While many employees may just be getting back to work after some vacation time, companies’ human resources departments are likely just getting started on making sure they are in compliance with a host of new laws that went into effect and are designed to protect workers from discrimination in Fullerton and statewide.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an article that states nearly two dozen new employment laws went into effect Jan. 1 — some that prohibit discrimination and others that help employees who typically end up getting the short end of the stick at work.
Our Fullerton employment lawyers fully support new laws that go into effect with the plan to end discrimination and not put people at a disadvantage in the workplace. There are far too many situations where employees face a difficult time at work, whether it be pregnancy, service in the military or because of their race or gender.
One law that may have the biggest impact is one that requires companies to inform workers who aren’t exempt from overtime of their rate of pay, the workers’ compensation insurer, the paydays and if there are any meal or lodging allowances.
If there are any chances in that information, the employer must tell each non-exempt worker within seven calendar days, the newspaper reports. If there are wage violations, the penalties are larger than in year’s past.
Another new law on the books requires companies with five or more employees to ensure they have health coverage under a group health plan to ensure female employees who take leave for pregnancy can do so for up to four months. The benefits have to be the same as if the woman were working during the leave period.
In cases where employees and employers split health care costs 50/50, the same must be done if the woman is out on leave. The current law applies to companies with 50 or more employees and for a maximum of 12 weeks, so the new law expands the time frame and type of company affected.
Other laws that go into effect:
SB459: A law that creates penalties of $5,000 to $25,000 for a “willful misclassification” of employees as independent contractors. Doing so can save money for companies, but being penalized changes things.
AB22: The law prohibits companies, except some financial institutions, from using credit reports on job applicants and employees. Some exceptions include managerial positions exempt from overtime pay, law enforcement and work with money.
AB1396: This requires commission plans for employees to be in writing so they can’t be changed after the fact.
AB877: The law prevents companies from discriminating against employees based on their gender expression. While there are laws on the books that protect from discrimination against people based on their gender and gender identity, the new law also protects employees based on the way they dress and behave.