Important Changes to California Employment Law in 2019

To Our Current and Future Clients (as well as some of the candidates where this information would be of value), there have been some changes to California employment law, effective January 1, 2019. As a service to our Clients, we wish to bring to your attention some of the more relevant changes.
Should you have any questions, we are more than happy to help. Below is a summary of Employment rules and regulations effective January 11, 2, 2019.

Late Final Payroll Penalties:

Deadlines for receipt  of Final Payroll:

  • Terminated employees must be paid the last day of their employment.
  • Employees who resign with 72 hours notice must be paid the last day of employment

Late Final Payroll Penalties:

  • One day of pay for each day the employee waits for final pay, up to 30 days.

Late Final Payroll Common (Innocent) Mistakes:

  • Final wages are sent via overnight delivery with a signature required – if the employee, for whatever reasons, is not available to home to receive the mail, final pay is delayed.
  • Final wages are sent via certified mail with return receipt requested – same as above.
  • Failure of supervisors to timely communicate to HR when an employee has been removed from the payroll

Actions to Avoid Final Payroll Penalties:

  • Always err on the side of caution – count the days the business is closed, i.e., weekends, as part of the 72 hours.
  • Check and double check final paycheck stubs for accuracy.
  • Deliver final pay in person whenever possible.
  • If you can’t deliver in person:
    1. Check and double check you have the employee’s correct and most recent address you are using to mail the check.
    2. Send by overnight delivery using a service that allows you to prove delivery.
    3. Do NOT require a signature – it may delay delivery.
    4. Do NOT send by certified mail with return receipt requested.
    5. Use a courier.
  • Address employee’s inquiries and reports of issues with final payroll promptly.
  • Train supervisors to advise HR immediately of employee resignations.

2019 IRS Mileage Rate: $0.58 cents per mile (change from 2018 $0.545)

Action Items to Avoid Penalties:

  • Ensure using personal vehicle for business are being properly reimbursed for business-related mileage.
  • Inform your payroll/finance department of the mileage rate change so employees are properly reimbursed.

Employees Working in Other States:

  • Employees are protected by the laws of the State in which they work even if the employee’s headquarters are elsewhere.
  • Employers must comply with the employee laws of each state in which they have employees.
  • Know the differences between the States’ rules and laws.
  • Consult with an Employment Law Attorney about compliance in other States.

Examples of Key Differences between CA and other states:

  • Leaves of absence.
  • Final payroll rules.
  • Required postings and employee handouts.

Action Items:

  • Identify each State where your employees work
  • Identify the number of exempt vs. non-exempt employees
  • Learn the employment laws of those states

January 2019 Changes in Harassment within the Work Environment “Equality Law”:

  • Employers are liable for all forms of unlawful harassment, not just sexual harassment.
  • Employees are not required to sign any document including a release, non-disclosure agreement, or non-disparagement agreement, as a condition of employment if it denies the employee the right to disclosure unlawful acts in the workplace.
  • Employers with five or more employees (including temps and seasonal employees) must provide sexual harassment training to all employees by 1/1/2020.
  • Within six months of assuming the employees’ position, supervisors must have at least two hours of training and non-supervisors must have one hour.
  • Training must occur every two years.

Women on Boards:

  • Publicly held Corporations must have at least one female on its Board of Directors by 12/31/2019.
  • The penalty for failure to uphold this requirement is $100,000 for each seat not held by a female.

To Conduct Background Checks or Not?

  • If an employer wants to rescind an offer of employment (even in part) because of the conviction information received from the background check, the employer must:
    1. Complete an individualized assessment:  The conviction must have a direct and adverse relationship to the specific job duties in order to rescind an offer made to the applicant.
    2. Give notice to the employee.
  • Employers cannot ask applicants to disclose or use as a factor any information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction.
  • The conviction must have a direct and adverse relationship to the specific job duties in order to rescind an offer made to the applicant.
  • Conviction history information used in employment decisions, especially against current employees, opens the employer to exposure for discrimination and/or wrongful termination claims.

The information contained in this e-mail is a general overview of some of  the changes made to California Employment Law, effective January 1, 2019. While Mitroff Consulting & Associates is happy to attempt to answer any questions you may have, we are not Employment Law experts Attorneys and suggest you seek legal council should you have any concerns.