During the latter half of 2017, California enacted new employment laws that will affect your business’s hiring practices starting on January 1, 2018.

Employers can no longer ask applicants about prior salary. On October 12th, the governor approved AB 168 authored by Assembly member Susan Talamentes Eggman (District 13). AB 168 would prohibit an employer from relying on the salary history information of an applicant for employment as a factor in determining whether to offer an applicant employment or what salary to offer an applicant. The bill also would prohibit an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment and would require an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant for employment. The bill would not prohibit an applicant from voluntarily and without prompting disclosing salary history information and would not prohibit an employer from considering or relying on that voluntarily disclosed salary history information in determining salary, as specified.

In addition, employers can also no longer ask about a job applicant’s criminal history. On October 14th, the governor approved AB 1008 which was authored by Assembly members Kevin McCarty (District 7), Mike A. Gipson (District 64), Chris R. Holden (District 41), Eloise Gomez Reyes (District 47), and Shirley N. Weber (District 79). AB 1008 prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking about criminal history information on job applications and from asking about or considering criminal history at any time before an offer of employment has been made. There are exceptions for certain jobs where criminal background checks are required by local, state, and federal law.

Once an employer has made a conditional offer of employment, it may seek certain criminal history information. However, before denying employment because of a criminal conviction, these specific steps must be followed:

  • “The employer must first assess to determine whether the conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the job’s specific duties that justifies denying employment.
  • Any preliminary decision not to hire because of a conviction history requires written notice to the applicant, who must be given the opportunity to respond. The employer must consider any information provided by the applicant before making a final decision.
  • Any final decision or disqualification to deny employment because of the criminal conviction requires another specific written notice to the applicant.” (Read full Assembly Bill 1008, Section 2, 12952)

Currently, many employers have job applications that request a job applicant’s salary and criminal history. Those applications must be amended to remove a job applicant’s salary and criminal history before January 1, 2018. Restaurant owners should contact their human resources or labor law attorney for any changes to their hiring documents or employee manuals.

We at KROST have been helping restaurants owners and operators grow their businesses and become more profitable for more than 70 years. Please contact us for a free consultation for your restaurant or if you need a referral to one of our preferred resources.