Businesses often have trouble determining their staffing needs weeks or sometimes even days in advance due to unexpected surges or drops in clientele or unfavorable weather conditions for those working outdoors. To remedy this, employers utilize an "on call" system that allows them to overschedule employees and then cancel the shifts of any employee who is no longer needed. Those overscheduled employees, however, are often not notified until just one (1) hour before they had been scheduled to work.
We get lots of calls regarding this question and the answer is sometimes. Video surveillance laws vary from state to state, but in California it is legal in the workplace under certain circumstances.
Currently, under California's Family Temporary Disability Insurance Program, Paid Family Leave provides up to six (6) weeks of partial wage replacement to employees who take leaves of absence for specified purposes, including:
- to take care of a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner, or
- to bond with a minor child within one year of birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption.
Adding to the list of 2019 laws combatting sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement is Assembly Bill 2770 (AB-2770). AB-2770 was put forth to address concerns that the fear of defamation liability dissuades victims of sexual harassment from coming forward to make claims and dissuades employers from investigating or advising prospective employers about alleged sexual harassment.
In 2017, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 168 (AB 168) adding Section 432.3 to the Labor Code. AB 168 imposed various restrictions on employers with respect to applicants, including prohibiting employers from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment. It also prohibited employers from using that information as a factor in determining whether to offer an applicant employment, and in determining what salary to offer an applicant. (AB 168 did not prohibit applicants from voluntarily disclosing salary history information.) Further, AB 168 required employers, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant.
Existing law (Labor Code section 226) requires employers to allow current and former employees to inspect or make copies of certain payroll-related records, upon reasonable request. Employers were even allowed to charge employees for the cost of making such copies, but some employers were still requiring employees to find a way to make their own copies.
In 2017, California passed Assembly Bill 1008, better known as the "Ban the Box" law, placing various restrictions on an employer's ability to obtain information relating to an applicant's or current employee's judicially sealed or expunged convictions. An exception to those restrictions included criminal background inquiries that were required by state or federal law. This exception, however, allowed employers to run general conviction history checks and see sealed or expunged convictions beyond the disqualifying conviction they should have been looking for.
In response to the #MeToo movement, former California Governor Jerry Brown signed many bills into law protecting victims of sexual assault, including Assembly Bill 1619 (AB 1619). AB 1619 increases the statute of limitations for claims of sexual assault from two (2) years to 10 years from the date of the last act of violence, or within three (3) years from the date the victim knew or should have known that an injury or illness resulted from an act of sexual assault.
California has become the first state to require publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019. Boards with five directors will need two females and boards with six directors will need three female members by the end of 2021. Companies that fail to comply may be issued financial penalties.
The new legislation allows for boards to fulfill this requirement by creating an extra seat on the board, as opposed to removing a man already sitting on the board.
In San Francisco, California, women in the tech sector make about 6 percent less than men who perform similar jobs. This was according to data compiled by a recruiting firm called Hired. Nationally, women in the technology sector made 3 percent less than men. Where a woman worked was not the only variable that impacted the pay gap she may experience. Those who worked in Boston had a 9 percent pay gap, and that figure had not changed in the past year.
The good news is that steps were being taken to ensure that women were getting paid on par with their male counterparts. Companies were talking to more female candidates, and those candidates were getting better at asking for salaries that were on par with what their market value was. Employers were making it easier for women to learn how much they were worth by making pay information more accessible.