Employment Law Updates

This week’s blog will highlight two employment law updates that may impact your organization.

The first update has the potential to impact employers across the national footprint. As some may recall, back in 2016 President Obama’s administration proposed a change to the federal overtime rule which would have raised the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions from $23,660 (set in 2004) to $47,476. However, in December of 2016, a federal judge granted a permanent injunction to block the rule. The Department of Labor (DOL) appealed the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 5th Circuit stayed the appeal.

Well, the DOL has recently proposed a new federal overtime rule which appears to be a compromise between the 2016 proposal and the current salary threshold. The new proposal raises the annual white-collar exemption salary threshold to $35,308 ($679 per week). This is not final and there is not a timeline associated with the proposal. However, with the 2020 presidential election on the horizon there is a push to ensure that a final rule is in place before the next election. It is recommended that employers prepare for this change by reviewing current employee classifications, job duties and compensation practices. The new proposal is not a done deal by any means, but it is a reminder for employers to be prepared as this continues to be a focus for the DOL in 2019 and 2020.

For employers in CA, this may not have much of an impact as long as the DOL’s proposed salary threshold remains below the state’s current threshold. As of 01/01/2019, the white-collar exemption salary threshold in California is as follows:

· $49,920 for employers with 26 or more employees.

· $45,760 for employers with 25 employees or less.

Because California’s salary exemption level is directly related to the state’s minimum wage, these numbers will increase each year as the state’s minimum wage continues to rise.

The second update is specific to employers with five or more employees in California. Previously, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) developed regulations that required employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors. Once completed, supervisors would be required to be retrained every two years.

As of 01/01/2019, these guidelines have been revamped and the adjustments impact employers with five or more employees. S.B. 1343 requires employers (with five or more employees) to provide one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to nonsupervisory employees and two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisory employees. Employees and supervisors must be trained during the 2019 calendar year (by the 01/01/2020 deadline). Supervisors that previously received training (in 2018 or before) will need to be retrained in 2019, per the new guidelines. All new hires and recently promoted employees must receive training within six months. Additionally, all seasonal and temporary employees or employees hired to work less than six months, must be trained within 30 calendar days after hire or within 100 hours worked (whichever comes first).

The DFEH has provided specific requirements that must be met in order for the training to be considered compliant under the new guidelines. These requirements cover:

· Acceptable Training Methods
· Tracking Harassment Training
· Trainer Qualifications
· Contents and Subjects Covered

· Documentation and Records Requirements

Details regarding these requirements (as well as a DFEH harassment prevention toolkit) can be found on the DFEH website at: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/resources-for-employers/.

If you would like more information on these topics or other topics that may impact your organization, give us a call. We are happy to partner with you to find the solution that works best for you and your organization!


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