A new year means new state employment laws
As the calendar turns, companies should be educating themselves about new employment laws and regulations on the books for 2018. Understanding laws related to salary history, criminal background checks and other issues could save businesses time and hassle in the new year and beyond.
As of January 1 of this year, it is illegal for California employers to rely on past salary data as a factor in whether to offer employment to a job applicant. Unlike other past pay laws, the California law requires employers to provide a pay range for the applied-for position. Though the state's salary privacy bill applies to both men and women, the law's backers believe it will counter the type of pay discrimination that can follow women throughout their careers.
Alongside the California law, Massachusetts, Oregon, Delaware, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco and Puerto Rico have approved statutes that prohibit employers from seeking candidate salary data. The Massachusetts law, effective as of July 1, requires hiring managers to state a compensation figure up front based on a candidate's worth to the company, rather than what he or she made previously. Several new salary laws, including those passed in New York City and Pittsburgh, went into effect in 2017.
Criminal background checks
Assembly Bill 1008 extends California's existing "ban-the-box" legislation, which forbids state and local agencies from asking applicants to disclose conviction information until those individuals are determined qualified for the position. The new law expands ban-the-box to all companies with five or more workers, and brings the legislation to the entirety of the state, where previously it had been limited to 15 jurisdictions.
Under AB 1008, a candidate's criminal background is only permissible after an organization makes a conditional work offer. Once that offer is made, the employer cannot deny an applicant work based on conviction history until an individual criminal history assessment is performed.
Nevada's Assembly Bill 76, implemented on January 1, removes the duty of the state criminal records repository to provide certain information to employers. In addition, the bill makes clarifications regarding background checks on volunteers and those who work with children and the elderly.
In Illinois, the Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA) bars employers from penalizing workers who refuse to share information about their genetic history or choose not to participate in programming requiring disclosure of that data. Existing law already prohibits companies from using genetic data or testing for workplace wellness programs, unless certain conditions are met.
Among other facets of the act, employers cannot solicit, request, require or purchase genetic testing or genetic information of an employee or family member, or administer a genetic test to a worker or family member as a condition of employment or pre-employment application.
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