Summary of 2015 Laws, final post

This is our last post of 2015 enactments.  This describes new employment laws.

Employment Laws

Chapter 67 (AB 304):  Employers must provide sick leave accrual on the basis of one hour for each 30 hours worked or another regular basis as long as the employee will have at least 24 hours accrued by the 120th calendar day of employment. The law grand-fathers in paid sick leave policies existing prior to January 1, 2015 that provide 24 hours off annually.  Use of paid sick days may be limited to 24 hours each 12-month period.

Chapter 122 (AB 987):  Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against a person for requesting a religious or disability accommodation, regardless of whether one was granted.

Chapter 302 (AB 1443):  Anti-discrimination law protects volunteers and interns.

Chapter 306 (AB 2053):  Anti-harassment training must include an anti-bullying component.

Chapter 546 (SB 358): Prohibits wage-based gender discrimination and places the burden on the employer to prove a wage differential was based on a system of seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or other bona fide factor. Prohibits an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee for using this law.  Employers cannot bar workers from discussing wages.

Chapters 699, 721 (AB 218, SB 530):  Public and private employers cannot ask most job applicants about criminal records that have been expunged, sealed or dismissed.   Public employers cannot ask about criminal records on initial employment applications.  Only after the employer makes a determination the applicant is qualified, can the employer ask about convictions.  (Labor Code § 432.9.)  These inquiries may not include simple arrests, pre-trial and post-trial diversion programs, or minor marijuana convictions more than two years old.  (Labor Code §§ 432.7, 432.8.) Those who employ police or employees who work with children, the elderly, and disabled may continue to ask about convictions on initial applications for these jobs.

Chapter 728 (AB 1897):  When an employer uses an independent contractor at the employer’s jobsite to perform part of the employer’s usual business with a crew of 6 or more non-exempt workers, the employer is jointly responsible for the workers’ wages and their workers compensation insurance.

Chapter 803 (SB 588):  The Labor Commissioner may use the same remedies as a judgment creditor and act as a levying officer when enforcing a wage judgment. The Commissioner may hold a hearing for civil penalties for violations of laws regulating hours and days of work.

Chapter 886 (AB 1723):  Citations for minimum wage violations may now also include waiting time penalties.

Chapter 910 (AB 2617):  Employers cannot require employees waive or arbitrate Ralph Civil Rights Act and Tom Bane Civil Rights Act claims as a condition of employment.

California laws passed in 2015 followed the recent trend of expanding anti-discrimination and leave laws, and imposing stricter penalties for wage violations.

Contact us if you would like more information on any of these laws.

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