As we enter 2014, it is important to be aware of the new and amended employment laws that go into effect in the new year. As an employee, you should always stay up to date on your employment rights and protections so you will be able to recognize violations on the part of your employer. The following are some of the new employment law developments for 2014.
Minimum wage: The minimum wage in California will go from $8.00 per hour to $9.00 per hour in 2014. The minimum wage will increase again to $10.00 in 2016.
Sexual harassment clarification: California’s laws against sexual harassment will be amended to clarify that offending behavior need not be motivated by actual sexual desire to constitute harassment.
Whistleblowing protection: The whistleblowing laws currently prohibit retaliation against an employee who reports violations of state or federal law. The amended law will also go further to protect employees who reports violations of local rules and regulations.
Military protections: Anti-discrimination laws will now include military and veteran status to the list of protected categories. This means that employers may not discriminate, harass, or retaliate against an employee based on their current or former military action.
Immigration protections: The law prohibits employer from retaliating against an employee by threatening to report their immigration status to authorities because the employee complained of or reported employment law violations. State agencies will be able to revoke business licenses or file charges of criminal extortion against employers that violate this law.
Overtime for domestic employees: The wage and hour requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act usually do not apply to domestic workers. The new law, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, requires overtime compliance for certain domestic workers that qualify as “personal attendants.” Employers of domestic workers should examine the definitions in the law to see if it applies to them and their employees.
Heat illness recovery time: Employers may not require employees to perform work during recovery time for heat illness or exhaustion. The penalties for violating this law will be the same as for failing to provide required meal or break times.
Leave for crime victims: Employers will be required to provide job-protected time off work for victims of certain crimes to attend court proceedings that involve victims’ rights. Additionally, the law that allows leave time for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault will be expanded to protect victims of stalking, as well.
Paid family time: The Paid Family Leave laws will be expanded to provide wage-replacement benefits for employees who take qualified leave time to care for a seriously ill or injured sibling, grandchild, grandparent, or parent-in-law.
Criminal background checks: State and local agencies will be prohibited from requiring information regarding criminal convictions before determining that they meet minimum qualifications for the position, unless certain exceptions apply.
Emergency duty leave: Emergency rescue personnel and reserve peace officers will be entitled to time off work for necessary training. This law previously only applied to volunteer firefighters and law enforcement.