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Three recent laws have come into effect as of July 1, 2017.
Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking [California]
Transgender Identity and Expression [California]
San Francisco Minimum Wage [City and County of San Francisco]
The first one – Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking – addresses employer notice and time off. Employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking may need time off for legal proceedings, such as obtaining a restraining order or for medical treatment. Employees are entitled to use mandatory paid sick days for these purposes. Employers have various obligations related to providing such leave and are required to provide this information to new workers when hired, and to other workers who ask for it.
The second one – Transgender Identity and Expressions – further expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s (FEHA) role in preventing discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of gender identity. The new regulations specfically protect people who identify as transgender and provide protection on the basis of both gender identity and gender expression. The regulations describe some new policies that employers must implement, including the following:
Employers are now required to provide equal access to facilities regardless of the sex of the employee. Employees must be permitted to use facilities that correspond to the employee’s gender identity or expression. The regulations also address signage, advising that employers must use gender-neutral signage for single-occupancy facilities under their control and cannot require any proof of sex or gender for an employee to use a particular facility. Note that a prior law, effective March 1, 2017, requires all single-user facilities to be identified as “all-gender.”
The new regulations add a definition of “transitioning” and prohibit discriminating against an individual who is transitioning, has transitioned, or is perceived to be gender transitioning. “Transitioning” is defined as a process in which an individual begins living as the gender with which they identify and can include changes in name usage, participation in employer-sponsored activities, undergoing hormone therapy, etc.
An employer cannot impose a dress standard that is inconsistent with an employee’s gender identity or expression in the absence of a business necessity.
Preferred Name and Identity
The new regulations specify that employers must honor an employee’s request to be identified by a preferred gender, name or pronoun. Employers can only insist on using an employee’s legal name or gender if it is otherwise required to meet a legally-mandated obligation.
An employer cannot inquire or require documentation on sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression as a condition of employment.
The third one – San Francisco Minimum Wage – provides for an increase to the minimum wage in the City and Country of San Francisco. Beginning July 1, 2017, all employers must pay employees (including temporary and part-time employees) who work in San Francisco at least $14.00 per hour.
*No culpes a Mary Lou si esto es gramaticalmente incorrecto-su compañero de trabajo Julieta usó Google Translate para esta parte!
(English translation of the sentence is "Mary Lou is fluent in Spanish, including speaking and writing.")
ABL's Facebook Page now has a small assortment of videos about different aspects of Business Law. They're from our "Lunchtime Live with ABL" series, in which our lawyers give talks about different aspects of the law as they might affect your business. Current topics range from "Did You Pick the Right Business Entity" to "HR & Employment Law Tidbits for 2017." The programs often reflect a subject which we cover more extensively in our face-to-face events, but are MUCH shorter so you still have time to relax during your lunchtime (or whenever you watch the videos!).
We at ABL value the opportunity to educate folks about Business Law, and especially how the Law affects small businesses. We hope you'll take advantage of these free videos to enrich your own business operations and practices. We'll be adding to the videos monthly.
Are you interested in attending our next Lunchtime Live with ABL? Just check out our Events page to get more info!
Does all of this Holiday Hubbub have you hankering for a bit of Business Law News?
Our newsletter was published early this month, but it still makes for some interesting reading!
We're so happy to have Jackie & Juliet on the ABL Team!
Jackie is an Associate Attorney specializing in all aspects of business law. She brings with her experience in managing artists and their intellectual property, as well as representing clients in varied employment, family and business matters. She is compassionate and enjoys working directly with owners, entrepreneurs, and employees to help their small businesses and ideas succeed and grow.
Jackie received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 2004, and Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 2010. While there, she served as notes and comments editor of the Journal of Corporate, Financial and Commercial Law and earned a certificate in Intellectual Property, Information and Media Law. Prior to entering private practice, she served a one-year term as law clerk to the Honorable Mary F. Thurber, J.S.C.
Most of Jackie's free time is spent outdoors with her two dogs. She also enjoys active travels with her family, exploring new countries and cultures.
Juliet W. Hattersley
Hired as our Executive Admin, Juliet’s skill set includes almost everything in what she calls the “Word Pedant’s Gamut.” She has written articles about parliamentary process, help files, and procedural manuals; helped design disaster recovery plans; and has edited pieces ranging from novels to nonfiction. Juliet will write many of ABL’s unique newsletter articles and will be our newsletter editor. Juliet will also be the Check-in Person for our Startup Series. Need to get a hold of her? Just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juliet has been a called “a goddess of helpfulness,” and hopes this title fits both at home and at work. In her free time, Juliet writes haiku, takes Tribal Fusion belly dance classes, drinks caffeinated beverages, chews bubblegum, and hangs out with her partner, Paul, and their cats.
In the age of unlimited vacation days and companies who offer generic "paid time off" instead of traditional accrued paid vacation days, workers are less likely than ever to take the time off allotted to them. From an employer's perspective, it may seem that a workaholic employee is nothing but a boon. That's more work that gets done for less money, right?
But think again. Overwork and over-stress can lead to fatigue, illness, and just plain bad morale. A happy worker is a productive worker, and taking vacations is associated with increased happiness.
Letting an employee take vacation time is only a small part of what you can do as employer to make sure your employees are happy and productive. Creating a work environment where time off is supported and encouraged will encourage the employee to actually take that time. And if you'd like to make your employees even happier, studies show that active investment into your employees' support and satisfaction create a more productive workplace. Creating a workspace that encourages collaboration, support, mission-driven purpose, and mindfulness has been shown to increase employee happiness at work.
So next time you're thinking about cutting corners and discouraging time off or fun time in your office, think instead about the long-term benefits of loyal, happy, and healthy workers who will, in the end, increase your bottom line.
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