between a white male employee and a female or other minority, the employer must be able to explain that the reason for the pay discrepancy is something other than race, sex or ethnicity.

This could be an issue that could become very contentious when comparing employees whose jobs do not involve mundane actives, such as a register clerk.  It is very easy to compare salaries of register clerks and whether there is a discrepancy.  Furthermore, since the role of a register clerk is very limited, the type of work will be substantially similar making it very simple to determine if there is a discrepancy in pay between register clerk employees who are white male and minorities.  If there are, then there better be a good explanation by the employer, i.e. length of employment, experience, no write-ups, etc.

However, once you get into a situation where the employees jobs vary and involve discretion and individual judgment, it can become more difficult to decipher if the jobs are similar.  In addition, in jobs involving discretion by the employee, pay raises may be based on the quality of the independent discretion by the employees, with those making better decisions getting better pay raises.  These are all factors that can make the law difficult to know if it is being violated and costly by employers to prove the reason(s) for their salary decisions.

Harassment Training for Supervisors

Employers with 50 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training within six months of the hire date of individuals hired to supervise employees.  In addition, the training must not only include sexual harassment training, but training related to bullying and harassment based on gender identity.

If you have any questions about the new laws being implement in 2018, please contact us at The Rinka Law Firm.  Our phone number is 310-556-9653.

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