New California Laws for 2018


It may be cliche to say that something is as sure as death and taxes, but that's really the only way to describe California rolling out new laws. Each and every year, lawmakers go to work to make our state a better place by closing loopholes and adjusting for changing societal norms. Which brings us to a sampling of the new laws for 2018:

  • Beyond marijuana legalization. California's Prop. 64, also known as The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalized the use of marijuana for adults. Some felonies became misdemeanors. Some misdemeanors became infractions. Some past offenders will now be allowed to have their convictions expunged. You're encouraged to a have a lawyer review your conviction to determine if you're eligible for this.
  • Minimum wage. Beginning January 1, 2018, minimum wage will increase by 50 cents an hour to $11.00 an hour for companies with 26 or more employees. Smaller businesses (25 or fewer employees) will increase to $10.50. Exempt employees must be paid a salary at least double the state minimum wage, $45,760 and $43,680, respectively. (Little known fact: Per California law, sheepherders' minimum monthly salary is $1,866.88 for larger companies)
  • New parent leave. Companies with 20 or more employees must provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with their newborns, adopted or foster child.
  • Salary history. This new law prohibits employers from asking about applicant's salary, compensation and benefits history. Employers must provide the position's pay scale upon request.
  • Ban the box. This law got its name from a campaign to have employers remove the application check box asking if applicants have a criminal record. The new law requires employers to delay background checks until an offer of employment has been made. Since nearly one third of Californians have a criminal record, this can remove barriers to finding employment.
  • Immigration. Always a hot topic, there are three new immigration laws taking effect on Jan. 1:
  • Limited workplace inspections. Federal immigration agents must have a warrant before being granted access to worksite non-public areas. It is a violation of state law for an employer to voluntarily allow the access. Employees must be notified in advance of federal immigration inspection of employment records.
  • Sanctuary state. This law doesn't prevent federal agents from swooping into the state and carrying out raids, but it restricts the ability of state and local law enforcement to detain people on behalf of federal immigration agents and treats schools, courthouses and hospitals as safe zones.
  • Landlord restrictions. This law prevents landlords from disclosing tenant's immigration status to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • Enhanced retaliation law. Labor Code section 98.7 has traditionally required an employee complaint of retaliation before the Labor Commissioner could investigate. The new law, SB 306, amends that section to allow the Labor Commissioner to investigate without a complaint by the employee if retaliation or discrimination is suspected during a wage claim or investigation.

These new laws for 2018 bring a level of complexity to our state laws. Consulting an experienced legal professional is recommended whether you've run afoul of any of these new laws, or need assistance with family law or criminal defense. Your future is worth it.

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