2019 Employment Law Update

Keith B. DunnaganToday, we take time to look some of the significant employment law updates for 2019. Certainly, 2018 was a busy year in the law with respect to how the employer/employee relationship is governed.

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2019 Employment Law Update

By: D. Keith B. Dunnagan, Esq.

Smiling business peopleAs is the case every year, there are several changes that came into effect in the new year regarding employment. As an employer it is important to take the time to familiarize yourself with these changes. Below is a highlight of a few of the major changes to the employment law scheme in California.

There has long be the de minimis rule in California where an employer is excused from paying small amounts of wages if the employer can show that the small bits (increments of time) are administratively difficult to record. However, in the 2018 case Troester v. Starbuck Corp the court developed this standard further. It stated that work regularly performed had to be compensated. In this particular case an employee was responsible for closing the store at night, the employee would clock out and shut down the store. The tasks were small and didn’t take more than about 4 – 10 minutes to complete. The Court stated that tasks performed on a regular basis no matter how de minimis had to be compensated. This is a problem for both opening and closing procedures. As business owners you should be auditing your opening and closing procedures to make sure you have time records for all the work being performed by employees.

Another new change is the update to Labor Code § 1031 through AB 1976 which requires employers to provide a lactation accommodation to employees. Under the law employers are required to provide a room that is private and free from intrusion and that is used only for lactation purposes while the employee is using the room.

There are new restrictions related to use of salary history in hiring decisions. Under AB 2282 codified at Labor Code §432.3 an employer is prohibited from asking an applicant about salary history. The thing to be aware of in hiring decisions is compliance with the federal Equal Pay Act. The Equal Pay Act was adopted in 1963 as a response to close the gender pay gap. Under the recent decision in Rizo v. Yovino prior salary cannot justify a wage differential as wage disparities may only be based upon legitimate job-related factors.

Last year we wrote extensively about the Dynamex decision, that will continue to unfold one way or the other. Currently there are two bills AB 5 and AB 71 seeking to address this decision. AB 5 seeks to codify into law the Dynamex decision while AB 71 seeks to reverse Dynamex and codify the Borello decision. Time will tell the outcome.

A significant change comes related to the requirement for sexual harassment training. Previously, employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide 2 hours of sexual harassment training to supervisory staff every 2 years. Now, under SB 1343 codified at Government Code §12950 et seq, expands the requirement and now all employers with 5 or more employees must provide 2 hours of sexual harassment training to supervisory employees every 2 years and 1 hour of training for non-supervisory employees every 2 years. Additionally, all employees must complete sexual harassment training by Dec. 31, 2019 regardless of when the last training was provided.

There are a host of changes to the employment landscape. For employers it is prudent to take the time to review your policies for compliance with new laws and discuss with your employment attorney about the impacts on your business. The employment attorneys at BPE Law Group are here to help guide the business owners through this complicated web of laws.

The attorneys of BPE Law Group, PC. have been advising our clients on real estate, business and estate planning issues for over 20 years and have assisted numerous clients in business and real estate matters and have represented and advised brokers on their professional obligations as well as consumers on their rights. If you have questions concerning legal matters, give us a call at (916) 966-2260 or e-mail Keith at kbdunnagan@bpelaw.com. Our flat fee consult for new clients may get you the answers you need for the questions you have.

The information presented in this Article is not to be taken as legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. If you are facing a legal issue of any kind, get competent legal advice in your State immediately so that you can determine your best options.