Top New California Employment Laws for 2012 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Top New California Employment Laws for 2012

Over the past several months, we have been alerting our readers to important California labor laws new in 2012.  Here’s a summary:

California’s Wage Theft Prevention Act; Employers Must Supply an Additional Detailed Written Notice to Most New Hires: In addition to existing written notification requirements (including rights to equal employment opportunity, minimum wage and many other points), employers now must provide a notice specifying fundamental workplace information “in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information” to every hourly employee at the time of his or her hire.   See, “California Wage Theft Protection Act.

Stiffer Penalties for Deliberately Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors: Labor Code sections 226.8 and 2753 authorize the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the state’s Labor Commissioner or a court to impose civil penalties between $5,000 and $25,000 for each instance of willful misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor. Thus, a business that has deliberately mislabeled even ten workers as independent is exposed to total fines between $50,000 and $250,000.  See, “Personal Liability and Mandatory On-Line Flogging for Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors.”

Gender Identity and Expression Protections: Discrimination for a person’s gender has been illegal in the U.S. since the 1960s. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) now expands the concept of gender to bar discrimination for “gender identity” and “gender expression.” See,Gender Identity and Expression Protection.”

Genetic Information Discrimination Prohibited: Beginning January 1, 2012, FEHA also prohibits businesses from discriminating against applicants and employees based on genetic information. The new law imposes California standards tougher than the federal 2008 Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).  See, “Genetic Information Discrimination.

Additional Protections for Pregnant Employees: FEHA also now requires all California employers to keep a pregnant employee’s group medical coverage in effect during pregnancy leave and to pay the employer portion of the premium during that period.  See, “Expanded Pregnancy Health Benefits Law for Most California Employees.”

If you have any questions or concerns on implementation of these laws into your business practices, contact an experienced employment law attorney.