California Law Update! Avoid Getting Sued With These Easy 5 Tips
Federal and state labor laws are continuously being changed, added, or updated and it’s important for employers to make sure they are on top of the latest workplace laws and regulations in order to avoid costly fines or even litigation. Here are three new laws you should know about:
- Domestic Violence Notice Requirement: The law went into effect on July 1st, 2017. A result of AB 2337, a legislation passed last year, employers with 25 or more employees now must provide new employees with a written notice about the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The notice, developed by the Labor Commissioner, lets them know they are entitled to take protected time off for medical treatment or legal proceedings. The notice also contains information on victims’ rights to accommodation and protections against discrimination. Employers must provide this information to new workers when hired and current workers upon request.
- Form I-9 Revisions: Form I-9 violations are one of the most common employer violations, and the requirements are updated frequently. For the second time in less than a year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The new version bears a revision date of 07/17/17 N. By September 18th, 2017, employers may only use the new version of the Form I-9. One notable revision to the form is a timing change. Previously, the form and instructions stated that the employee must complete Section 1 “by the end of the first day of employment.” The new form states that the employee must complete Section 1 “by the first day of employment.”
- Electronic Filing/Payment of Payroll Taxes: The California Chamber of Commerce is reminding employers with 10 or more employees that they are required to electronically submit employment tax returns, wage reports, and payroll tax deposits to the Employment Development Department (EDD). The requirement began January 1, 2017 for employers with 10 or more employees, and all remaining employers are required to begin reporting and paying electronically with their 2018 payroll or as soon as they report having 10 or more employees, whichever happens first.
- Follow employment policies to the letter. Most employers, especially in California, are subject to a number of federal and state employment laws, including wage and hour laws, safety regulations, and laws against workplace harassment and discrimination. If you violate any of these laws, even on accident, you can be hit with costly and time-consuming litigation. Knowing the employment laws that apply to you, keeping constantly updated on them, and putting into place policies to ensure they are being followed to the letter, will help you avoid finding yourself in the middle of an employment lawsuit.
- Hire an experienced attorney. Find an attorney that comes highly recommended by fellow employers that you trust. All business owners face situations where a wrong decision could end in a lawsuit, whether it’s an issue with a disgruntled employee, or a very unhappy customer. A quick consultation with your attorney may cost you money in the short term, but could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees in the long term.
- Put everything in writing. Verbal agreements, emails back and forth, and “handshake deals” leave the door open for misunderstandings that can escalate into lawsuits. Keep a written and signed copy of business transactions that highlights important terms like prices, expected delivery dates, and what services or products you will provide or will be provided to you. You might not want a long, formal contract for every business deal, but you should at least have a short document showing what your agreement is that is signed by both parties.
- Maintain liability insurance. Liability insurance covers a variety of risks from someone slipping and falling in your building to a breach of customer data. Insurance companies are experienced and efficient at investigating claims and negotiating settlements, minimizing the chance that an incident will escalate to a lawsuit. In the event that you are sued anyway, the insurance company will handle the lawsuit.
- Hire an Outsourcing HR Company. One hassle free to handle compliance issues such as wage and hour classification, hiring and termination paperwork, benefits, and insurance, is to hire an Outsourcing HR Company. Taking the stress of keeping your business compliant with all of the new and updated laws allows you to focus on running and growing your business, and keeping customers and clients happy.
A missed deadline on compliance of new laws can quickly turn into a lawsuit, adding unnecessary stress, and financial strain on your business. Here are five different ways you can reduce the chances of having your business involved in a lawsuit.
Emplicity understands that HR Outsourcing should be simple and meaningful. As a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), we strive to be a great partner in supporting your business. If you would like to request more information on how we can assist your needs, please reach out to us at 877-476-2339. We are located in California – Orange County, Los Angeles, and the greater Sacramento and San Francisco area.
NOTICE: Emplicity provides HR advice and recommendations. Information provided by Emplicity is not intended as a substitute for employment law counsel. At no time will Emplicity have the authority or right to make decisions on behalf of their clients.