California Dreamin’… of New Compliance Obligations for the New Year! (Part 2)

Contributed by Carly Zuba

Welcome to the second installment of our discussion of the new year’s slew of new legal obligations for employers (scroll down one post for part 1).  This post serves as our “Happy New Year!” gift to California employers as it highlights some of the newest obligations that California employers in particular must keep in mind for 2012.

No Discrimination Based on Genetic Information or Gender Expression: California legislation has added “genetic information” as a protected category under the law.  This means that California employers cannot discriminate against employees based on the genetic tests of their family members or based on the manifestation of a disease or disorder in their family members.  Additionally, California legislation has added protection under the law for “gender expression,” which is a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior, whether or not stereotypically related to the person’s gender at birth.  For example, an employer cannot prohibit a male employee from wearing a dress to work if the employer allows females to wear dresses to work. 

Prohibition on Using Consumer Credit Reports: California employers may no longer use employee credit reports for employment purposes unless (1) the position has access to over $10,000 in cash, other assets, or confidential information, OR (2) the position is managerial, law enforcement-related, in the state DOJ, or is a position for which the information in the report is required to be disclosed by law.

Notices to Employees Upon Hire: California employers must provide written notice to all non-exempt (i.e. overtime-eligible) employees upon their hire that specifies:

  • Rates and basis of pay (i.e. paid by hour, salary, piece, commission, etc.);
  • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of minimum wage, including meal and lodging;
  • Regular payday designated by employer;
  • Name of employer, including any DBA used by employer;
  • Employer’s physical address and phone number; and
  • Name, address, phone number of the employer’s workers compensation carrier

This is merely a taste of the new legal obligations that California employers must keep in mind after ringing in the New Year.  For a comprehensive analysis of your company-specific 2012 compliance obligations, whether in California or elsewhere, you should always consult with your attorney.