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2018 – Rings in New Labor Regulations

As 2017 comes to a close many Human Resource departments should start preparing for the 2018 New Year.  Now is the perfect time to audit personnel files and complete all of the changes for Employee Handbooks.

Employers will see many new regulations take effect on January 1st, and it is important to ensure all of these updates are reflected in the Employee Handbook. It is also highly suggested that employers ensure they update existing Arbitration Clauses, Social Media Policies, Hostile Work Environment, and Whistleblower policies.

California has four (4) major regulations taking effect on January 1, 2018. A.B.168 bans salary history inquiries of candidates. Employers must provide an applicant with the pay scale for the position for which they have applied. S.B.63 requires companies with twenty (20) or more employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental bonding leave. A.B.1008 (Ban-the-Box) prohibits employers from inquiring about a candidate’s previous criminal convictions until after a condition offer of employment. S.B. 396 requires manager bi-annual training include gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

The best thing a company can do is to review their handbook on an annual basis and update any changes to reflect current regulations. In California, this means on a semiannual basis, January and July.

If you would like any more information, please visit and we will be more than happy to assist you and your company with your human resources needs.


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EEO-1 Compensation Data Collection Halted

SHRM shared the following information and I want to pass it on to employers who fall within the following category.

Good news from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic. On August 29, Lipnic issued a statement indicating that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) plans to stay the effective date of the pay data collection provisions of the revised EEO-1 form in order to review the appropriateness of the revisions under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The new reporting would have been effective March 31, 2018, which would have required employers with 100 or more employees to report W-2 wage information and total hours worked for all employees by race, ethnicity and sex within 12 proposed pay bands. Because of OIRA’s decision to stay the effective date, employers will not need to report on wages or hours worked when they submit their usual EEO-1 forms.

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Recruiting in Today’s Competitive Market

Just a few years ago recruiting qualified candidates was quite different from the recruitment efforts and results we have all experienced over the last year. No longer is the employer in the driver’s seat and candidates realize that there has been a shift to his or her favor.

Therefore, how do companies maximize their recruitment efforts and reduce time to fill and cost to fill?  Quite simply, Companies, Recruiters and Human Resource Professionals need to change their processes. There are simple ways to improve the interviewing experience for candidates and a great way to improve your company reputation.  Candidates are experts and posting their experience about the interview process on sites such as Glassdoor, and a positive post can improve your company image and your ability to recruit.

Demonstrate your respect for the candidate by reducing the time between qualifying the candidate(s) and scheduling the interview(s). If your process requires multiple interviews, schedule them all in the same day. Reduce the time candidates have to take time off work by scheduling interviews before and after regular business hours. Consider Skype interviews to reduce travel time for the candidates. Your candidate will appreciate your efforts and he/she will compare these efforts with other company’s interviewing processes.  Highly qualified candidates do not remain on the market long and you can lose that candidate to a competitor if you procrastinate.

Lastly, communicate with your candidate(s). Keep them in the loop on the process even after they have accepted the position and signed the offer letter. Until the candidate arrives for his or her first day of employment, there remains the possibility of losing them.

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Is DACA going to Affect Your Organization?

If you are wondering what is going to happen to the work permits of Dreamers you are not alone. Those who are DACA beneficiaries will not be affected until after March 5, 2018. They have 6 months from the time the announcement was made.

President Trump stated that he is looking for a resolution for DACA from the Democrats and Republicans that will follow a lawful process. Therefore, at this time, applications filed after September 5, 2017 will not be processed. Additionally, DACA permits that expire between now and March 5, 2018 have until October 5, 2017 to apply for renewal.

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USCIS Changes Form I-9, Again

In most instances, labor regulations, laws and forms change or update in January and July of any given year. However, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated the I-9 form from the January 22, 2017 version. Employers must begin using the newest version of the I-9 no later than September 18, 2017.

Employer must have the I-9 completed even if they use E-Verify. Failure of an employer to ensure proper completion and retention of Form I-9 may subject the employer to civil monetary penalties, and, in some cases, criminal penalties. Employers can access the new form dated 7/17/17 at The form is available in printable or form fillable versions.

Employers take notice that a major change requires employers to complete the I-9 by the end of the employee’s first day of employment. Formerly, employers had 3 days to complete the I-9.

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Lions and Tigers and Bears—Oh MY!

Running a business in California today is not as it used to be. There are hidden threats as well as the threats that are right in front of us. Lions, tigers and bears do not necessarily coexist in the same geographic area in the world today. However, they can coexist in a nurturing environment such as zoos and wild animal parks.

The same is true with all of the regulatory agencies when it comes to labor compliance. There is the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CalOSHA); Department of Labor (DOL); Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE); Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB); Employment Development Department (EDD); and the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) to mention some of the major regulatory agencies.  If you own a local business but have employees in other cities then municipal labor regulations also have to be followed.

Federal, state and municipal agencies dictate regulations such as how you pay employees, how and when rest periods and lunches are taken, sick pay, pay taxes, FMLA, PDL, travel pay, hiring and terminations, and employee rights. All the regulatory agencies can get along. Businesses just need to know how they intertwine and which agency has the authority to enforce regulations and enforce penalties. If you stay informed, you can ensure all the agencies play nice in their sandboxes and do not bring bad play and games into your backyard.

So, how can a business owner adhere to all of the regulations, especially when they appear to be in opposition of each other? The answer to that is, “Well that depends.”  Not all regulations and laws pertain to every business. For instance, if you are a small business you do not have to adhere to the Warn Act. However, if you own a construction company and have employees who work in San Diego, then you may have another headache to deal with—San Diego’s minimum wage and sick pay regulations, which is stricter than the state’s mandated sick pay and minimum wage.

How do businesses navigate the complicated laws and regulations when it comes to labor and employee laws when they are constantly changing? Well that depends. It depends upon your company, its structure and the number of employees. If your business has, a human resources department ensure the staff is constantly updating their knowledge on state, municipal and federal regulations. Audit your files, take a proactive approach, hire a labor attorney, or hire a consultant who is willing to delve in and work for your business’ best interests.


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Think Outside the Box

As a recruiter have you ever had the perfect applicant apply for a position and he/she was dis-positioned as “not qualified” because of a conviction or prior arrest record? If you and/or the hiring manager were not aware of the applicants record would you be in a different mindset?

If you live in a city or county that has adopted “Ban the Box” or the “Fair Chance” ordinance then your applicant pool has probably grown exponentially. If you do not live in an area that has imposed this ordinance, you may want to prepare your organization for the California statewide ban the box regulation.  On February 16, 2017, five California assembly members introduced Assembly Bill 1008, which proposes to add a section to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) containing new state-wide restrictions on an employer’s ability to make pre-hire and other employment decisions based on an applicant or employee’s criminal records, including a ban the box component. Ban the box refers to a grassroots effort to remove the check box on job applications that asks if a candidate has ever been convicted of a crime.

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently enacted regulations that impose new regulations when conducting criminal background checks in employment decisions.  The new regulations are expected to go into effect on July 1, 2017.  The new regulations apply state-wide and, ultimately, will make it difficult for any employer in California to maintain no-hire policies for people with criminal convictions.

An employer’s use of an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Ban the box, which is based on longstanding court decisions and existing guidance documents that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Commission or EEOC) issued over twenty years ago. The Guidance focuses on employment discrimination based on race and national origin.

President Obama signed ban the box which directed federal agencies to delay inquiries into job applicants’ records until later in the hiring process. Public employers have incorporated the 2012 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines that advise employers to make individualized assessments instead of using blanket exclusions. Employers should consider the time passed since the offense and its relevance to the job. And because background-check results may contain errors, candidates should be given an opportunity to review the results.

The point of ban the box law is not to enforce hiring convicts; it is meant to give applicants a fair chance in the hiring process. The process calls for conducting a job interview first to see if the applicant is qualified. If the candidate moves through the process in the same steps as other candidates and is selected as one of the final candidates, then the employer can conduct the background investigation and then analyze the results to determine whether a conviction is job-related. The hiring decision is then based on qualifications, not the candidates’ criminal record.

In addition to federal and local governments that have implemented ban the box, there are currently 150 cities and 26 states that have executed ban the box. This affects a population of 211 million people or two-thirds of the U.S. population.   Cities that have already implemented ban the box in California include Alameda County, Berkeley, Carson, Compton, East Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pasadena, Richmond, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County.

When government implements new policies it is a natural progression for states and local governments to follow. If you conduct business in any of the above mentioned cities it is recommended that your company adhere to the policies, immediately. Companies in other areas should prepare for July 1, 2017.  Failure to follow local and state regulations can result in complicated and costly law suits.

California Ban-the-Box Bill

California Assembly Bill 218 (2013) (applies to public employment) Signed on October 10, 2013 by Governor Edmond “Jerry” Brown (D), AB 218 removes questions about convictions from state agency, city, county, and special district job applications and postpones such inquiries until later in the hiring process. The bill was initially introduced in 2012 as AB 1831, which applied to only cities and counties. After the first effort stalled in the senate, AB 218 was introduced in 2013. Sponsoring organizations included the National Employment Law Project, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, All of Us or None, and PICO California. More than 100 organizations—spanning labor, interfaith, reentry, civil rights, employment, criminal justice, and others groups— formed a coalition that strongly supported the bill. The statute became effective on July 1, 2014.


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Alternative Work Schedules for Private Sector Employers

California labor laws are constantly changing and the concern becomes how to keep up with legislation and timely compliance; and just as important, what are the effective dates.

One topic of interest is the little known (or understood by most employers) California Labor Code § 511. This regulation permits private sector employees to implement alternative workweeks without violating overtime laws.

Employers cannot arbitrarily assign alternative workweeks. There are required steps an employer must go through to have a legally compliant alternative workweek. First, an employer must first “propose” an alternative workweek schedule that is no longer than 10 hours per day (except Healthcare).  Second, the employer must make a written disclosure to the affected employees, including the effects of the proposed arrangement on the employees’ wages, hours, and benefits.  Such a disclosure shall include meeting(s), duly noticed, and held at least 14 days prior to voting, for the specific purpose of discussing the effects of the alternative workweek schedule.

Third, the employees must be allowed to vote via a secret ballot election, during regular working hours and at the employees’ regular work site. The alternative workweek must pass with by at least two-thirds of the affected employees.   Lastly, the results must be reported to the DOL at the address below within 30 days of the vote.

Division of Labor Statistics and Research

Attention: Alternative Workweek Election Results

  1. O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142


Even though the alternative work schedule passes the vote with the required two-thirds vote the employer must make reasonable effort to find an 8 hour work schedule for those employees who cannot work the alternative work schedule. Once an alternative workweek is in effect, to repeal the workweek another secret ballot election must be held within 30 days of the petition and passes with a two-thirds vote of the affected employees. The employer has 60 days to comply with the new revocation.