Hate Crimes in the Workplace are Illegal
Effective January 1, 2023, all the following acts and symbols of hate—done with the intent of terrorizing someone in the workplace—are illegal and will result in fines and imprisonment:
- Noose hanging
- Nazi swastika displaying; and
- Cross burning
Under the law, to terrorize is to cause a person of ordinary emotions and sensibilities to fear for their personal safety.
Reproductive Health Decisions
Reproductive health decisions will be added to the list of protected characteristics under California’s antidiscrimination law, which applies to employers that regularly employ five or more employees (regardless of location). Religious organizations and nonprofits are exempt.
Add reproductive health decisions to your equal employment policies.
Employers that have five or more employees will be required to provide employees with up to five days of bereavement leave for the death of a family member.
If you have five (or more) employees:
- Add a bereavement leave policy or, if you already have one, review it to ensure it satisfies the new law’s requirements.
- Update your paid sick leave policy to include bereavement for a family member as a covered reason for leave.
CFRA and Paid Sick Leave Expanded to Cover a “Designated Person”
Employees will be able to take leave under the paid sick leave law and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to care for a designated person. For both laws, the employer can limit each employee to choosing one designated person per 12-month period. For CFRA, the designated person needs to have a serious health condition and can be anyone who the employee is either related to by blood or has a close association with that is equivalent to a family relationship. For paid sick leave, the employee can choose anyone as their designated person.
Paid sick leave applies to employers of all sizes. CFRA applies to employers that have five or more employees (regardless of location). Additional details are available on the platform.
- Update your paid sick leave policy to add that employees can take leave to care for a designated person.
- Update your CFRA policy to note that employees can take leave to care for a designated person with a serious health condition.
Employee Rights During Emergency Conditions
Employees will be entitled to leave work or not come in during emergency conditions if they have a reasonable belief that the workplace is unsafe. You can require employees to provide notice in advance when feasible or, if advance notice isn’t feasible, as soon as possible. This new law specifically entitles employees to use their cell phones or other devices to get emergency assistance, communicate with someone to make sure they’re safe, or assess the safety of a situation during an emergency condition.
Review your attendance policy and, if it requires advance notice for absences, add an exception when advance notice isn’t feasible because of emergency conditions.
Limits on Tracking Employees’ Digital License Plates
A new law that will allow drivers in California to sport digital license plates equipped with GPS has a limitation that could affect employers. Specifically, employers will be allowed to use a vehicle’s digital license plate to electronically track employees only during work hours and only if “strictly necessary” to perform their job duties.
California Privacy Rights Act
The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) takes effect January 1 and amends the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which has been in effect since 2018. The amendments from the CPRA create new obligations for covered employers.
First, employers must provide an expanded notice about their privacy practices before or when collecting personal information, such as information on a job application. In addition to the current requirement to notify employees and applicants of the categories of personal information that will be collected and the purposes for which that information will be used.
Second, employers must provide employees with notice about their rights under this law, such as to delete or correct personal information.
Third, employers generally have 45 days to grant an employee’s or applicant’s request to access their personal information, correct inaccurate personal information, and delete personal information (with certain exceptions).
Call Centers Must Give Advance Relocation Notice
Effective January 1, 2023, call center employers with 75 or more employees may not order a relocation of a call center, or one or more of its facilities or operating units within a call center, unless it gives Cal-WARN Act compliant notice.