San Francisco Passes Ordinance Banning Salary History Inquiries

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has passed an ordinance that will ban employers from inquiring about an applicant’s prior salary history.  The Parity in Pay Ordinance, which is expected to be signed into law shortly by the City’s Mayor, will become operative July 1, 2018. The stated purpose of the Ordinance is to narrow the wage gap between men and women, by eliminating the practice of setting current pay rates based on prior pay rates that reflect historical gender pay differentials. The Ordinance will apply to any person applying for employment where the work will be performed within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco (including temporary or seasonal work, part-time work, contracted work, and work through a temp agency) and whose application, in whole or in part, will be solicited, received, processed, or considered in San Francisco. The Ordinance will prohibit employers from (1) directly or indirectly asking an applicant about his or her salary history, (2) considering an applicant’s salary history in making hiring decisions, or (3) considering an applicant’s salary history in deciding what salary to offer the applicant. However, if the applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses his or her salary history, the employer may consider that information in setting the applicant’s salary (recognizing, of course, that under California’s Equal Pay Act, salary history by itself cannot be used to justify paying an applicant less than employees of another gender or race for doing substantially similar work). There will of course be monetary penalties for non-compliance and the threat of civil litigation.  The City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement will enforce the Ordinance, and will publish Notices... read more

California Supreme Court issues its opinion in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, clarifying California’s day of rest requirements

On 5/08/17, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, clarifying California’s day of rest requirements.  These requirements are set forth in Labor Code sections 551 and 552. Section 551 provides that “every person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven,” and Section 552 prohibits employers from “causing their employees to work more than six days in seven.”  However, Section 556 exempts employers from the duty to provide a day of rest “when the total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or six hours in any one day thereof.”  While these provisions do not appear too complicated or hard to follow at first blush, compliance has been challenged in wage and hour litigation, raising several questions of what these provisions technically mean.  Questions that have arisen include the following: What does it mean to “cause” an employee to work more than six days in seven? Is it enough to “allow” the employee to work seven days in a row, or must the employer require the employee to work more than six days in a row to be found in violation of the statute? Is the day of rest required for any consecutive seven-day work period on a rolling basis, or is it measured based on the employer’s workweek (the definition of which varies from employer to employer and may not match a calendar week)? Does the exemption from the day of rest requirement apply where the employee works 6 or less hours on at least one day during the workweek, or must the... read more

San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave Ordinance takes effect on January 1, 2017

On January 1, 2017, San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave Ordinance went into effect for employers with 50 or more employees. It will be phased in for smaller employers on July 1, 2017 (35+) and January 1, 2018 (20+). The law requires private employers to provide “Supplemental Compensation” to make up the difference between a covered employee’s regular wages and the partial wage-replacement benefits provided under California’s Paid Family Leave program, administered by the Employment Development Department, when the employee takes leave to bond with a new child. The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) has released rules clarifying Supplemental Compensation obligations, along with a new workplace poster, employee request form, and calculation... read more

California Supreme Court: On-Call Rest Breaks Are Not Permissible

Dec. 22 2016 Today the California Supreme Court issued a decision in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., holding that employers cannot require employees to remain “on-call” during rest breaks, even though these short breaks are part of the employees’ paid hours worked.  The Court held that the same standard that applies to off-duty meal breaks applies to paid rest break time.  More specifically, California law requires that during unpaid, off-duty meal breaks, employees must be relieved of all duties and free from employer control as to how they spend their time.  The Court today held that this is also true for paid rest break time and that an employer does not comply with this standard if it requires employees to remain “on-call,” i.e. viligant and available for possible interruption during rest breaks.  This ruling results in the potential reinstatement of a $90 million verdict against the security company, whose security guards remained on-call during rest breaks and carried radios or other communication devices in the event they needed to return to work.  Even though the record showed that breaks were rarely interrupted and that this on-call requirement was tied to the nature of the work as a security guard, the Court held that the on-call requirement invalidated the rest breaks. The Court reasoned: “Because rest periods are 10 minutes in length (Wage Order 4, subd. 12(A), they impose practical limitations on an employee‘s movement. That is, during a rest period an employee generally can travel at most five minutes from a work post before returning to make it back on time. Thus, one would expect that employees will... read more

Assembly Bill 1513 signed into law by Governor Brown.

AB 1513 significantly changes the requirements governing payment of piece-rate compensation and non-productive time in California beginning January 1, 2016. AB 1513 creates Labor Code section 226.2 which sets forth requirements for the payment of a separate hourly wage for rest and recovery periods and for “other nonproductive time” worked by piece-rate employees.  AB 1513 defines “other nonproductive time” as “time under the employer’s control, exclusive of rest and recovery periods, that is not directly related to the activity being compensated on a piece-rate basis.” Calculating Compensation Under AB 1513 The compensation provisions of AB 1513 require employers to separately compensate rest and recovery time and “other nonproductive time” as follows: 1. Compensate employees for rest and recovery periods at a regular hourly rate that is no less than the higher of either the applicable minimum wage or an “average hourly rate.” The “average hourly rate” is calculated as follows: [(total workweek compensation) – (rest/recovery compensation + overtime premium compensation)] ÷ [(total workweek hours worked) – (rest/recovery periods)]. 2. Compensate employees for all “other nonproductive time” at an hourly rate that is no less than the applicable minimum wage. Affirmative Defense (Safe Harbor) Labor Code section 226.2 will provide a limited safe harbor for employers that (1) have not been sued for wages, damages, liquidated damages, statutory penalties, or civil penalties based solely on the employer’s failure to compensate for rest and recovery periods and “other nonproductive time” for time periods prior to March 1, 2014, (2) come into compliance with all of the obligations described in section 226.2 by December 31, 2015, and (3) pay actual or liquidated damages by December... read more

California Fair Pay Act Signed Into Law – Governor Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act into law requiring California employers to pay women and men the same wages for similar work.

SB 358 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) – Conditions of employment: gender wage differential Existing law regulates the payment of compensation to employees by employers and prohibits an employer from conditioning employment on requiring an employee to refrain from disclosing the amount of his or her wages, signing a waiver of the right to disclose the amount of those wages, or discriminating against an employee for making such a disclosure. Existing law generally prohibits an employer from paying an employee at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions. Existing law establishes exceptions to that prohibition where the payment is made pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a differential based on any bona fide factor other than sex. Existing law makes it a misdemeanor for an employer or other person acting either individually or as an officer, agent, or employee of another person to pay or cause to be paid to any employee a wage less than the rate paid to an employee of the opposite sex as required by these provisions, or who reduces the wages of any employee in order to comply with these provisions. This bill would revise that prohibition to eliminate the requirement that the wage differential be within the same establishment, and instead would prohibit an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than... read more

New law recognizes request for accommodation on the basis of religion or disability constitutes protected activity.

New Law: Requesting Accommodation Constitutes Protected Activity Under the FEHA On July 15, 2015 Governor Brown signed into law AB 987, reversing the holding of Rope v. Auto-Clor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635, where the Court of Appeal had held, among other things, that the Plaintiff could not state a retaliation cause of action under the FEHA because his request for leave did not constitute protected activity.  AB 987 adds subsections (1)(4) and (m)(2) to Government Code section 12940, providing that a request for reasonable accommodation on the basis of religion or disability constitutes protected activity, regardless of whether the request was... read more

New Law: Requesting Accommodation Constitutes Protected Activity Under the FEHA

WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2015 New Law: Requesting Accommodation Constitutes Protected Activity Under the FEHA In Rope v. Auto-Clor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635 (discussed here), the plaintiff sued his former employer, alleging that it violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by terminating him after he requested leave from work so that he could donate a kidney to his sister. The Court of Appeal held, among other things, that he could not state a retaliation cause of action under the FEHA because his request for leave did not constitute protected activity. On July 15, Governor Brown signed AB 987, reversing this holding. AB 987 adds sub-sections (l)(4) and (m)(2) to Government Code sections 12940, providing that a request for reasonable accommodation on the basis of religion or disability constitutes protected activity, regardless of whether the request was granted. AB 987 leaves the remainder of Rope intact.The text of AB 987 is available here. MORE SHARING SERVICESSHARE|SHARE ON FACEBOOKSHARE ON MYSPACESHARE ON GOOGLESHARE ON TWITTER POSTED BY STEVEN G. PEARL AT 8:00 AM EMAIL THISBLOGTHIS!SHARE TO TWITTERSHARE TO FACEBOOKSHARE TO PINTEREST LABELS: FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING ACT (FEHA),... read more

Effective July 1, 2015, eligible employees begin accruing paid sick leave in California. 

Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522) An employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment, is entitled to paid sick leave. Employees, including part-time and temporary employees, will earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later. Exceptions: Employees covered by qualifying collective bargaining agreements, In-Home Supportive Services providers, and certain employees of air carriers are not covered by this law. An employer may limit the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in one year to 24 hours or three days. Accrued paid sick leave may be carried over to the next year, but it may be capped at 48 hours or six days.  View Link > Department of Industrial... read more

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