New Laws Every Employer Needs to Know

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Beginning January 1, 2018 three new laws went into effect that every employer in California needs to know. The new laws either affect questions an employer can ask a prospective employee or, for employers of more than 50 people, make important changes to the Parental Leave Act.

Below is information on those new laws.

New Salary History Law

A new law effective January 1, 2018 will prohibit California employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories. On October 12, 2017 Governor Jerry Brown signed a salary privacy bill, AB 168 as a means to eliminate pay gaps and gender pay inequity for employers of any size. Current California law prohibits pay discriminations, but it does not prohibit salary history inquiries or seeking benefits and other compensation data for most privately offered positions. Under the California Fair Pay Act, prior salary history may not be used as a gauge to offer employment or determining salary, although an applicant may voluntarily offer history information to a potential employer.

Below are suggested hiring practice considerations upon the enactment of this new development:

· Revise employment applications to remove requests for salary history
· Inform hiring agencies and train hiring managers to modify their hiring and screening practices for compliance and to eliminate questions about salary history, and to prepare them for permissible compensation questions and how to respond to requests for pay scale information
· Train hiring staff when and how to document when a candidate makes an unprompted disclosure of his/her salary
· Develop pay scale information for applicants upon their request
· Be aware of record keeping requirements
· Do not rely on salary history to set current compensation
· Consider posting salaries, or salary ranges, for open jobs

Salary questions and considerations to refrain from:
· What was your previous/current salary?
· How much money do you make?
· Tell me about your salary history
· What was your previous benefits package?
· How were you compensated for you time with your previous employer?
· Disclosing current or former employee’s salary history without specific written authorization
· Did/do you receive bonuses at your job?

California employers have a short amount of time remaining to ensure that your hiring process does not violate the new pay privacy law. Employers will need to protect against unintended pay inequities resulting from the recruiting process or face harsh penalties. Employers should use this time to review and modify your employment applications, interview questions, and salary formulas, update, or create, standard interview questions as well as a list of questions to stay away from. Once those interview questions are updated, educate and train every person who would have the opportunity to interview job applicants so that everyone in the hiring process may effectively evaluate candidates without creating liability for the company. A fact sheet with additional permissible and non permissible employment inquiries can be found on the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing website at:

Asking about Criminal History Restricted

California’s AB 1008, an employment discrimination and conviction history law, known as “ban the box” will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Employers will be required to consider a job candidate based on their merits and qualification’s first without indication of the applicant’s criminal record. Specifically, AB 1008 makes it an unlawful employment practice for all employers – public and private – to seek conviction history information until a conditional offer of employment is made, or to include any question seeking disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history on a job application. It establishes rules and procedures regarding how employers may consider conviction history, how employers must notify applicants who are being rejected because of conviction history, and how job applicants may conduct an appeal of the employment denial.

For more detailed information, click here.

The New Parental Leave Act

The New Parental Leave Act, as provided in SB 63 and in effect on January 1, 2018 ensures that more Californian’s can take a leave to care for a newborn without the fear of losing their jobs.

Current law requires private employers of at least 50 employees and all public employers in California to provide employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the employee’s own serious health condition, the serious health condition of certain family members, or for baby bonding after the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care.

SB 63 expands the baby bonding component of this entitlement by requiring an employer of 20 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite to allow an eligible employee, who has at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period, to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. This bill also requires these employers to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan during the duration of the leave and prohibits any retaliation against an employee for exercising their SB 63 rights. Finally, the bill established a mediation pilot program to provide for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to mediate claims arising under SB 63.

For more detailed information, click here.

Contact Mark Christian, Hon. AIACC / 916-642-1708 or Melissa Barton, / 916-642-1711 for more information about these new laws.



The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California. Founded in 1944, The AIACC's mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the National AIA organization.

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