July 1 is the start of the state fiscal year, and with that, we are seeing some new employment law changes.

Domestic Violence Notice and Leave

Employers with 25 or more employees are required to provide job-protected leave for employees who need to take time off for (a) medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, (b) obtaining servings for domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; (c) obtaining psychological counseling for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; and/or (d) participating in safety planning or other actions (including temporary or permanent relocation) to increase safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Employers must now notify employees of those rights.  The Labor Commissioner has developed a notice for this, which can be found here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Victims_of_Domestic_Violence_Leave_Notice.pdf.

Minimum Wage Increases for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Emeryville

On July 1, minimum wages will increase for the following:

  • Emeryville, 56+ employees – $15.20
  • Emeryville, 55- employees – $14.00
  • Los Angeles, 26+ employees – $12.00
  • Los Angeles, 25- employees – $10.50
  • San Francisco – $13.00
  • Santa Monica, 26+ employees – $12.00
  • Santa Monica, 25- employees – $10.50
Criminal Background RegulationsOn July 1, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) will enforce regulations that impose additional burdens if you are using criminal background checks in employment decisions.  We send a prior Client Alert on this topic – please review if you are using criminal background checks as part of your hiring practice, and consult with an attorney about how these changes impact you.

Transgender Rights

On July 1, the FEHC will also expand upon laws related to gender identity and expression.  Transgender employees must have equal access to restrooms and other facilities, like locker rooms, dressing rooms, and dormitories, without regard to an employee’s sex at birth.  Employer may make reasonable, confidential inquiries of employees to ensure facilities are safe and adequate for use.

As of July 1, employers must also:

  • Honor an employee’s request to be identified by a preferred gender or name
  • Permit dress code standards consistent with an individual’s gender identity and gender expression
  • Expand existing gender expression, gender identity, and transgender definitions to include “transitioning” employees
  • Accept an individual’s stated sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression, and may not ask for proof