The business litigation lawyers at Gehres Law Group, P.C. provide effective assistance in responding to allegations in civil court, as well as initiating lawsuits and other claims to proactively protect the rights of clients. Litigation can arise between a company and suppliers, employees, customers, or anyone else with whom a company has a relationship.
California’s business and employment-related laws often determine the outcome of litigation involving of all sizes. The law is constantly evolving and changing, so it is critical to retain business attorneys who stay abreast of the laws in order to understand your rights and obligations under state and federal law, and plan strategies accordingly.
As Mercury News explains, many new business and labor laws were passed in California in 2017. Employers are expected to know these laws to avoid regulatory action, to avoid litigation that could arise due to a violation, and to implement new requirements and otherwise remain compliant with our evolving regulatory environment. Some examples of new laws in California affecting businesses in 2017 include the following.
Forum Selection Laws in Employment Contracts
SB1241 is a law stipulating that an employee who lives and works in California cannot be made to sign an employment contract that specifies another forum to resolve complaints or that forces a dispute to be decided under the laws of a different jurisdiction.
The purpose of this law is to prevent employers from requiring employees to arbitrate or litigate disputes in a jurisdiction outside of the state of California. Employers could otherwise mandate employees pursue their grievances in different state courts, or could mandate an employee’s claim be decided under the laws of a different state, effectively preventing employees from receiving the benefit of their home state’s laws.
Because California laws generally are very protective of workers (while the laws of other jurisdictions may be skewed to protect big business), ensuring California claims are resolved under in-state laws and by in-state courts is a significant benefit to workers, but can also cause big headaches for California employers who do not remain current on applicable laws.
Amendments to the State’s Fair Pay Act
AB1676 and SB1063 both amend the Fair Pay Act in California. SB1063 extends the Fair Pay Act to also cover ethnicity and race, while AB1676 prohibits prior salary from being used as an excuse for an opposite-sex employee being given lower pay.
Under previous laws, employers could potentially argue they paid a woman less than a man, despite the woman doing a comparable job, because the woman’s salary in previous positions was less than the man’s salary in prior positions. This is no longer permitted as an meritorious argument in defense of pay disparity. However, other bona fide job-related reasons which may justify a company paying less compensation to a worker of the opposite gender do remain, such as differing levels of experience.
New Protections for Sexual Assault, Stalking and Domestic Violence Victims
AB2337 requires employers to provide notice to workers who are victimized by stalking, sexual assault or harassment that those employees have a legal right to take time off from work. Any business with 25 employees or more is required to provide such employees with notice of their right to time off.
Employees may take this time to obtain medical treatment, make a safety plan, undergo counseling or take advantage of other services. In addition, employers may not retaliate against or otherwise penalize employees for taking unscheduled absences due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking as long as certification is provided to the employer indicating the time was missed for a covered reason.
New Protection for Immigrants
SB1001 prohibits employers from making requests for immigration documents that are more invasive than those required by law. More specifically, an employer is not permitted to ask for any documentation related to immigration status besides the minimum mandated by state and federal laws.
Employers are also not allowed under SB1001 to refuse any documents that reasonably appear, on their face, to be genuine.
Getting Help from Business Litigation Lawyers
These are just some of the many new laws passed in California affecting the rights of employers and employees. To ensure you understand and are in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations, contact the knowledgeable and trusted attorneys at Gehres Law Group, P.C. Whether you wish to pursue a claim or need a solid defense of claims, our business litigation lawyers provide each client with effective representation at every turn and ensure our client’s interests always come first.