As 2018 nears to a close, Orange County employment attorneys are looking ahead to California labor law changes in 2019. Also, it’s not a bad idea to review for employers to review recent case law precedents and best practices and for employees to educated themselves on key facts regarding their rights and the most common types of employment lawsuits.
If you have questions regarding a specific California employment law issue, our dedicated legal team at The Nassiri Law Group is available to meet for free initial consultations. Our Labor and Employment Practice Areas range from wrongful termination to sexual harassment to Family Medical Leave Act violations and a host of discriminatory practices.
2019 Wage Law Changes in California
Let’s start with changes in wage laws. A new law passed in 2016 requires incremental minimum wage increases annually in the Golden State. Last year, per the California Department of Industrial Relations, companies with 25 or fewer employees were required to pay a minimum hourly wage of $10 while those with 26 or more employees were mandated to pay $10.50. This year, both increased by $0.50 hourly. Next year, it raises to $11 hourly for smaller employers and $12 hourly for bigger companies. By 2023, the minimum wage in California will be $15 hourly. Be aware that where federal, state or local wage laws apply, the employer is required to abide the stricter standard that is most beneficial to the employee. Minimum wage is the same for minors as adults and for full-time as well as part-time employees. If you rely on tips, companies cannot use your tip credit toward your minimum hourly wage, and unlike federal law set by the Fair Labor Standards Act, California law requires employers pay the full state minimum wage before tips.
If you’re an agricultural worker, know that starting next year, the new also entitles you to collect overtime (time-and-a-half) after 9.5 hours on-the-job or a 55-hour workweek. That’s a change from this year, when it was only required after a 10-hour day or 60 hours weekly. Smaller agricultural employers (25 or fewer employees) won’t have to comply until 2022.
Orange County employment lawyers urge employers to take this opportunity to review their wage practices, and ensure they are following mandated pay practices, including overtime, itemized wage statements and the salary-basis test that might impact one’s overtime exempt status.
Workplace Protections for Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination
State law has required employers with more than 50 employees to conduct sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors for at least two hours every two years. Starting in January, this training must be extended to any employers with five or more employees, adds at least one hour of training for non-supervisory staff on the same two-year schedule. Some employers in Orange County already do this, but it’s going to be a first for many.
Another provision of law requires that employers establish somewhere besides a bathroom for new mothers to express breast milk.
There is also a requirement on the books starting at the end of next year mandating publicly-held corporations in California must have at least one female board director, and as many as three, depending on the company’s size, by 2021.
Employee Misclassification Test
Employee misclassification – employee vs. independent contractor – has been a hot point of California employment litigation in recent years. In April, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County that adopted a new test for determining how a worker should be classified. It’s called the ABC tests, and asks whether the worker is free from the control and direction under the contract and in fact, whether the worker performs work outside the usual course of the hiring entity and whether the worker regularly engages independently in the established business or trade.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, April 30, 2018, California Supreme Court
More Blog Entries:
California Trucking, Operators Sue Over State Contractor Test, Nov. 3, 2018, Orange County Employment Lawyer Blog