Counting Down to 2016: Changes in Laws that Might Affect You
We hope as you prepare for 2016 you are familiar with the changes to laws that have been passed in the last year. Below are some of the changes that might affect you.
Equal Pay. As discussed in previous articles, California's equal pay laws have been strengthened. Among other things, an employer is required to show that any wage differential for substantially similar work is due to either a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by production, or a bona fide factor not based on sex. See more about the change here.
A Reasonable Accommodation Request is Protected Activity. Also as discussed previously, the Fair Employment and Housing Act now also provides that requesting a reasonable accommodation is itself protected activity--that is, it is illegal to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for requesting a reasonable accommodation. An example of such a request includes an employee requesting light duty because of a disability. See more about our efforts related to this subject here.
The Labor Commissioner Can Attach a Levy or Lien to Collect Unpaid Wages Awards. The Labor Commissioner can attach a lien or levy on an employer's property to collect an employee's judgment for unpaid wages. Also, Labor Code section 558.1 now provides that people acting on behalf of employers can be held liable as the employer for violations of minimum wage and hours laws.
Employers Have a Right to Cure Wage Statement Deficiencies. Prior to a suit being filed under the Private Attorney General Act for a violation of wage statement requirements, employers now have one chance to fix deficient wage statements as to information, such as the pay period of the statement and name and address of the employer.
Piece Rate Compensation: Rest and Recovery Breaks and Nonproductive Time Must be Compensated. Employees must be separately compensated for rest and recovery breaks and other “nonproductive” time. Wage statements must reflect this time, too. There are requirements for the amount of compensation that must be paid for each category. Also, under certain situations, an employer now has an affirmative defense if it is paying back wages to employees.