Here are some of the most significant employment law updates in the last year.

Minimum Wage
The minimum wage for all California employees has increased. For employers with 26 or more employees, it has increased to $13 per hour. For 25 or less, it has increased to $12 per hour. This also means that the minimum annual salary for certain exempt employees has increased to $54,080 and $49,920, respectively.

Arbitration Agreements
Employers can no longer require employees to sign arbitration agreements for disputes arising under the California Labor Code and California Fair Employment and Housing Act. This includes claims for discrimination or harassment and for wage and hour violations, such as minimum wage or overtime. The law prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign such agreements as a condition to new employment, to ongoing employment, and as a condition to receiving any employment benefit. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for refusing to sign such an arbitration agreement.

Time to File a DFEH Claim
The time to file a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for discrimination, harassment, or other claims covered by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act has been extended from one year to three years.

Protected Hairstyles
It is now a violation of California law to discriminate against an employee because of a protected hairstyle. The law has been amended to protect against traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and style.

Sexual Harassment Training
Employers with 5 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to all employees. Training/retraining is required once every two years. The deadline for most employers to comply with this requirement has been extended to January 1, 2021.

AB5 Employee Test
AB5 signs into law the California Supreme Court’s decision in the Dynamex case. The new law provides that a worker is an independent contractor and is not considered an employee only if all of the following are true:

1) Part A of the test requires that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
2) Part B of the test requires that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
3) Part C of the test requires that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.

If any of the above parts are not true, the worker will be considered an employee. However, there are a number of exceptions to this new test.

Lactation Accommodation
Employers are required to allow an employee a reasonable amount of time to express milk and must provide a location, other than a bathroom, for an employee to do so.

Paid Family Leave
The duration of paid family leave to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a child has been extended from six weeks to eight weeks.

No Rehire Provision
Employers can no longer require employees to sign agreements which provide that the employee cannot be “rehired” by the employer.

Please contact the experienced employment attorneys at the Law Offices of Corren & Corren if you have any questions or concerns regarding the information in this article or for any of your employment law needs.