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New California Laws to Protect Employees

Although there are always individual situation that remain problematic, in general, these are exciting times for California employees. The laws and the courts are becoming increasingly favorable for employees in regards to fair pay, discrimination, appropriate work leave and other important issues.

California is on the cutting edge of the entire nation in terms of employment law and protecting the rights of employees in the workplace.

Recent California Laws Protecting Potential Employee Privacy

Recently, National Law Review online explains a number of new statutes enacted to protect employee rights throughout the state.

Two new statutes of particular interest involve what information an employer can legally request from a job applicant.

First, the “ban the box” legislation protects applicants from being forced to disclose past criminal conviction history. Technically, the law is an amendment to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"). The law applies to employers of more than five employees, and it prohibits them from asking any question intended to disclose an applicant’s conviction history until the applicant has received a conditional offer.

Second, California has placed new restrictions on employers obtaining a prospective worker’s past salary history. Specifically, this new law prohibits all private and public sector employers from:

  • “relying on salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer; or
  • seeking, orally or in writing or through an agent, salary history information about an applicant.”

The obvious benefit of this new restriction is that employees won’t risk being paid less by an employer simply because their previous jobs did not pay them enough. This allows for greater freedom to negotiate better salaries for potential employees.

Both of these laws provide the workers of California tremendous freedom and benefits – and genuine empowerment – in the workplace.

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