12 December 2017
California has enacted a number of new regulations related to labor and employment that go into effect when 2018 begins. Hotels owners and developers with properties in California need to be aware of how these rules apply to their workforce so they can meet their legal obligations and remain in compliance with the law. A round-up of upcoming changes, written by the JMBM Labor & Employment group, is below.
California Labor & Employment Law Update: Key Changes in 2017 and What’s Slated For 2018
The JMBM Labor & Employment Group
The legal landscape for California employers continues to evolve at the state and local level – ranging from prohibitions on inquiries into an applicant’s salary and conviction history, additional sexual harassment training requirements, to new immigration obligations. The following is a high-level summary of the most significant changes in state and local labor and employment laws, which go into effect on January 1, 2018, unless otherwise noted.
EXPANDING POWERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STANDARDS (DLSE)
DLSE can now independently commence investigations; petition for injunctive relief; and issue citations for suspected discrimination or retaliation based on a wage claim (SB 306).
The DLSE has new powers starting January 1, 2018. With SB 306, the DLSE will now be authorized to commence an investigation of an employer, with or without a complaint being filed, when specified retaliation or discrimination is suspected during the course of DSLE investigations. The new law also authorizes the DLSE to petition a superior court for immediate injunctive relief based on a finding of reasonable cause. Such relief can include a court order that the employer reinstate employment or otherwise reverse its alleged retaliatory action against the employee. This is a huge departure from existing law which does not allow for the DLSE to seek this type of relief during an investigation.
The new law also authorizes the DLSE to issue citations directing specific relief to persons determined to be responsible for violations. The law establishes review procedures, including procedures for requesting a hearing before a hearing officer, and for a petition for a writ of mandate. The law subjects an employer who willfully refuses to comply with a final order to civil penalties payable to the affected employee. The law also allows employees to seek injunctive relief in court.
Contractors can now be directly liable for wage claims against subcontractors (AB 1701).
On or after January 1, 2018, a direct contractor which undertakes a contract in the state for “the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, or other work,” must assume, and be liable for, specified debt owed to a wage claimant that is incurred by a subcontractor, at any tier. The DLSE is authorized to bring an action to enforce this liability. It authorizes private civil actions to enforce the liability against a direct contractor. The new law does not apply to any work being done by an employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state. It requires a subcontractor, upon request from the direct contractor, to provide specified information regarding the subcontractor’s and third party’s work on the project and allows the direct to withhold disputed sums upon the subcontractor’s failure to provide the requested information. CONTINUE READING →