New California Labor Laws Affecting The Recycling Industry In 2018

With the New Year just around the corner, businesses across all sectors, including the recycling industry, should be aware of the changes in California’s labor laws slated for 2018. Here are the new employment laws California companies can expect in 2018:


Assembly Bill No. 168: Bans Inquiries into Applicant’s Salary History


AB 168 forbids employers from asking, either orally or in writing, applicants about previous compensation, including salary, hourly wage, and benefits, and prohibits employers from using compensation history in their consideration to hire the applicant or what salary to offer them.


However, the bill does not prohibit applicants from disclosing, both voluntarily and without prompting, their salary history.


Assembly Bill No. 450: Immigration Worker Protection Act


Existing immigration laws were created to protect immigrants from undue retaliation for exercising certain rights, such as reporting violations of labor codes. AB 450 strengthens these protections by prohibiting employers from (1) granting federal immigration enforcement officials access to private or non-public workplace areas without a warrant and (2) handing over employee records to these officials without a court order or subpoena.


Penalties for violations will be $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.


Assembly Bill No. 1008: Prohibits Conviction History Disclosure on Applications


AB 1008 amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to forbid employers with five or more workers from including questions regarding conviction history on applications. Instead, employers can only seek criminal history via a background check after considering an applicant’s credentials for conditional employment.


If an employer plans to deny employment to an applicant based in any part on their conviction history, they must first consider whether their criminal history will impact fulfillment of their job duties. For example, a person’s criminal past may be a liability for a business if their history proved they were unfit for the job (e.g. a convicted rapist hired for a job allowing access to private residences). Employers would also have to provide written notification with specified reasons to applicant, who then has the right to contest the accuracy of their conviction history.


Senate Bill No. 63: New Parental Leave Act


The current California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires companies with 50 or more employees to allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave to care for their (1) newborn baby or newly adopted or fostered child, (2) parent or spouse with serious health condition, or (3) themselves in the event they are suffering from a debilitating medical condition preventing them from completing their job duties.


The New Parental Leave Act extends these rights to employees of small businesses, specifically companies with at least 20 workers located within a 75-mile radius.


Senate Bill No. 94: Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act


SB 94 goes into effect January 1st, 2018, allowing individuals 21 years of age or older to purchase marijuana with a photo ID. Employers will still be able to enforce a drug free policy. Employers should release a “statement of reaffirmation” reminding workers that despite legalization of recreational marijuana, use and possession of the drug is not permitted while clocked in or on company property. Employers should also consider how to handle testing after an accident, as traces of marijuana linger in the body far longer than alcohol.


Senate Bill No. 396: Harassment Training on Gender Identity, Expression, and Sexual Orientation


California’s FEHA requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment education to all managers within 6 months of taking on a supervisory position. Training is to be repeated once every two years.


SB 396 expands sexual harassment training to include discussion of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.


This is just a quick overview of what most businesses in California can expect in 2018. To ensure compliance with all facets of the new labor code, employers should seek legal consul and the guidance of experienced industry insiders.


If you own a recycling business and would like to ensure your operating at optimal conditions while also observing your legal obligations, contact Berg Mill Supply Co. We can implement and manage a recycling program that both complies with updated employment laws and generates maximum revenues.