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Updates to California law target employment discrimination

Smart employers know that the key to a happy and successful workplace is an environment in which all people and groups feel safe and respected. Diversity has long been the key to the innovation that powers American industry, and equal treatment of diverse groups is the soil in which this innovation grows.

The state of California has long been at the nation's vanguard of protecting the rights of women, racial minorities and nationalities represented in its workforce. Employers should be aware of updates to these laws and protections to stay current with the Golden State's employment law.

References to salary history and criminal convictions are to be removed from most employment applications, in a legal move commonly known as "ban the box." This move is designed to stop the premature disqualification of applicants with criminal history for the good of applicants and employers alike.

After several lawsuits filed under the state's Fair Pay Act, it is important that employers pay employees of all genders and descents equal pay for "substantially similar work" to avoid an unfair tiered pay structure. Any pay gaps must be closed or justifiable beyond gender or racial lines.

Sexual harassment training must be scheduled or updated to suit the needs of the employees, and employee handbooks should also reflect any updates for easy reference by employees and managers.

Any victims of employment discrimination along these lines or others have the right to make their voices heard. Legal representation can help employees and former employees state their case to the proper authorities to seek reinstatement, settlement or other legal options.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, "4 things every California employer should do before Jan. 1," Dan Eaton, Dec. 25, 2017

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