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Be On The Lookout: New Employment Laws For 2016

A new year usually brings new laws for employers to worry about. It looks like 2016 will be no exception. This is not a complete list of every new employment law taking effect in 2016, but here are some notable ones:

  • Restrictions on E-Verify Use (AB 622; Labor Code § 2814): U.S. employers must verify that the workers they hire are authorized to work in this country. But this new statute restricts their ability to use the E-Verify system to do so. Unless required by federal law, employers can only check the status of applicants who've received an offer but have yet to start work. In addition, the employer needs to notify the workers promptly if the E-Verify system doesn't confirm that they are authorized to work in the U.S.
  • New Minimum Compensation for Exempt Computer Software Professionals (Labor Code § 515.5): Effective January 1, 2016, for computer software professionals to be exempt from overtime, they must (among other things) be paid a minimum of $41.85 per hour or $87,185.14 per year.
  • Expansion of Individual Liability for Wage Violations (SB 588; Labor Code §§ 690.020 et seq.): The "Fair Day's Pay Act" has been passed to help employees who have difficulty collecting judgments because their employers change their names or hide their assets. It allows the Labor Commissioner to conduct hearings to determine whether a "person acting on behalf of an employer" should be held personally liable for an employer's violations. The Labor Commissioner would also be able to levy those individuals' accounts or property to enforce a judgment.
  • Piece-Rate Compensation (AB 1513; Labor Code § 226.2): Under this law, no matter how much employees are paid per piece, they must also be paid for rest periods and other "nonproductive time."
  • Protection for employees when a relative working for the same employer engages in protected activity (AB 1509): Under this law, if a married couple is working for the same employer, and the husband complains of discrimination, that's not a legal basis to take action against the wife.
  • Protection for Requesting Accommodation (AB 987): This bill amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act to clarify that employers can't retaliate against employees for requesting accommodation for a disability or religious observance.

While it's extremely unlikely that a single business would be affected by all these new rules, given the breadth and scope of them taken together, it's almost certain that one of these laws will affect your business in the coming year.

This article is for education and information purposes only; it should not be construed as legal advice. If you have an employment law question for inclusion in a future article, contact Brett T. Abbott at Gubler & Abbott LLP (bta@thecalifornialawyers.com). For specific employment law advice or other legal assistance, contact Gubler & Abbott LLP, (559) 625-9600, 1110 N. Chinowith St., Visalia, CA 93291 (www.thecalifornialawyers.com).

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