My colleagues and I have written about many of the new employment laws that take effect in California in 2012.  But so you don’t have to dig around, here’s a handy-dandy list of the most significant ones (with links to our earlier entries).

  • AB 22 — which restricts use of consumer credit reports.  Read about it here.
  • SB 459 — imposing new penalties for misclassifying employees as independent contractors.  Read about it here.
  • AB 887 — formalizing the prohibition against discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.  Read about it here.
  • AB 469 — the dramatically named Wage Theft Protection Act requires employers to give newly hired non-exempt, non-union employees a notice with information regarding wages and pay practices. Specifically, this notice must include the rate or rates of pay, the basis on which the wages are to be calculated (such as hourly, piece rate, commission, etc.), the applicable overtime rates, the designated regular pay day, and the name and mailing address of the employer.  Employers must also notify employees within seven days of any changes to this information. The law includes new penalties, as well, and increases the statute of limitations for the DLSE to collect statutory penalties from one to three years.  [Read an important update on this statute here.]
  • New Wage Requirements for Computer Professionals and Physicians to Be Exempt — to qualify as exempt under California law, certain computer professionals and licensed physicians must earn above a specified level.  Effective January 1, computer professionals must earn either $38.89/hr, $6,752.19/mo, or $81,026.25/yr.  Licensed physicians must earn at least $70.86/hr. 

  • SB 559 — prohibiting discrimination based on genetic information.  Read about it here.

  • SB 117 — requiring businesses with contracts with the state of California for more than $100,000 to provide equal benefits for an employee’s same-sex spouse or registered domestic partner.

  • SB 299 — requiring employers to maintain group health benefits for employees on pregnancy disability leave.

  • AB 1146 — requiring hospitals to maintain safe patient handling policies and train staff on safe lifting techniques.

No word yet on which employment laws are being taken off the books to make room for these new ones.

Sex discrimination has been illegal in this country since the 1960s.  But apparently we’re still struggling to understand what "sex" means in that context.

This week, Governor Brown signed into law AB 887.  The bill adds language to several anti-discrimination statutes, including sections of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, to define the term "sex."

"Sex" includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. "Sex" also includes, but is not limited to, a person’s gender. "Gender" means sex, and includes a person’s gender identity and gender expression.  "Gender expression" means a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.

Thank goodness we got that cleared up!