It is that time of year. We continue to wait for the Governor to sign or veto some controversial bills such as:
- The Stand Act (prohibiting confidentiality in harassment and sexual assault settlements); and
- AB 3080 (prohibiting mandatory arbitration for new and current employees, but presumably allowing arbitration with an opt out, and prohibiting nondisclosure of harassment issues to protect future employees going forward).
As we wait, there was one bill recently passed that clarifies a few things about California’s salary history ban that is worthy of a quick mention.
As you may recall, effective this year, employers were prohibited from asking an applicant about his/her salary history. Employers are also required to provide pay scale information to an applicant on the position applied for upon reasonable request. Recently, some of those terms have been clarified, as follows:
- First, an applicant is now defined as an individual seeking employment who is not currently employed with that employer in any capacity or position. So current employees are not entitled to pay scale information.
- Second, a reasonable request, is now defined as a request made after an applicant has completed an initial interview with the employer. This would prevent someone not qualified for a position from obtaining salary range information about it.
- Third, pay scale is defined as a salary or hourly wage range for the position. Not quite sure what the confusion was there.
- Fourth, as most of us already surmised, it is perfectly acceptable to ask an applicant about his/her salary expectations.
- And finally, while prior salary cannot justify any disparity in compensation, an employer can consider current salary as a factor to justify a wage differential as long as it is based on:
- A seniority system;
- A merit system;
- A system that measures quality or quantity of production; or
- A bona fide factor other than sex, race or ethnicity (such as education, training, or experience).
Now if only the legislature would take up some very serious issues facing employers, especially after Dyanmex (and the resulting war against contractor status), such as my personal favorite idea, to create a new category of workers called “dependent contractors”. Maybe next term. One can always hope.