Articles Tagged with employee rights

California has long been a pioneer of gender rights in the workplace. Since 2011, gender expression and gender identity have been protected classes under California’s anti-discrimination law.  And on July 1, 2017, new employment protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming employees took effect in California. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing now enforces regulations which expand protections for gender identity and gender expression in the workplace. According to The National Law Review, the following provisions are now effective:

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  • Gender identity has been expanded to include those employees who are transitioning. Activities during the transition phase are protected, such as: changes in name or pronoun usage; use of bathroom facilities; and medical procedures associated with a transition (such as hormone therapy or surgeries). Employers may not discriminate against transitioning employees for engaging in any of these activities, or other actions related to the transition.
  • Employers may not inquire about, or request documentation about, an employee’s gender, gender expression, or gender identity. Employers can also not request that employees provide such information unless it is on a voluntary basis for record keeping purposes.
  • Single-occupancy bathroom facilities under an employer’s control must be labeled with gender neutral terms (such as “unisex”, “gender neutral”, or “all gender restroom”). Employees must be allowed to use the facilities which correspond to their gender identity, not the gender assigned to them at birth.
  • Employees must be allowed to carry out job duties which correspond with their gender expression or gender identity – not the gender assigned to them at birth.

The Press-Enterprise also notes that employers cannot impose any standards of grooming, dress, or appearance which are inconsistent with an employee’s gender identity.  

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Every year new employment laws affect California employers. Businesses which are not compliant with such laws face civil liability, fines, and even regulatory sanctions (such as suspension of a business license). CBS Los Angeles reports on new 2017 employment laws which all California employers should take note of: California employment lawyers

Increased Minimum Wage:  As of January 1, 2017, businesses with twenty-five employees or more must pay workers a minimum of $10.50 per hour. GovDocs reports that this will increase in annual increments to set minimum wage at $15.00 per hour by January 1, 2023. Businesses with fewer than twenty-five employees start at a lower minimum wage of $10.00 per hour, but they, too, will experience annual increases, and  be subject to the $15.00 per hour minimum wage requirement by January 1, 2023.

Overtime Laws: The California Department of Industrial Relations describes the current California overtime requirements as follows:

  • Any employee must be paid one and a half times his or her hourly rate for any hours worked in excess of eight per day, or forty per week. “Time and a half” also applies to the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of a workweek.
  • Any hours in excess of twelve per day must be compensated at twice the employee’s hourly rate. Double time also applies to any hours beyond eight worked on the seventh day of a workweek.

There are various exceptions to the overtime requirements, and employers should carefully consider these when staffing needs arise.

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A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court on May 8, 2017, makes it easier for employers to comply with the state’s “day of rest” statute. The enhanced flexibility can benefit both employers working to accommodate their business needs, and employees who desire more flexibility to accommodate their personal activities with their work schedule and responsibilities. employment lawyers

The California “day or rest” statute prohibits employers from causing employees to work more than six in seven days. The San Francisco Business Times reports that, in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, the Court clarified that the day of rest is guaranteed for each work week, rather than any given period of seven days. Previously, it was unclear which measure had to be used for purposes of calculating the day off. Some employers would go to great lengths to accommodate every seven-day period on a rolling basis. Now, they need only to set a defined work week, and ensure that employees have one day off within that week.

The ruling also gave employers the option of scheduling employees for more than seven days in a row if they are given time off equivalent to one day per work week. This, too, allows greater flexibility in scheduling. It also appears to signal the Court’s awareness of the realities of the contemporary American workforce.  Continue reading