It’s important for employers to review their business policies and current practices to ensure they are in compliance with new California laws. Changes to employment law in 2018 that employers should be aware of include updates to prohibiting discrimination, protecting the right to parental leave, and general contractor liability. An experienced California employment law attorney can discuss the updates to make sure you understand what is required. Contact Kalia Law, P.C. today for a free consultation.

Protection for Healthcare Workers

Under California law, health facilities are not allowed to discriminate or retaliate against a patient, employee, medical staff personnel, or any other healthcare worker in their facility because that person filed a grievance, complaint, or report to the facility. This includes any cooperation with an investigation or administrative proceeding in regards to the quality of care, services, or facility conditions. The consequences for willfully violating this provision may be charged with a misdemeanor, fined a maximum of $20,000, or civil penalty. The updated law increases the maximum fine from $20,000 to $75,000.

Retaliation Complaints

Employers are not allowed to discharge or discriminate against an employee in retaliation, specifically during adjudication of a wage claim, a field inspection, or immigration-related issues. The updated California Labor Code permits the Labor Commissioner to investigate retaliation claims, with or without receiving an employee complaint. Additionally, the Labor Commissioner is permitted to petition a court for an injunction during the course of their investigation. Reasonable cause to believe that the employee was unlawfully discharged or retaliated against is required in order for the injunction to be granted.

Parent Leave Protections

Employers are required to provide parental baby bonding leave to eligible employees. Parental leave is the work leave to bond with a baby within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster-care placement. The updated law expands this protection and requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide the following:

  1. 12 weeks unpaid, job-protected parental leave for employees with at least 12 months of employment (1,250 hours)
  2. Group health plan coverage during the parental leave
  3. Guarantee of the same or comparable position upon returning from parental leave
  4. The employee is allowed to use accrued vacation, paid sick time, or other time negotiated with the employer

When both parents are employed by the same employer, the collective leave required for both parents in 12 weeks. Employers with five or more employees must also provide pregnancy disability leave when necessary.

General Contractor Liability

In California, general contractors are directly liable to pay wages, fringe benefits or other payments owed by their subcontractors. Contracts included in this liability are for the alteration, construction, erection, or repair of a building or structure. Employees are not required to pursue all available remedies against the subcontractor before bringing an action against the general contractor. A few rights general contractors have in these situations are:

  • No liability for penalties or liquidated damages
  • Allowed to verify wages owed
  • Subcontractors must provide payroll records upon request

Parties allowed to bring an action under this law are the Labor Commissioner, a third party owed fringe benefits or payments, or a joint labor-management cooperation committee.

An experienced California employment law attorney can discuss these employment law updates to make sure you understand what is required. Contact Kalia Law, P.C. at 650- 701-7617 today for a free consultation or fill out our contact form.

- Claire Kalia


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