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Hunt Ortmann is one of the foremost authorities on California construction law, contracts, dispute resolution and litigation offering additional legal services in the areas of business and commercial law, employment matters and labor law compliance, real estate, insurance and suretyship.

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New California Employment Laws in 2017

January 2, 2017

With a new year having dawned, it’s time to ensure that your company complies with the new California employment laws that went into effect on January 1, 2017.  Several of these laws are briefly summarized below:

●          Employers May Not Consider Juvenile Crime Records in Hiring
Assembly Bill No. 1843 amends the California Labor Code to prohibit employers from considering certain juvenile criminal records for employment purposes.  In particular, this bill broadens the types of “off limits” information that employers may not consider by prohibiting employers from inquiring about information concerning “an arrest, detention, process, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition” that occurred while the applicant or employee was a juvenile.  Employers may need to modify their employment applications or prescreening processes in order to comply with this expanded law.

●          Employers May Not Bind Employees with Forum Selection Clauses
Senate Bill No. 1241, codified as California Labor Code Section 925, permits employees who primarily reside and work in California to void forum selection or choice of law clauses in agreements with their employers (including arbitration agreements, executive agreements and commission agreements).  This means that California employees are now entitled to have any litigation or alternative dispute resolution with their employers conducted in California under California law, even if the employer is headquartered elsewhere.

●          Employers May Not Require Special Immigration Documents
Senate Bill No. 1241, codified as California Labor Code subsection 1019, amends existing law to make it illegal for an employer to: (1) request more or different documents than required by the federal government to verify that an individual is an authorized immigrant; (2) refuse to honor documents presented that appear on their face to be genuine; (3) refuse to honor documents or work authorizations based on the status or term that accompanies the authorization to work; or (4) attempt to reinvestigate or re-verify an employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigration-related practice  The bill was intended to protect beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from disparate treatment during the I-9 hiring process.

●          Employers May Not Pay Lower Wages Based on Race/Ethnicity
Senate Bill No. 1063 amends Labor Code Section 1197.5 to expand the Fair Pay Act to prohibit employers from paying lower wages not only to women, but also to employees of different races or ethnicities for substantially similar work.  SB 1063 requires that an employer affirmatively demonstrate that wage differentials are based on lawful, nondiscriminatory factors such as: (1) a seniority system; (2) a merit system; (3) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (4) a bona fide factor other than race or ethnicity.

For more information on these and other new laws affecting California employers, please contact the attorneys of the Hunt Ortmann Employment Law Group.

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