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Employee Communications: California

Employee Communications requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Alice Wang, Fisher Phillips

Summary

Effective Workplace Communication

Employers that effectively communicate with their employees cultivate a healthier work culture, and build professional relationships on trust and reliability, which in turn affects productivity and growth. The leadership team and supervisors have a significant impact on workforce development and employee performance. Whether the impact is positive or negative is often the direct result of communication management.

Communications and Training

California law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors. +Cal Gov Code § 12950.1.

In addition, California employers must train employees on safety and hazards requirements. See Communications in Postings Required by California Law; HR and Workplace Safety: California.

Communicating Employer Expectations and Work Rules

California law includes a presumption that employment is at-will. +Cal Lab Code § 2922; Employment At-Will: California.

Communications in Postings Required by California Law

California law requires postings for all workplaces. These postings are commonly called employment law posters or labor law posters. Employers should update their postings in accordance with state and federal law. There are also a number of local requirements. See Local Requirements.

A California employer should post a Spanish version of a poster in work sites where there are Spanish-speaking employees. See, e.g., +8 CCR 9881; +8 CCR 9883 (Department of Industrial Relations workers' compensation regulations). An issuing agency may publish versions of posters in other languages; best practices dictate that an employer should post any version of a language spoken at a particular work site. However, if ten percent of the workforce at a work site speak a particular language, and a version of the poster is available in that language from the issuing agency, then an employer should post the notice in that version. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) works with employers if translations that are not currently available are needed.

Fines of up to $7,000 can be imposed for workplaces not posting the current required posters.

In California, all employers must post information regarding the following:

Employers in California with five or more employees must also provide postings with information concerning Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) and the rights and protections provided by the PDL.

Employers with 50 or more employees and all public agencies, and employers with at least 20 employees covered under the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA), should post the California Joint Notice for Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability Leave Poster, which includes information on the following:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), See FMLA: California;
  • Family and Medical Leave Act/California Family Rights Act (CFRA);
  • NPLA; and
  • Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). See Other Leaves: California.

See +2 CCR 11087; +2 CCR 11095.

Cal-OSHA and OSHA both require workplaces to train employees on all occupational hazards to which they are exposed. This could potentially include dozens of topics, but most commonly includes five to 10 safety topics per employee. It is the responsibility of the employer to determine which safety hazards are present in their workplace and to:

  • Eliminate the hazard; or
  • Train employees about the hazard.

All employers using hazardous or toxic substances must provide information about the rights of employees working with hazardous and toxic substances. Further, employers with employees operating industrial type equipment or machinery, e.g., forklifts, trucks or tractors, must post and enforce operating rules to ensure safety compliance. These operating rules must be posted in languages commonly spoken and read by the employees. Finally, the Department of Industrial Relations makes available certain resources recommended for posting or distribution (e.g., California Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries in Housekeepers Poster).

California establishments licensed by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) must post a notice regarding workplace rights and wage and hour laws. A violation of that posting requirement is punishable as an administrative fine.

State Smoking and E-Cigarette Laws

California employers are subject to the state smoke-free workplace law, and should take reasonable steps to prevent smoking in enclosed spaces in places of employment. This includes posting clear and prominent "No Smoking" signs, as follows:

  • Where smoking is prohibited throughout the building or structure, a sign stating "No Smoking" must be posted at each entrance to the building or structure; and
  • Where smoking is permitted in designated areas of the building or structure, a sign stating "Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas" must be posted at each entrance to the building or structure.

+Cal Lab Code § 6404.5.

The California smoke-free workplace law also bans e-cigarettes from enclosed workplaces. +Cal Lab Code § 6404.5; +Cal Bus & Prof Code § 22950.5.

California's smoking in the workplace law includes an owner-operated business as a place of employment. An owner-operated business means a business having no employees, independent contractors, or volunteers, in which the owner-operator of the business is the only worker.

Enclosed space includes:

  • Covered parking lots;
  • Lobbies;
  • Lounges;
  • Waiting areas;
  • Elevators;
  • Stairwells; and
  • Restrooms.

Under the amendments, the following spaces are no longer exempt from the smoke-free workplace law:

  • Hotel lobbies;
  • Bars and taverns;
  • Banquet rooms;
  • Warehouse facilities; and
  • Employee break rooms.

The definition of tobacco products includes electronic devices such as electronic cigarettes that deliver nicotine or other vaporized liquids. +Cal Bus & Prof Code § 22950.5. Therefore, existing law regarding smoking restrictions in particular locations (e.g., workplaces) is expanded to include electronic cigarettes.

Finally, the law seeks to harmonize any existing municipal smoking restrictions and, therefore, suspends their enforcement while the statewide smoking ban is in effect.

California Paid Sick Leave Law

California has passed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. +Cal Labor Code § 245. Subject to certain exceptions, a California employee who has worked 30 or more days in California within a year of employment accrues paid sick leave. An employee is entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.

A covered employer must conspicuously display a poster containing the following information:

  • An employee is entitled to accrue, request and use paid sick days;
  • The amount of sick days provided under the Act;
  • The terms of use of the paid sick days; and
  • Retaliation and discrimination protections for employees who exercise rights under the Act.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has made a model notice available to employers.

An employer that violates the posting requirements of the Act will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $100 per offense.

In addition, an employer will have to provide information regarding the state's paid sick leave law to new hires.

The Labor Commissioner will enforce the Act's requirements.

Transgender Rights

California requires all employers to post a notice developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace. +2017 Bill Text CA S.B. 396.

Human Trafficking Notice

Certain California employers must post a notice that contains information regarding slavery and human trafficking. +Cal Bus & Prof Code § 23000. These employers include:

  • On-sale general public premises licensees under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act;
  • Adult or sexually oriented businesses;
  • Primary airports;
  • Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations;
  • Bus stations;
  • Truck stops, defined as a privately owned and operated facility that provides food, fuel, shower or other sanitary facilities, and lawful overnight truck parking;
  • Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals;
  • Urgent care centers;
  • Farm labor contractors;
  • Privately operated job recruitment centers;
  • Hotels, motels and bed and breakfast inns, not including personal residences;
  • Roadside rest areas; and
  • Businesses or establishments that offer massage or bodywork services for compensation.

+2017 Bill Text CA A.B. 260.

California requires that the existing human trafficking notice be updated to specify that a person can also text a specific number for services and support, and, as of January 1, 2019, the Department of Justice has revised the names of the nonprofit organizations listed in the notice. +2017 Bill Text CA S.B. 225. Any business or establishment that is required to post the model notice should post the updated version beginning January 1, 2019.

Failure to comply with these notice-posting requirements may result in a civil penalty of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. An employer will be provided with an opportunity to correct the violation within 30 days.

Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Policy

An employer must develop a harassment, discrimination and retaliation policy that:

  • Is in writing;
  • Lists all current protected categories covered under the Act;
  • Indicates that the law covers co-workers, third parties, supervisors and managers;
  • Creates a complaint process;
  • Provides a complaint process that does not require an employee to complain to his or her immediate supervisor;
  • Instructs supervisors to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative, such as HR, so that the employer may try to resolve the complaint internally;
  • States that fair, timely and thorough investigations will be conducted with respect to misconduct allegations;
  • States that confidentiality will be kept by the employer to the extent legally permissible; and
  • States that if at the end of an investigation misconduct is found, appropriate measures will be taken.

An employer should disseminate the policy by:

  • Printing and providing a copy to all employees with an acknowledgment form for the employees to sign and return;
  • Sending the policy via e-mail with an acknowledgement return form;
  • Posting current versions of the policy on an intranet with a tracking system ensuring all employees have read and acknowledge receipt of the policies;
  • Discussing policies upon hire or during onboarding sessions; or
  • Any other way that ensures employees receive and understand the policy.

An employer must translate the policy into a language other than English if 10 percent or more of the workforce at any facility or establishment speaks that language.

Single-User Restroom Signage

All single-user restrooms in any business establishment, place of accommodation or government agency must be identified as all-gender toilet facilities, and designated for use by no more than one occupant at a time or for family or assisted use.

The business must post a restroom sign that complies with the state Building Standards Code. The Division of the State Architect (DSA) has provided guidance stating that an employer should use a geometric symbol on the door that is an equilateral triangle superimposed onto a circle. In certain circumstances, the signage must comply with additional requirements, such as accessibility requirements.

The law defines a single-user toilet facility as a toilet facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with a locking mechanism controlled by the user.

Immigration Worksite Enforcement Requirements

California's Immigrant Worker Protection Act (IWPA) imposes requirements and prohibitions on employers that become subject to an immigration worksite enforcement action. See Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: California; +2017 Bill Text CA A.B. 450. The IWPA contains notice-posting requirements.

Specifically, within 72 hours of receiving a federal notice of inspection, an employer must post a notice containing the following information:

  • The name of the immigration agency conducting the inspections of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records;
  • The date that the employer received notice of the inspection;
  • The nature of the inspection to the extent known; and
  • A copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Eligibility Verification forms for the inspection to be conducted.

The notice must be posted in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment information. The Labor Commissioner has made available English and Spanish versions of the notice for use by employers.

An employer, upon reasonable request, may provide an affected employee with a copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms.

Cal Labor Code § 90.2 (a).

Additional notice requirements apply to employers with respect to an affected employee and/or his or her representative. See Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: California.

The law defines affected employee as an employee identified by the immigration agency inspection results to be an employee who may lack work authorization, or an employee whose work authorization documents have been identified by the immigration agency inspection to have deficiencies.

An employer that fails to provide the required notices may be subject to a civil penalty of $2,000 to $5,000 for a first violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for each subsequent violation. The law does not require a penalty to be imposed upon an employer or person who fails to provide notice to an employee at the express and specific direction or request of the federal government.

Restricting Employee Communications

Wage Information

California employers may not prohibit their employees from disclosing the amount of their wages. +Cal Lab Code § 232.

Equal Pay Amendments

California has enhanced its equal pay protections. +Cal Lab Code § 1197.5 (j) (1). The amendments prohibit an employer from restricting an employee from disclosing his or her own wages, discussing the wages of others, inquiring about another employee's wages or aiding or encouraging any other employee to exercise his or her rights with respect to equal pay.

Use of Mobile Devices

California drivers are restricted from using mobile devices as follows:

  • Adult drivers must use hands-free devices. +Cal Veh Code § 23123.
  • Drivers who are minors may not use mobile phones while driving. +Cal Veh Code § 23124.
  • Drivers may not use any mobile device for text-based communications while driving, and may not use devices in a manner that would require anything more than a single swipe or tap of the driver's finger. +Cal Veh Code § 23123.5.
  • School bus operators and bus drivers may not use mobile phones while driving. +Cal Veh Code § 23125.

Communicating Sensitive Information

A right to privacy exists under the California Constitution. +Cal Const, Art. I § 1.

California favors employee mobility. California laws are very restrictive regarding noncompete agreements and restrictive covenants. Cal Bus & Prof §§ 16600 - 16607; see D'Sa v. Playhut, Inc., +85 Cal.App.4th 927 (Cal. Ct. App. 2000). California law also prohibits written employment agreements containing any illegal provisions. +Cal Lab Code § 432.5. An employer's attempts to enforce a noncompete clause could lead to an unfair competition claim. +Cal Bus & Prof Code § 17200.

Given California's less favorable approach in enforcing noncompete agreements for employers, employers should be careful and cautious when disseminating confidential, proprietary and secret information. California law defines a trade secret as information that:

Employers should require employees who may be provided confidential information during the course of employment to sign an acknowledgment that he or she:

  • May receive confidential or sensitive information;
  • Understands that it is confidential, proprietary, and secret information;
  • Will not disclose the information to the general public or otherwise share the information without authorization; and
  • State and agree that he or she has a duty to protect any and all confidential, proprietary, and secret information both during the course of employment and after leaving the employer, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the end of the employment relationship.

Additionally, employers should install standard operating procedures in safeguarding sensitive information. For example, employers should only provide portions of the confidential, proprietary or trade secret information on a need to know basis to employees who actually need the information to perform work and conduct business.

Finally, during exit interviews, employers should have all employees execute an acknowledgment or affidavit stating that he or she:

  • Understands that certain information learned during the course of employment is confidential, proprietary and secret;
  • Has returned any confidential, proprietary and secret information; and
  • Will not divulge or disseminate confidential information after the cessation of employment.

Confidentiality and Settlement Agreements

California law makes void and unenforceable any provision in a contract or settlement agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2019, that waives a party's right to testify in an administrative, legislative or judicial proceeding when required or requested under a court order, subpoena or written request from an administrative agency or the legislature, concerning alleged criminal conduct or alleged sexual harassment on the part of:

  • The other party to the contract or settlement agreement; or
  • Agents or employees of the other party.

+2017 Bill Text CA A.B. 3109, adding Cal Civ Code § 1670.11.

In exchange for a raise or a bonus, or as a condition of employment or continued employment, an employer may not require an employee to sign:

  • A release of claim or right. A release of claim or right includes requiring an individual to execute a statement that he or she does not possess any claim or injury against the employer or other covered entity, and includes the release of a right to file and pursue a civil action or complaint with, or otherwise notify:
    • A state agency;
    • Other public prosecutor;
    • Law enforcement agency; or
    • Any court or other governmental entity; or
  • A nondisparagement agreement or other document that purports to deny the employee the right to disclose information about unlawful acts in the workplace. Unlawful acts in the workplace includes information pertaining to sexual harassment or any other unlawful or potentially unlawful conduct.

This prohibition does not apply to a negotiated settlement agreement to resolve an underlying claim that has been filed by an employee:

  • In court;
  • Before an administrative agency;
  • Alternative dispute resolution forum; or
  • Through an employer's internal complaint process.

The law defines negotiated as an agreement that:

  • Is voluntary;
  • Is deliberate;
  • Is informed;
  • Provides consideration or value to the employee; and
  • Provides notice to the employee so that he or she:
    • Has the opportunity to retain an attorney; or
    • Is represented by an attorney.

Any agreement or document that is in violation of the law is deemed contrary to public policy and, therefore, unenforceable.

+2017 Bill Text CA S.B. 1300, adding Cal Gov Code § 12964.5.

With respect to settlement agreements, any provision that prevents the disclosure of factual information related to a claim filed in a civil action or a complaint filed in an administrative action, regarding any of the following, is prohibited:

  • An act of sexual assault;
  • An act of workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex, or failure to prevent an act of workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex or an act of retaliation against a person for reporting harassment or discrimination based on sex, as described in +Cal Gov Code § 12940.

However, at the claimant's request, a provision that shields the identity of the claimant and all facts that could lead to the discovery of his or her identity, including pleadings filed in court, may be included within a settlement agreement. (However, this exception does not apply if a government agency or public official is a party to the settlement agreement.)

As of January 1, 2019, any provision that violates this law is void as a matter of law and against public policy.

+2017 Bill Text CA S.B. 820, adding Cal Civ Pro Code § 1001.

Communications During and After Employment

Employers must be very cautious to ensure that all communication is nondiscriminatory and nonharassing, and cannot be perceived to discriminatory or harassing based on a protected category. See EEO - Discrimination: California. In addition, a California employer may not maintain a blacklist of employees, in order to prevent certain employees from obtaining employment. +Cal Lab Code § 1050. The blacklisting prohibition also limits the use of employee or applicant photographs or fingerprinting. +Cal Lab Code § 1051.

Generally speaking, most claims are brought after an employee is no longer with the employer. California employers enjoy a qualified privilege in defamation claims under the state's job reference immunity statute. +Cal Civ Code § 47(c); Neal v. Gatlin, +35 Cal App 3d 871 (Cal App 5th Dist 1973).

An employer may disclose information to a prospective employer requesting employee job performance, qualifications or rehire eligibility information if the response is made without malice and "based on credible evidence." +Cal Civ Code § 47(c).

Effective January 1, 2019, legislation aims to protect both victims of sexual harassment and employers in defending against defamation claims brought by alleged sexual harassers. California law extends the definition of privileged publication or broadcast to include:

  • A complaint of sexual harassment by an employee, made without malice; and
  • Communications between the employer and interested persons, without malice, regarding a complaint of sexual harassment.

The amendments also authorize a current or former employer, or the employer's agent, to answer, without malice, whether or not the employer would rehire a current or former employee and whether the decision to not rehire is based upon the employer's determination that the former employee engaged in sexual harassment.

+2017 Bill Text CA A.B. 2770, amending +Cal Civ Code § 47.

In order to minimize liability with respect to defamation claims, employers should implement a standard policy that when employees depart from the organization, the employer will only provide the:

  • Dates of employment;
  • Position or positions held by the employee; and
  • Last rate of pay.

Local Requirements

Alameda Minimum Wage Ordinance

Alameda has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. Alameda, California Code of Ordinances Section 4-60.50, as enacted by Ordinance 2018-6073. The ordinance is enforced as of July 1, 2019.

Employer means:

  • Any person receiving or holding a business license under the Alameda Municipal Code; or
  • Any person, including corporate officers or executives, who directly or indirectly (including through the services of a temporary employee agency) employs or exercises control over the wages, hours or working conditions of any covered employee.

See Minimum Wage: California.

The Community Development Department makes available a notice for use by employers. The notice should be released by May 1 of each year and is available in the top five languages spoken by residents of the city (English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese). The notice includes information on the minimum wage rate and include information on employee rights.

A covered employer must post the notice in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site in the city where any covered employee works.

Failure to post the notice constitutes a violation of the ordinance and may result in enforcement action.

Belmont Minimum Wage Ordinance

Belmont has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. Belmont, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 32-4, as enacted by Ordinance 2017-1123. A covered employer is one with an employee who performs at least two hours of work in a calendar week within the geographic boundaries of the city. See Minimum Wage: California.

An employer must provide, in writing, to each employee at the time of hire the employer's:

  • Name;
  • Address; and
  • Telephone number.

A covered employer must provide written notification of employee rights under the ordinance to each existing employee, and to each new employee at the time of hire. In addition, the notice must be posted in a conspicuous place at the work site where the notice will be seen by employees. The City Manager provides a sample notice for use by employers.

Failure to post the notice constitutes a violation of the ordinance. An employer may be subject to a civil penalty of $50 for each employee or person whose rights were violated for each day a violation occurred.

Berkeley Notice Postings

Berkeley employers must post a notice regarding the city's requirements with respect to minimum wage, paid sick leave and the city's Family Friendly and Environment Friendly Workplace Ordinance.

Cupertino Minimum Wage Ordinance

Cupertino has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. A Cupertino employer with an employee who performs at least two hours of work in a calendar week must post in a conspicuous place or job site a notice containing the current minimum wage rate and related employee rights.

The city makes available to employers a model notice for posting by employers in the workplace. The notice must be posted in the top three languages spoken in the city based on the latest census information for the city at the workplace or job site.

Additional written notice requirements apply to new hires.

Cupertino, California Code of Ordinances Chapter 3.37, as added by Ordinance 16-2151.

El Cerrito Notice Postings

The City of El Cerrito has passed a minimum wage ordinance. See Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance contains notice-posting provisions. Covered employers must post a notice published by the City informing employees of the minimum wage. Every covered employer must post a notice in any language spoken by at least 10 percent of the employees at the workplace or job site. An employer is responsible for accurately translating the required notice if there is no available template published by the City. Every covered employer must also provide new hires with its name, address and telephone number in writing.

El Cerrito, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 6.90.060, as added by Ordinance 2015-09.

Daly City Minimum Wage Ordinance

Daly City has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. Daly City, California Code of Ordinances Section 8.76.030, as enacted by Ordinance 2018-1425; see Minimum Wage: California.

Covered employers must inform employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights under the ordinance. An employer must inform employees of their rights under the ordinance by:

  • Posting a notice;
  • Providing written notification to each current employee; and
  • Providing written notification to each new hire.

The City makes available a model notice for use by employers.

Failure to post the notice constitutes a violation of the ordinance and may result in enforcement action.

Emeryville Notice Postings

The City of Emeryville has passed a Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave, and Other Employment Standards Ordinance that contains notice and posting provisions. Emeryville, California Code of Ordinances Chapter 37, Title 5. Specifically, by April 1 of each year, the City publishes and makes available to employers a bulletin announcing the adjusted minimum wage rate to take effect on July 1 of that year. In addition, by May 1 the City develops a sample notice posting in English and other languages (as provided by implementing regulations). Additional written notice requirements apply to new hires. See New Hire Paperwork: California.

Hospitality employers who collect service charges from customers and that are subject to the ordinance must also post the City's Service Charge Law Poster.

An employer that fails to post notice of the minimum wage rate as provided by the ordinance may be subject to a fine of $500.

Los Altos Minimum Wage Ordinance

Los Altos has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. A covered employer is one with an employee who performs at least two hours of work in a calendar week, and that either is subject to the city's business license requirements or that maintains a business facility in the city.

A covered employer must post in a conspicuous place or job site notices containing the current minimum wage rate and related employee rights. The city makes available to employers model notices for posting in the workplace. The notices must be posted in the top three languages spoken in the city based on the latest census information for the city at the workplace or job site.

Additional written notice requirements apply to new hires. An employer must provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's:

  • Name;
  • Address; and
  • Telephone number.

+Los Altos, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 3.50.060.

Los Angeles Notice Postings

City of Los Angeles. Minimum wage. Los Angeles has passed a minimum wage ordinance. See Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance contains notice-posting provisions. Covered employers must post a notice published by the City informing employees of the minimum wage. Every covered employer must post notices in English, Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Armenian, Russian and Farsi, and any other language spoken by at least five percent of the employees at the workplace or job site. Every covered employer must also provide new hires with its name, address and telephone number in writing.

An employer that fails to post the notice may be subject to a $500 fine.

The City's Department of Public Works, Bureau of Contract Administration enforces the ordinance's provisions.

Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring. Los Angeles has passed its Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring, which contains notice-posting requirements. See Preemployment Screening and Testing: California.

Covered employers must post a notice informing applicants of the ordinance's provisions in a conspicuous place at every workplace, job site or other location. In addition, an employer must send a copy of the notice to each labor union or representative of workers with which the employer has a collective bargaining agreement or other agreement or understanding that is applicable to employees.

County of Los Angeles. Minimum wage. Los Angeles County has passed a minimum wage ordinance. See Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance contains notice-posting provisions. Covered employers must post a notice published by the County informing employees of the minimum wage. Every covered employer must post notices in English, Spanish and the primary language used by the employer to communicate with employees regarding employees' work functions, if other than English or Spanish.

The County's Department of Consumer and Business Affairs enforces the ordinance's provisions.

Malibu Notice Postings

Malibu has passed a minimum wage ordinance. Although the ordinance does not expressly require the posting of a notice informing employees about their rights, the city encourages all employers doing business in Malibu to post its model notice.

Milpitas Minimum Wage Ordinance

The City of Milpitas has passed a minimum wage ordinance. +Milpitas, California Code of Ordinances Sec. III-31-7.00; see Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance has notice-posting requirements.

The City publishes and makes available to employers a bulletin announcing the adjusted minimum wage rate for the upcoming year, along with model notices for use by employers:

The notices inform employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights under the ordinance. The notices are available in the top three languages spoken in the City based on the latest available census information. Covered employers are required to post notices in these languages.

In addition, covered employers should provide each employee at the time of hire the following information in writing:

  • Employer's name;
  • Employer's address; and
  • Employer's telephone number.

Mountain View Notice Postings

Mountain View has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. +Mountain View, California Code of Ordinances SEC. 42.17. Employers must post in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any employee works the notice published each year by the City informing employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights. Notices must be made available by the City by December 1 of each year. Notices must be posted in any language spoken by at least five percent of the employees at the workplace or job site.

Additional written notice requirements apply to new hires.

Oakland Notice Postings

City of Oakland employers have additional notice-posting obligations with respect to employment law requirements, including:

  • Employees' accrual of paid sick leave;
  • The minimum wage established for the City of Oakland. See Minimum Wage: California; and
  • For hospitality employers, those that collect service charges from customers must pay the entirety of those charges to the hospitality workers who performed those services for which the charge was collected.

An employer must provide written notification to current employees of his or her rights under the measure. The notification must be in all languages spoken by more than 10 percent of the workforce. Covered employers must prominently post and provide notice to employees of their rights to paid sick leave, minimum wage and hospitality service charges (if applicable).

The City Administrator has prepared notices and other resources for employer use, including the following:

The measure is codified in Chapter 5.92 of the Oakland Municipal Code.

Palo Alto Minimum Wage Ordinance

Palo Alto has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. A Palo Alto employer with an employee who performs at least two hours of work in a calendar week must post in a conspicuous place or job site a notice containing the current minimum wage rate and related employee rights.

The city makes available to employers a model notice for posting by employers in the workplace. The notices must be posted in the top three languages spoken in the city based on the latest census information for the city at the workplace or job site.

Additional written notice requirements apply to new hires.

Palo Alto, Code of Ordinances Chapter 4.62.

Pasadena Notice Postings

The City of Pasadena has passed a minimum wage ordinance. See Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance contains notice-posting provisions. +Pasadena, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 5.02.020.

Covered employers must post a notice published by the City informing employees of the minimum wage. Every covered employer must post a notice in any language spoken by at least five percent of the employees at the workplace or job site. An employer is responsible for accurately translating the required notice if there is no available template published by the City.

Redwood City Minimum Wage Ordinance

Redwood City has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. Redwood City, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 46.060, as enacted by Ordinance 2018-2443.

A covered employer is one that:

  • Maintains a facility in Redwood City or is subject to the City's business license tax;
  • Employs or exercises control over the wages, hours or working conditions of any person who performs at least two hours of work in a given calendar week within Redwood City; and
  • Is not exempt from the state minimum wage requirements.

See Minimum Wage: California.

An employer must provide, in writing, to each employee at the time of hire the employer's:

  • Name;
  • Address; and
  • Telephone number.

In addition, a notice informing employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights under the ordinance must be posted in a conspicuous place at any workplaces or job sites where the notice will be seen by employees. The notice must be posted in English and any other languages required by implementing regulations. The City provides a model notice for use by employers.

Failure to post the notice constitutes a violation of the ordinance. An employer may be subject to a civil penalty of $50 for each employee or person whose rights were violated for each day a violation occurred.

Richmond Notice Postings

Richmond employers must post a notice regarding the city's minimum wage requirements.

Sacramento Notice Postings

Under the Sacramento County Hotel Worker Protection Act, any hotel with 25 or more guest rooms subject to licensure by the County of Sacramento must:

  • Equip each employee who is assigned to work in a guest room or restroom with a panic button or notification device;
  • Develop, maintain and comply with a written sexual harassment policy to protect employees against sexual assault and sexual
    harassment by guests; and
  • Provide all employees with a current copy in English and Spanish of the sexual harassment policy, and post such policy in conspicuous areas in the hotel, such as supply rooms or employee break rooms, where employees can reasonably be expected to see it.

See HR and Workplace Safety: California; Title 4, Sections 4.75.003 and 4.75.004, Sacramento County Code.

San Diego Notice Postings

Under the City of San Diego Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance, an employer must post two notices, the San Diego, California, Minimum Wage Notice Poster and the San Diego, California, Earned Sick Leave Notice Poster. These notices inform employees of their rights under the ordinance. See Other Leaves: California.

In addition, an employer must provide written notice to current employees and to each new employee at the time of hire. The written notices must specify the employer's name, address and telephone number.

The notices must be provided and posted in English, Spanish and any other language that is spoken by at least five percent of the employees at the employer's job site. The notices may be provided via accessible electronic means as a substitute for hard copies.

San Diego, California Municipal Code Sec. 39.0108.

San Francisco Notice Postings

In addition to federal and state requirements, San Francisco employers must conspicuously post information regarding the following subjects:

Information regarding San Francisco's minimum wage, paid parental leave and health care spending must be provided in English, Spanish and Chinese, and in any other language spoken by at least five percent of the workforce.

In addition, the San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, which protects an employee's right to request flexible working arrangements, establishes posting, notice and recordkeeping requirements for employers. The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) enforces the ordinance's provisions and develops the required workplace postings. See Managing Employees in Special Situations: Federal.

Finally, San Francisco has adopted the Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO), which "bans the box" on employee applications. See Interviewing and Selecting Job Candidates: California. The FCO also contains employee notice-posting requirements for employers. An employer with a total of five or more employees (to include the total number of employees located inside and outside of San Francisco) must post a notice that explains to job applicants and employees the permissible (e.g., inquiries regarding convictions that are directly related to an employee's position) and prohibited (e.g., failing to promote an employee because of a prior arrest not leading to a conviction or a conviction over seven years old) practices under the ordinance.

San Francisco's Parity in Pay Ordinance restricts employers' consideration of and inquiries into an applicant's salary history. See Employment Offer: California. The law includes notice-posting requirements. San Francisco, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 3300J.5, as added by Ordinance 170350.

The OLSE makes available a model notice for use by employers. The notice is made available in English, Spanish, Chinese and all languages spoken by more than five percent of the workforce in San Francisco. Employers must post versions of the notice in these languages.

The notice must be posted in a conspicuous place at every workplace, job site or other location in the city or on city property, under an employer's control and frequently visited by employees or applicants. An employer must also send a copy of the notice to each labor union or representative of workers with which the employer has a collective bargaining agreement or other agreement or understanding.

San Francisco Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has passed two ordinances, the San Francisco Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances (also known as "Retail Worker Bill of Rights"). The Predictable Scheduling and Fair Treatment for Formula Retail Employees Ordinance (No. 141024) aims to regularize fluctuating and "erratic" schedules of certain workers within the City and County of San Francisco. See Managing Employees in Special Situations: Federal.

Covered employees include those that are:

  • Covered under the local minimum wage ordinance; and
  • Scheduled for an on-call shift for at least two hours (whether or not the workers are required to report to work for the shift).

Covered employers include an owner or operator of a "formula retail establishment" (defined by the Planning Code as having at least 40 retail sales establishments located worldwide) with 20 or more employees in San Francisco.

A related ordinance (No. 140880) aims to regulate the employment of part-time workers so as to minimize the incidence of "involuntary part-time work." The ordinance requires an employer to offer a part-time worker additional hours before seeking additional staffing solutions. If an employer offers any additional hours of work, then the employer may notify employees of the offer of additional hours by posting a notice in a conspicuous manner. In addition, the ordinance encourages the retention of employees upon a change of control.

Both ordinances require employers to conspicuously post a notice in the workplace informing applicants and employees of their rights under the particular ordinance. The notices must be posted in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog and all languages spoken by more than five percent of the employees at the workplace.

In addition, if a change in ownership or control occurs, an incumbent employer must post a public notice of the change in control at the location of the affected workplace within 24 hours of the date that the transfer document is fully executed. The ordinance includes additional recordkeeping requirements related to successor employers. See Employment Offer: California.

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave

The San Francisco Paid Parental Leave for Bonding with New Child Ordinance (PPLO) contains notice-posting requirements. See FMLA: California. The PPLO applies to employers with 50 or more employees beginning January 1, 2017; employers with 35 or more employees beginning July 1, 2017; and employers with 20 or more employees beginning January 1, 2018.

The PPLO requires employers to post a notice that informs employees of their rights under the ordinance. The notice will be updated by the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement on an annual basis depending on whether there is a change in the languages spoken by more than five percent of the San Francisco workforce. The notice must be posted in English, Spanish, Chinese and any language spoken by at least five percent of the workforce.

San Francisco, California Police Code Article 3300H.5, as added by Ordinance No. 160065.

San Jose Notice Postings

Minimum wage. San Jose employers must post a notice regarding the city's minimum wage requirements.

Opportunity to Work Ordinance. San Jose employers covered under the city's Opportunity to Work Ordinance must post a notice informing part-time employees of their rights to additional hours of work. A covered employer under the ordinance is one:

  • With 36 or more employees; and
  • That is subject to the San Jose Business License Tax or that maintains a facility in San Jose.

San Leandro Minimum Wage Ordinance

The City of San Leandro has passed a minimum wage ordinance. The ordinance has notice-posting requirements. San Leandro, California Code of Ordinances Section 4-35-600.

Specifically, every employer must post in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site in the city where any employee works a notice informing employees of:

  • The current minimum wage rate; and
  • Their rights under the ordinance.

The notices must be posted in the top five languages spoken by San Leandro residents. The City provides a model notice for use by employers.

In addition, every employer must provide each new hire the following information in writing:

  • The employer's name;
  • The employer's address; and
  • The employer's telephone number.

Failure to post the notice may result in an administrative citation of $250. San Leandro, California Code of Ordinances 4-35-900. In the event of a violation, the City may require an employer to post public notice of the employer's failure to comply.

San Mateo Minimum Wage Ordinance

San Mateo has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. A San Mateo employer with an employee who performs at least two hours of work in a calendar week must post in a conspicuous place or job site a notice containing the current minimum wage rate and related employee rights.

The city makes available to employers a model notice for posting by employers in the workplace. The notice must be posted in the top three languages spoken in the city based on the latest census information for the city at the workplace or job site.

Additional written notice requirements apply to new hires.

San Mateo, Code of Ordinances Chapter 5.92, as added by Ordinance 2016-7.

Santa Clara Minimum Wage Ordinance

Santa Clara has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. A Santa Clara employer must post in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any employee works a notice informing employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights under the ordinance.

Employers must post the notices in those top three languages spoken in the City. In addition, an employer must provide each new hire, in writing, the following information:

  • The employer's name;
  • The employer's address;
  • The employer's telephone number.

Santa Clara, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 3.20.060.

Santa Monica Notice Postings

Santa Monica has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. The ordinance includes provisions with respect to service charges, hotel workers and paid sick leave.

A Santa Monica employer with an employee who performs at least two hours of work in a calendar week must post in a conspicuous place or job site a notice containing the current minimum wage rate and related employee rights. (Different requirements may apply to hotel employers and nonprofit corporations.)

The ordinance provides that the notice must include text in a manner that is clearly visible in context and calls attention to the language. The city makes available to employers a model notice for posting in the workplace. The notice must be posted in English, Spanish and any other language spoken by at least five percent of the workforce.

Additional written notice requirements apply to new hires.

Santa Monica, California Code of Ordinances Chapter 4.62; Section 4.63.015 (hotel employers); Section 4.62.025 (paid sick leave); Section 4.62.040 (service charges).

Sunnyvale Notice Postings

Sunnyvale employers must post a notice regarding the city's minimum wage requirements.

Future Developments

Oakland Hotel Minimum Wage and Working Conditions

Oakland voters approved Measure Z, an ordinance that sets minimum wage and working conditions for hotel workers. See HR and Workplace Safety: California. The ordinance contains notice-posting requirements. Specifically, a hotel employer must place a sign on the back of each guestroom door, written in at least 18-point font, that includes:

  • The heading "The Law Protects Hotel Housekeepers and Employees From Threatening Behavior";
  • A citation to the ordinance; and
  • Notice that the hotel is providing panic buttons to its housekeepers, room servers and other hotel employees assigned to work in guest rooms without other employees present.

Hotel employer means:

  • A person who owns, controls, and/or operates a hotel (i.e. a structure containing 50 or more guest rooms or suites of rooms) in the City of Oakland;
  • A person who owns, controls and/or operates any contracted, leased or sublet premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the hotel's purpose; or
  • A person, other than a hotel employee, who provides services at the hotel.

The City's Department of Workplace and Employment Standards will enforce the ordinance, which takes effect July 1, 2020.

Petaluma Minimum Wage Ordinance

Petaluma has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. Petaluma, California, Code of Ordinances Section 8.35.080. The minimum wage requirements are enforced as of January 1, 2020. Notice-posting requirements take effect September 12, 2019.

Specifically, each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any employee works a notice explaining rights under the ordinance. In addition, each employer must give written notification of employee rights under the ordinance to each current employee and to each new hire. The notification must be in all languages spoken by more than 10 percent of the employer's employees. The initial notification must be provided by September 12, 2019.

The City will publish a downloadable notice suitable for use by employers. The notice will be made available in English, Spanish and other languages required by regulation.

Covered employers must provide each covered employee, upon hire and annually, a written notification setting forth the:

  • Employer's:
    • Legal name;
    • Address;
    • Telephone number; and
  • Name and contact information for a person responsible for inquiries concerning compliance with the ordinance.

Employers that violate the notice-posting requirements may be subject to administrative citations under the ordinance. Petaluma, California, Code of Ordinances Section 8.35.070.

Petaluma, California Municipal Code Chapter 8.35, as enacted by Ordinance 2691; see Minimum Wage: California.

Sonoma Minimum Wage Ordinance

Sonoma has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. Sonoma, California Code of Ordinances Section 2.80.080. The ordinance will be enforced as of January 1, 2020.

Specifically, each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any employee works a notice explaining rights under the ordinance. In addition, each employer must give written notification of employee rights under the ordinance to each current employee and to each new hire. The notification must be:

  • In all languages spoken by more than 10 percent of the employer's employees; and
  • Posted prominently in areas at the work site where it will be seen by all employees.

The City will publish a downloadable notice suitable for use by employers. The notice will be made available in English, Spanish and other languages required by regulation.

Covered employers must provide each covered employee, upon hire and annually, a written notification setting forth the:

  • Employer's:
    • Legal name;
    • Address;
    • Telephone number; and
  • Name and contact information for a person responsible for inquiries concerning compliance with the ordinance.

See Minimum Wage: California.

There are no other developments to report at this time. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.