Are You in the Know on the Latest HR Developments?

06.30.20Baylee Davies

New Protections for LBGTQ Employees

In recent news, a groundbreaking decision came out of the US Supreme Court. In one of the most significant employment-related decisions in some time, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees who are LBGTQ from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The Court reasoned that if an employee is treated differently for being homosexual or transgender, the employer is intentionally discriminating against the employee for traits or behavior it would not question in members of different sex.

While many states have employment protections in place for LBGTQ employees, this extends that protection to all employees, including those in states without these laws. Currently, 21 states have LBGTQ anti-discrimination laws on their books.

Does this mean that you need an Employee Handbook update?  Possibly!  Employers should review all policies, including those in their Employee Handbook to ensure they comply with this new ruling. You should also look at your training programs to see if they need any modifications or if you need to add new training for your managers and employees on diversity and inclusion. Any manager that participates in interviewing applicants, disciplines employees, or performs internal investigations should understand how this impacts the way they conduct those activities.

SDHR Consulting is here to help!  We are the experts on developing compliant Handbooks and policies and providing training programs that truly engage your employees using interactive and informative workshops!

New California Regulations on Pre-Employment Practices

Effective July 1, 2020, new California Fair Employment and Housing Act regulations add more specifics to what could be considered religious, disability or age discrimination during the recruiting and hiring process.  

To avoid discriminating against applicants during the hiring process, employers should be careful about requesting scheduling information to determine if the person’s religious creed, disability or medical condition would preclude them from working on certain days or at certain times. This applies to the Application and any pre-interview screening questions as well as questions asked during an interview. The employer should make it clear that the applicant does not need to provide any information about time off they need related to their religion, disability or medical condition when answering questions about their schedule availability.

In regards to age discrimination, employers should not ask applicants their age for any reason or when they graduated from school. Employers should also be careful with the language they use in a job posting unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification for the position. Using a maximum experience limitation or using terms like ‘recent college graduate’ or ‘digital native’ could appear as if the employer is only looking for applicants who are younger or trying to limit applicants over the age of 40 from applying.

Employers should review their recruiting and hiring process and documents to ensure employees who are involved in the selection process are aware of these regulations.  SDHR Consulting can help with providing a compliant recruitment process including a job application, interview forms and training your hiring managers on how to interview legally as well as how to select the best candidates for their open positions.

Mid-Year Minimum Wage Increases Heading Your Way!

While most new minimum wage rates are effective at the beginning of the year, there are several new increases that are sprinkled later in the year that employers must be aware of.  Below is a sampling of the increases employers can expect very soon.

Our knowledgeable HR Consultants can help you determine the best way to implement, manage wage issues, and communicate these increases to your employees.

California – Several Cities and Counties Have Minimum Wage Increases Effective July 1st, 2020

Cities/CountiesNew Minimum Wage Rate
Fremont$15.00 (Large Employers), $13.50 (Small Employers)
Los Angeles County$15.00 (Large Employers), $14.25 (Small Employers)
Novato$15.00 (Very Large Employers), $14.00 (Large Employers), $13.00 (Small Employers)
San Francisco$16.07
San Leandro$15.00
Santa Rosa$15.00 (Large Employers), $14.00 (Small Employers)

Outside of California 

  • Connecticut – Minimum wage will increase to $12.00 starting September 1st, 2020.
  • Illinois State – Minimum wage will increase to $10.00 starting July 1st, 2020.
  • Chicago, Illinois – Starting July 1st, 2020, minimum wage will increase to $14.00 for employers with more than 20 employees and $13.50 for employers with 4 to 20 employees.
  • Montgomery County, Maryland – Starting July 1st, 2020 minimum wage will increase to $14.00 for employers with more than 50 employees, $13.25 for employers with 11 to 50 employees and $13.00 for employers with 10 or fewer employees.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota – Starting July 1st, 2020 minimum wage will increase to $13.25 for employers with more than 100 employees and $11.75 for employers with 100 or fewer employees.
  • Nevada – Starting July 1st, 2020, minimum wage for employees who do not receive benefits will increase to $9.00 and to $8.00 for employees with benefits.
  • Oregon- Minimum wage will increase to $12.00 starting July 1st, 2020.
  • Washington DC – Minimum wage will increase to $15.00 starting July 1st, 2020.
Update on California’s AB5 – Proposed Changes to the Independent Contractor Rules – Stay Tuned!

Over 30 independent pieces of legislation have been introduced in Sacramento related to changes proposed for AB5. Most of these would expand the list of occupations a company can consider to be an independent contractor. 

There were a few other bills designed to change AB5 or to change worker classifications in California. For example, one of the bills introduced would repeal AB5 and replace it with a looser standard. Another bill would add a third classification of ‘independent workers’ for those who voluntarily choose it and would include some basic rights and protections such as minimum wage and occupational accident coverage.

This is a complex and ever-evolving part of employment law that companies need to ensure they understand, as misclassification can cause major fines and headaches for the employer. SDHRC can help audit your employee and independent contractor statuses’ and ensure you are compliant and up to date on the most current legislation around this.

About the Author

Traci Hagan, “Treasure Trove”

Traci is an HR Consultant who has been with SDHRC for over 2 years but has over 32 years of experience in employee relations, conflict resolution benefits administration, training and development, workers’ comp and staffing! Traci is also a Professor who enjoys traveling and spending time with her 16-year-old “puppy”.