First up, we have some changes in the California Labor Code. “Toya, is that anything like the Hammurabi Code?” I say no, but the answer might depend on whom you ask. In 2015, Governor Brown signed a number of bills into law, some of which affect employment relationships in California. Take a look at the new provisions of law affecting sick leave, prohibitions on retaliation, wage equity and other areas of employment.

E-verify Practices and Immigration Status

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY BILL 622 (California Labor Code Section 2814)
While the college does not use the E-verification system, you may be interested to know that under the California Labor Code it is an unlawful employment practice to use E-Verify, except when required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds. Assembly Bill 622 expanded the Labor Code’s definition of an unlawful employment practice to prohibit an employer from using the E-Verify system at a time or in a manner not required by a specified federal law or not authorized by a federal agency memorandum of understanding to check the employment authorization status of an existing employee or an applicant who has not received an offer of employment, except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds.

Gender & Pay Equity

CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL 358 (California Labor Code Section 1197.5)
The state Labor Code prohibits differences in employment compensation in the same workplace on the basis of sex for substantially the same work requiring the same skill effort and responsibility, as performed under similar conditions. This bill expanded the protection to include prohibitions on sex-based pay differences in any workplace an employer controls. The bill also requires an employer to affirmatively demonstrate that wage differentials are a function of specified factors such as a system of seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production. The bill further amended the law to prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee for seeking to enforce the provisions of the law.

Time Off for Sickness and Child’s School Activities

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY BILL 579 (California Labor Code Sections 230.8 & 233)
The state Labor Code requires employers who provide sick leave to permit employees to use up to 40 hours of sick leave to participate in their child’s school activities and prohibits discriminating or retaliating against the employee for doing so. This bill expands the activities for which an employer may use the 40 hours, including for the purposes of addressing a childcare provider emergency or a school emergency, finding, enrolling, or reenrolling of a child in a school or with a child. The bill also requires employers who grant sick leave permit employees to use paid the leave in connection being a victim of domestic violence or the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, the employee or the employee’s family member.

Employer Retaliation Against Family Member

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY BILL 1509 (California Labor Code Section 1102.5)
The state Labor Code prohibits retaliation against an employee for engaging in protected activity or making a good faith complaint. This bill extended the labor code protections against retaliation to an employee who is a family member of a person who engaged in, or was perceived to engage in, the protected conduct or who makes a complaint.

Questions? Comments? Complaints (really)? Email or call:; ext. 6832.

Affirmative Consent for Sexual Activities

CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL 967 (California Education Code Section 67386)
The California bill signed into law in 2015 requires all state colleges and universities to adopt sexual assault policies that use the “affirmative consent” standard to determine whether or not an individual complaining of sexual assault provided consent to engage in sexual activity. While media outlets have mistakenly announced the law as requiring an individual to provide a verbal yes, the language of the statute does not require verbalization. The law does, however, clearly indicate that affirmative consent means, “affirmative, conscious, voluntary agreement.”

Restricting Employer Access to Social Media (State Education and Labor Codes)

Governor Brown signed two pieces of legislation in 2012 related to Social Media. Under the new laws, both employers and college and university officials are prohibited from requiring or requesting the passwords to personal social media accounts. Employees and students also may not be asked to access their social media accounts in the presence of an employer or college official. While, no disciplinary action can be taken for an individual student or employee’s refusal to provide such passwords, nothing in the law prohibits disciplinary action that may involve social media. Violations of either of these new laws can result in civil action in which the plaintiff can be awarded a specified amount in damages and attorney’s fees and costs. (See California Education Code §§9120, 99121 & 99122 and California Labor Code §980).

Questions? Comments? Complaints (really)? Email or call:; ext. 6832.

Discrimination in State Business Establishments

UNRUH ACT EXPANSION (California Civil Code Section 51)
The Unruh Act prohibits all state business establishments from discriminating on the basis of a host of characteristics, including, race, religion, national origin, etc. Senate Bill 600 expands protections of the Act to persons regardless of citizenship, primary language, or immigration status.

Questions? Comments? Complaints (really)? Email or call:; ext. 6832.

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (Expanding Mandated Reporters)
In the wake of several scandals involving abuse of children involved in college programming, the state of California amended its Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act. Prior to the revision, the act included reporting requirements for approximately 40 categories of professionals, (e.g., teachers, doctors, etc.). The act now includes employees of post-secondary educational institutions among its list of mandatory reporters. As a result, the college has implemented its own mandatory reporting policy that you’ve received news of already. See Policies for more information.

Questions? Comments? Complaints (really)? Email or call:; ext. 6832.