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New employee rights require new employer oversight

California's state government tries to go above and beyond in supporting employee rights in all industries to keep the state attractive to companies and workers alike. While U.S. laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act laid the foundation for modern labor protections, the Golden State often goes above national standards.

The state assembly in Sacramento spent much of 2017 addressing new protections to properly take care of the state's workforce. Most of these laws took effect on New Year's Day 2018, so businesses have completed the first few months of the new responsibilities to workers.

California followed the city of San Francisco with a ban on requiring salary history in the application process or before a salary offer has been made. This is designed to make salaries more commensurate with the required skills and experience. Criminal histories may also not be considered during the application process for most jobs.

In response to a national crackdown on immigration, the new Immigrant Worker Protection Act restricts employers' ability to verify work status beyond the required federal I-9 form. Immigration enforcement officers are also forbidden without a warrant to enter nonpublic areas of a workplace.

State law on parental leave was also expanded to more time for employees of more businesses, with most parents allowed up to three months of time to bond with a new child. More companies are also required to conduct sexual harassment prevention training.

Victims of employee rights violations may have a case for financial damages or other recourse. An attorney may be helpful in judging a prospective lawsuit and helping to forward the case towards a successful conclusion.

Source: Bloomberg Law, "New Employment Laws Pose Compliance Challenges in California," Dori Goldstein, accessed April 26, 2018

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