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California Laws

Discover important state and local employment laws for California.
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Published: Apr 19, 2024

Cal/OSHA Releases Model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Cal/OSHA Releases Model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan
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Update Effective: July 1, 2024

Effective July 1, 2024, California employers with 10 or more employees will be required to establish and maintain a workplace violence prevention plan, inclusive of training, as mandated by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). Cal/OSHA has released a model workplace violence prevention plan and fact sheet to assist employers in following the new requirements for the July deadline. Employers are encouraged to utilize Cal/OSHA's resources to develop their prevention plans in partnership with their legal counsel. 

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Published: Apr 19, 2024

(Los Angeles County) Los Angeles County Passes Fair Chance Ordinance

(Los Angeles County) Los Angeles County Passes Fair Chance Ordinance
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Update Effective: March 28, 2024

Beginning March 28, 2024, Los Angeles County employers with 5 or more employees in unincorporated areas of LA County must comply with additional requirements under the Fair Chance Ordinance For Employers, which supplements the existing California Fair Chance Act. Fully operational on September 3, 2024, the Ordinance outlines specific language employers must use in all job postings, prohibits pre-conditional offer inquiries about criminal history without written rationale, and requires employers to conduct individualized assessments before denying employment based on criminal history. Employers impacted by these changes should work with legal counsel to update their policies accordingly.

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Published: Jan 18, 2024

Non-Compete Agreement Notices in California

Non-Compete Agreement Notices in California
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Update Effective: February 14, 2024

In 2023, California passed two laws impacting the use of non-compete agreements in the state. The first  law invalidates non-compete clauses in employment agreements, requiring employers to notify current, and certain former, employees that such clauses are void. The second law creates a private rights of legal action against employers for illegal non-compete and confidentiality agreements. Employers who have previously used non-compete clauses in employment agreements must provide written notice to affected employees by February 14, 2024. Employers that have used, or currently use, non-compete agreements in any form should connect with legal counsel to review agreements and practices to ensure compliance.

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Published: Jan 18, 2024

California Updates Template Wage Theft Notices

California Updates Template Wage Theft Notices
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Update Effective: January 1, 2024

Starting January 1, 2024, California employers must update the mandatory notice given to new hires due to changes in state legislation. First, the notice must now include information about the increased amount of paid sick leave, which has been raised from three days (or 24 hours) to five days (or 40 hours). Secondly, it also has to reference any recent federal or state emergency or disaster declarations applicable to the county where the employee will work, particularly those issued within 30 days of the employee's first day. These declarations are relevant if they may affect the employee's health and safety during their employment.  Employers should update their processes to include the new model notice provided by the Department of Industrial Relations.

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Published: Dec 14, 2023

California Announces Substantial Increase in Computer Professional Exemption Rate

California Announces Substantial Increase in Computer Professional Exemption Rate
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Update Effective: January 1, 2024

On January 1, 2024, California employers will be required to pay computer professional employees at least $115,763.35 annually, or $55.58 per hour, in order to qualify for the California computer professional exemption. This substantial increase exceeds the federal computer professional exemption requirement. Additionally, eligible California employees must also continue to satisfy a duties test under the state’s Labor Code 515.5, which remains unchanged. Employers should keep in mind that other exemption types in California have state-level minimum pay rates that exceed federal-level exemption pay rates. To ensure compliance with this update, employers are encouraged to conduct duties tests to satisfy local statutes and review and adjust employee compensation. 

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Published: Nov 9, 2023

California's New Non-Compete Law Now Crosses State Borders

California's New Non-Compete Law Now Crosses State Borders
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Update Effective: January 1, 2024

California has passed a new state law, Senate Bill 699 (SB 699), which extends the state's restrictions on non-compete agreements. SB 699 makes non-compete agreements unenforceable in California, even if they were signed in another state and meet that state's legal requirements. Employers are advised to consult with legal counsel if looking to enforce any non-compete agreements in California.

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Published: Nov 9, 2023

California Expands Paid Sick Leave

California Expands Paid Sick Leave
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Update Effective: January 1, 2024

On October 4, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 616, which expands California’s paid sick leave law. The law will increase the annual amount of paid sick leave to which an employee is entitled, under either the frontload or accrual method, from at least 24 hours (three days) to 40 hours (five days). Employees will also now be allowed to use up to 40 hours (five days) of carried-over paid sick leave every calendar year. Before implementing any change to their paid sick leave policies, employers should verify their compliance with local ordinances.

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Published: Nov 9, 2023

California Laws Come into Effect Regarding Off-Duty Marijuana Use

California Laws Come into Effect Regarding Off-Duty Marijuana Use
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Update Effective: January 1, 2024

On January 1, 2024, two laws will take effect limiting how California employers may respond to worker off-duty cannabis use. Senate Bill 700 (SB 700), will ban employers from requesting information from job applicants about their prior cannabis use, including criminal history. The other law, Assembly Bill 2188 (AB 2188), will limit adverse employment actions based on positive marijuana drug tests and off-duty cannabis use. 

These regulations grant exceptions to employers in the building and construction sector, as well as employers hiring individuals for roles requiring a federal background investigation or clearance. Additionally, these laws do not override state or federal regulations that apply to businesses receiving federal funding or licensing-related benefits, or those with federal contracts.

Employers should prepare by reviewing and updating their anti-discrimination policies and their drug use policies and procedures. Employers should also review and update their policies on criminal background checks based on need.

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Published: Nov 9, 2023

California Establishes New Leave for Reproductive Loss

California Establishes New Leave for Reproductive Loss
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Update Effective: October 11, 2023

SB 848, which is an expansion of the California Bereavement Leave law, makes it unlawful for employers with five or more employees to refuse an eligible employee’s request for up to five days of leave following a reproductive loss event. A reproductive loss event is defined as the day or, for a multiple-day event, the final day of a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or unsuccessful assisted reproduction. For eligible employees who experience more than one reproductive loss event, employers are obligated to offer no more than a total of 20 days of reproductive loss leave within 12 months. 

The new law also protects employees from retaliation by their employer for requesting or taking leave for a reproductive loss, and employees are not required to provide supporting documentation. Leave under the new law is unpaid unless the employer has an existing policy requiring paid leave.

Employers should review and update their paid time off policies about the new statute.

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Published: Sep 14, 2023

California Amends Use of Criminal History in Employment Decisions

California Amends Use of Criminal History in Employment Decisions
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Update Effective: October 1, 2023

On July 24, 2023, the Office of Administrative Law approved modifications to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations governing how employers may use criminal history in hiring and employment decisions. The amendments outline new rules for employers when considering criminal history for job applicants and when making decisions regarding promotion, training, discipline, lay-off, or termination for existing employees. Employers should review their background screening processes and employment practices to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

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Published: Apr 13, 2023

(San Francisco) Health Care Security Ordinance and Fair Chance Ordinance Annual Reporting Due

(San Francisco) Health Care Security Ordinance and Fair Chance Ordinance Annual Reporting Due
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Update Effective: May 1, 2023

Employers who are covered under San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO) and/or Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) must submit their annual reporting to the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) by May 1, 2023. The HCSO requires that all employers with 20 or more employees report information on quarterly health care expenditures for employees who worked in San Francisco in 2022. This annual reporting also includes the reporting requirement associated with San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance (“FCO”), which applies to employers with (i.) 5 or more employees (ii.) who had an employee or employment applicants in San Francisco in 2022.

Completing and submitting the annual reporting is the responsibility of companies who are subject to the HCSO and/or FCO requirements.

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Published: Mar 16, 2023

San Mateo County Increases Minimum Wage

San Mateo County Increases Minimum Wage
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Update Effective: Apr 1, 2023

As of April, all employers are required to pay employees a minimum hourly wage of $12.95 per hour. This includes part-time and temporary employees.

Employers should review employee pay and update accordingly.

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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