California has taken several steps recently to make pay more equitable. For example, the Equal Pay Act was amended in 2016 to safeguard against wage discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity and to make it harder to pay men more money than women for doing substantially similar work. Similarly, as of 2018, California employers cannot use your previous salary to determine how much to pay you now unless you offer the information “voluntarily and without prompting.” That means employers cannot ask you in a job interview how much you currently make.
The 2017 fiscal year for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ended on Sept. 30. According to the EEOC, retaliation charges were the most common filings with 41,097 received during that time period. There were a total of 28,528 charges related to race and another 26,838 were related to disability. Altogether, the EEOC received 84,254 workplace discrimination charges in California and elsewhere for fiscal year 2017, and the agency was able to resolve 99,109 charges in that same time period.
If you live and work in California, it is important that you understand the new employment laws that went into effect at the beginning of the year and that you recognize how they might impact you. From the types of questions potential employers can ask during your interview to your options as far as taking leave from your place of employment, the state’s laws have undergone numerous changes in recent months.
Most California companies must follow the Fair Labor Standards Act when designating employees as exempt or nonexempt. Labeling a worker as a manager is not sufficient to meet the laws that govern whether a person receives overtime pay. Rules guiding these designations vary by industry, but the duties of the employee actually determine job classification instead of an employer’s arbitrary decision or belief.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers in California and around the country to pay their workers overtime when they work more than 40 hours during a workweek, but employees who perform bona fide administrative, executive or professional duties are not covered by the landmark 1938 federal law. The statute does not clearly define what makes a position a white-collar job, and the courts have generally ruled that workers are covered by the FLSA unless their duties plainly and unmistakably fall within the exemption.
Employees of Dave & Buster’s successfully sued the chain for intentionally cutting hours to avoid the Affordable Care Act health insurance mandate. In the lawsuit, they used an unusual approach to advance their argument. Because it may be the first successful suit of its kind, its effect could be felt in California and elsewhere around the country.