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Jamerson Allen is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a contributor to the Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog. He regularly represents and advises clients in a wide variety of employment matters. He is a Co-Chair of the firm's Title III ADA Public Accommodations and California Compliance Teams.

Learn more about Mr. Allen on the Jackson Lewis website.

Effective January 1, 2018, California will be the next jurisdiction to implement statewide “ban the box” legislation.  On October 14, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1008, which prohibits pre-offer inquiries regarding applicants’ conviction histories and regulates employers in their decisions to deny employment to an applicant based on his/her conviction history. 

California may be the next jurisdiction to implement statewide “ban the box” legislation. Assembly Bill 1008 made its way from the Assembly through the Senate, and now awaits action from Governor Jerry Brown.

Prohibition Against Pre-Offer Inquiries Regarding Applicants’ Conviction History

The bill would make it unlawful under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”)

Both California and the City of Los Angeles have enacted regulations effective July 1, 2017 governing employer use of applicant and employee criminal history in making employment decisions. Below we summarize these upcoming changes as well as the City of San Francisco’s ordinance already in effect.

New California Regulations

The California Fair Employment and Housing

New California regulations declaring that “[e]mployers have an affirmative duty to create a workplace environment that is free from employment practices prohibited by” the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and that “[e]mployers have an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct” will go into effect on April 1, 2016.
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Effective January 1, 2016, California employers face a Labor Commissioner with significantly enhanced authority to enforce judgments for unpaid wages under California’s Fair Day’s Pay Act.

The new law seeks to prevent “wage theft” by authorizing the Labor Commissioner to issue stop work orders against employers (and successor employers) who have judgments against them for nonpayment of wages, to issue levies against employers’ bank accounts and accounts receivable, and to place liens against employers’ real and personal property.

The law also imposes criminal and personal liability against certain individuals acting on behalf of an employer, including owners, officers, directors, or managing agents, for various Labor Code violations. The law’s key provisions are highlighted below.


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The California Supreme Court will decide if the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) is unconstitutionally vague. In Connor v. First Student Inc., the Court of Appeal rejected an employer’s argument that the ICRAA was unconstitutional because the employer could not ascertain whether it was required to comply with it or the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act. The former governs background checks obtained from third party agencies concerning information pertaining to a consumer’s character, personal characteristics, general reputation or mode of living.  The second applies to reports containing information regarding a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit capacity or credit standing. Both Acts, however, refer to identical categories of information (for example, criminal histories, civil judgments and bankruptcies) when imposing limits on information that can be disclosed. 
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Amendments to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) regulations, going into effect on July 1, 2015, are meant to clarify a number of uncertainties, align the CFRA regulations more closely with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) regulations (where the laws are consistent), and ensure employers and employees have a clear understanding of their rights and duties under the CFRA.

Key provisions of the revised regulations are highlighted below.
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The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s website has been updated to include Frequently Asked Questions on California’s new Paid Sick Leave law, as well as a revised Wage Theft Prevention Act Notice and workplace poster. Both the Wage Theft Prevention Act Notice and workplace poster are effective January 1, 2015, even though the entitlement to

A City of Oakland ballot measure increasing the minimum wage for most employees, requiring paid sick leave and mandating payment of employer-levied service charges to employees has passed with over 80 percent of the vote. Measure FF’s provisions raising the minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave will go into effect March 2, 2015; the provision tendering payment of service charges takes effect 10 days after the Oakland City Council formally declares the election results. 

Minimum Wage Increase

Employees working at least two hours per week within the City of Oakland must be paid at least $12.25 an hour for all such work beginning March 2, 2015. Each January 1 thereafter, the required minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation. 
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A university properly terminated a professor for failing to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination after he had engaged in instances of threatening behavior, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, affirming a judgment in favor of the University of San Francisco on a professor’s alleged disability discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Kao v. University of San Francisco, No. A135750 (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 2, 2014). Significantly, the Court ruled the University was not required to engage in an “interactive process” before requesting the examination because the professor never sought any accommodation for any disability.

Background

John S. Kao was a mathematics professor at the University of San Francisco from 1991 to 2009. Beginning in 2008, Kao engaged in a series of confrontations with co-workers during which he often appeared enraged and threatening. Consequently, his co-workers became concerned for their physical safety. The University investigated, consulting with experts in threat assessment and workplace violence.
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