Starting in July - Additional CA Employers Regulations
Employers must now notify employees of their rights regarding domestic violence victims. Employers with 25 or more employees to discriminate against employees who take time off to:
- Seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking,
- Obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking,
- Obtain psychological counseling for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or
- Participate in safety planning or other actions (including temporary or permanent relocation) to increase safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Employees taking time off must give the employer reasonable advance notice unless the advance notice is not feasible. If the employee takes an unscheduled absence, the employee remains protected by providing, within a reasonable time after the absence, a certification of the protected reason for leave. Employers must maintain the confidentiality of the reason.
The Labor Commissioner has developed a notice form which can be found here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Victims_of_Domestic_Violence_Leave_Notice.pdf
Criminal Background Checks
The Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) will begin enforcing new regulations related to the use of criminal background checks in employment decisions. Employers must justify their criminal background check policy and any adverse action related to the policy as job-related and consistent with business necessity.
The regulations identify two ways an employer could justify the policy: (1) show that a “bright-line” disqualification properly distinguishes those who do and do not pose an unacceptable level of risk; (2) individually assess the individual’s qualifications.
The employer must also give the applicant or employee a reasonable opportunity to show that the information on the background check is incorrect. If the individual provides evidence of factual inaccuracy, then the information cannot be considered in the employment decision.
Employers who have no-hire policies for individuals with criminal convictions are now at risk. Any such policy should be reviewed for compliance.
As of July 1, transgender employees must have equal access to restrooms and other facilities, including locker rooms, dressing rooms, and dormitories. Employers now must allow employees to use those facilities without regard to the employee’s assigned sex at birth. The regulation provides that employers may make reasonable, confidential inquiries of employees to ensure that facilities are safe and adequate for use.
Employers must now also honor an employee’s request to be identified by a preferred gender or name, The regulations also prohibit employers from enforcing appearance, grooming or dress standards inconsistent with an individual’s gender identity and gender expression, as well as requiring proof of an individual’s sex, gender, gender identity or gender expression.
Lauren Sims is the author and the eqHR Solutions Director of Human Resources.
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