2018 New Year’s Legislative Changes

February 12, 2018 | Ryan Kagarakis

A new year brings many resolutions and changes to our society. People generally want to be healthier and achieve more when the new year starts. The California legislation also brings in new laws and bills when the clock strikes midnight. Below are a few bills that went in to effect on January 1st :

Assembly Bill 1008 – “Ban the Box”

This new law now prohibits private employers with five or more employees from inquiring about the criminal history of an applicant during the interview process. Employers cannot include any questions that seek the disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history before the employer makes a conditional offer of employment. Any questions or “boxes” that ask about criminal history must be eliminated. Employers are allowed to advise the applicant that an inquiry in to their criminal history may be performed after a conditional offer is made. If an inquiry in to an applicant’s background uncovers criminal activity the employer must notify the applicant in writing if they are to pull the offer. The employer must offer an individual assessment to the applicant and give them a chance to refute or contest the findings. The employer must analyze whether the conviction has an adverse impact on the job duties. If the employer decides to rescind the offer of employment after the assessment they must notify the applicant in writing.

Assembly Bill 168 – “No Salary History Inquiries”

Starting in 2018 employers are no longer allowed to seek salary history information from an applicant as a condition for employment. Employers cannot rely on salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment or what salary to pay. Furthermore, an employer must provide pay scale information to an applicant upon reasonable request. If an applicant voluntarily offers salary history the employer can consider that information in determining salary but cannot use it when considering to offer employment.

Senate Bill 306 – “Retaliation “

This bill provides “injunctive relief” in employment practices cases. Injunctive relief is a court order that forces an employer to reinstate an employee while the case against them is pending. Essentially, if an employee is fired and then sues for retaliation they can get an injunctive relief and continue to work and be a negative influence around other employees until the matter is resolved. Furthermore, this bill lowers the burden of proof by making the requirement for an injunctive relief to be “reasonable cause”. This will likely increase the amount demanded in a settlement since the plaintiff’s attorney can now threaten to reinstate the employee while the case is pending.

These bills along with the public attention from recent scandals in Hollywood are more than likely to increase the number of claims made against employers. We are urging employers to be proactive in their approach to employment practices and take extra precaution when making hiring, firing, and disciplining decisions. As always, we recommend addressing any specific questions or concerns that you may have regarding this topic with an insurance professional and/or an attorney specializing in labor matters.


Ryan Kagarakis
Commercial Insurance Broker at Brown & Brown Inc.

Phone: 916.625.4616 | Direct Fax: 800.761.6733