At the start of each year, new workplace laws go into effect in California. Here’s a highlight of some of the legal changes that benefit workers in California starting in January of this year.
Higher Minimum Wage
This year, the California minimum wage increases to $12 per hour for companies with 26 or more employees and $11 per hour for companies with fewer than 26 employees.
Unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and cities in California may set a higher minimum wage than the State, so be sure to check your local area’s wage standards to ensure that you are getting paid the correct minimum wage. The current minimum wage in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County is $13.25 per hour for businesses with 26 employees or more, and $12.00 per hour for businesses with 25 employees or fewer. Los Angeles County minimum wage rates will increase on July 1, 2019.
Workplace Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
Employers who settle sexual harassment complaints with employees can no longer force the victim employee to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Victims can still keep their name private, but the offender’s name will no longer be confidential. Unless the victim requests it, confidentiality provisions that prevent the disclosure of facts regarding the sexual misconduct are now prohibited. SB 820.
Sexual harassment victims can also no longer be required to sign releases of liability as a condition of their continued employment (SB 1300), and are now given up to ten years to seek civil damages from a sexual assault. This will provide employees who have experienced sexual assault in the workplace with expanded rights to seek justice for their assault. AB 1619.
Hostile Work Environment Criteria
The hostile work environment standard has been revised so that it is now sufficient to prove that one single incident of harassing conduct, which interfered with the employee’s work performance or created a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment, is enough for the employer to be found liable. In the past, the standard was that the employee had to prove that the employer’s actions were “severe and pervasive,” which generally required repeated offensive conduct. SB 1300.
Employee Records Request
Previously, when an employee requested their payroll records from their employer, the employer was only required to make the records available for the employee to copy themselves. Now, an employer is required to provide actual copies of the employee’s payroll records within 21 days of the request. SB 1252.
Employers are required to provide new mothers with rest breaks for pumping and a private lactation space that is not a bathroom. Employers could previously provide a bathroom as a lactation space. AB 1976.
Need a Free Work Law Case Consultation? Call PARRIS.
These are just a few of the new workplace laws going into effect for the State of California this year. If you believe that your rights as a worker are being violated, call PARRIS Work Attorneys for a free case consultation today at (661) 485-2072. PARRIS Law Firm specializes in employment law and has recovered over $500 Million for workers since it was founded in 1985.