Continuing its tradition of passing pro-employee laws, the California General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, several workplace measures this session.
Larger companies with operations in Orange County and other parts of this state should pay careful attention as these laws start to take effect.
Some of these new laws might open companies up to discrimination suits
A couple of these laws could open employers up to discrimination lawsuits.
Starting in January, employers may not discriminate against their workers for decision workers’ decisions to use marijuana and related drugs on their own time. Recreational cannabis has been legal in California for several years now.
While employers can discipline employees for being under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, the practical problem is that it is hard to confirm whether an employee is actually under the influence of marijuana.
Another significant development is that California has joined a couple of other states in requiring all large employers to disclose salary ranges in their job postings.
A big question about this new law is whether the additional information will document how many of this state’s employers are not paying equally based on race, gender and the like. People monitoring this information may use it to accuse California employers of discrimination based on pay.
Being proactive about new legal developments is a smart approach
As a starting point, established California businesses should begin preparing for these new employment measures to take effect now.
For example, they should prepare to report salary information and understand that this information will be available to the public.
If in the course of preparing to follow this law, the employer finds some potential issues with their pay structure, they should make the necessary changes early.
Even with good preparation, though, litigation is still possible. A company may need to call upon an experienced employer defense team to help the company protect its rights and legitimate business interests against lawsuits from employees.