A flurry of employment bills were passed in California this fall.  Following is a brief summary of some of the most-talked-about bills

AB 22- Effective January 1, 2012, California employers will be prohibited from obtaining consumer credit reports as a part of a pre-employment background check, unless specific exceptions apply.  These exceptions may apply if the prospective employee would be: in a position defined as an exempt-level managerial job, be named on the employer’s bank account or credit card, regularly has access to confidential or proprietary information, or has regular access to $10,000 or more of cash belonging to the employer or a customer/client.

 AB 469- Effective January 1, 2012, employers must provide each California employee , at the time of hire, with a written notice that contains certain information, such as the employee’s pay rate including rates for overtime, the employer’s designated payday, and the name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier.  Part of the law requires the Labor Commissioner to make available a template that complies with the requirements of the notice- the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) web site states that the template, along with guidance on compliance, should be posted around mid-December.  We will let you know as more information is posted/released. 

 SB 459- Drastically increased penalties for employers found to have engaged in “willful” misclassification of Independent Contractors. 

 SB 299- Effective January 1, 2012, California employers must continue to offer group health coverage to employees on Pregnancy Disability Leave (“PDL”) for up to four months.  Group benefits must be continued on the same terms and conditions as if the employee continued actively reporting to work- for example, if you pay for 50% of employee-only coverage, you must continue to do so while an employee is out on PDL, and the employee would need to continue to pay your their portion of the premium.  We may need to update your handbook policies accordingly- please contact me to discuss. 

AB 887- Amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (as well as other laws) by expanding the definition of “gender” to include a person’s gender identity and gender expression, which is further defined to mean a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior.  In addition to impacting sexual harassment and discrimination policies, the change may also impact dress policies, as employers will be required to allow an employee to appear and dress consistently with their gender expression.

Employment Law Updates
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