DLSE Enforcement Authority
The Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) will have broad independent authority under
Labor Code Section 98.7 to bring an action against an employer who terminates or discriminates against
an employee in violation of any law under the Labor Commissioner’s jurisdiction. The DLSE can bring an
action with or without an employee complaint.
Smoking in the Workplace
Although California already prohibits smoking of tobacco products inside an enclosed place of
employment, this new bill expands the prohibition on smoking of tobacco products to all enclosed
places of employment to all employers of any size. This law extends to owner-operated businesses, ecigarettes,
Beginning on March 1, 2017, all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment must be
identified as “All Gender” toilet facilities.
Criminal History in Applications for Employment
Beginning January 1, 2017, employers are prohibited from asking applicants to disclose, or from utilizing
as a factor in determining any condition of employment, information concerning or related to “an arrest,
detention, process, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the
person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law.”
Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking
Effective July 1, 2017, employers with 25 or more employees must provide specific information in
writing to new employees upon hire and to other employees upon request of their rights to take leave
under Labor Code Section 230.1. This bill requires that the Labor Commissioner develops a form that
employers may elect to use to comply with these provisions and to post it on the Labor Commissioner’s
website. Employers are not required to comply with the notice of rights requirement until the Labor
Commissioner posts such form.
Existing law generally prohibits an employer from paying an employee at wage rates less than the rates
paid to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work for work performance
that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility that are performed under similar working conditions.
This law now establishes that an employee’s prior salary cannot, by itself, justify any disparity in
compensation. Employers are further prohibited from wage differential based on an employee’s race or
ethnicity for substantially similar work.
Itemized Wage Statements
This bill clarifies that Section 226 does not require employers to include in itemized wage statements
the total number of work hours by an exempt employee. Employers must continue to include the total
hours worked by non-exempt employees in the itemized wage statements for each pay period.
Employers are prohibited from doing any of the following: (a) requesting more or different documents
than are required under Federal law, (b) refusing to honor documents tendered that on their face
reasonably appear to be genuine, (c) refusing to honor documents or work authorization based upon
the specific status or term of status that accompanies the authorization to work, (d) attempting to
reinvestigate or reverify an incumbent employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigrationrelated
Minimum Wage Violations
Effective January 1, 2017, employers, prior to appealing a citation by the Labor Commissioner against
the employer for violation of wage and hour laws, must post a bond with the Labor Commissioner in an
amount equal to the unpaid wages assessed under the Labor Commissioner’s citation, excluding
penalties. The bond must be in favor of the employee and will be forfeited to the employee if the
employer fails to pay the amounts owed within 10 days from the conclusion of the proceedings.
Choice of Law and Forum in Employment Agreements
This bill prohibits employers from requiring California-based employees to enter into agreements
(including arbitration agreements) requiring them to: (1) adjudicate claims arising in California in a non-
California forum; or (2) litigate their claims under the law of another jurisdiction, unless the employee
was represented by counsel. Any provision of a contract that violates this new law is voidable by the
employee. Any dispute arising thereunder shall be adjudicated in California under California law and
the employee is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees.
For further clarification on any of these laws and best practices for implementation, please feel free to contact us at Missionwell. We would be happy to tackle these areas so you can get back to doing your mission well.
Kenny Ahn | firstname.lastname@example.org | Head of HR| www.missionwell.com