HR Law Changes for California and Tennessee Employers

HR law was changed in two states recently. The two states featured are California and Tennessee, with the bulk of the changes being in California. Their legislature was busy and Governor Jerry Brown’s pen was full of ink. So here you go.
Prohibited Use of Credit Reports (AB 22)
AB 22 will take effect on January 1, 2012. It says – Private sector employers may consider a credit report for the following positions as long as the candidate is informed that a report will be sought and the candidate has given written permission:

  • A managerial position
  • A position for which the information contained in the report is required by law to be disclosed or obtained
  • A position that involves regular access to confidential information such as credit card account information, Social security number, or Date of birth
  • A position which the person can enter into financial transactions on behalf of the company
  • A position that involves access to confidential or proprietary information
  • A position that involves regular access to cash totaling ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more of the employer, a customer, or client, during the workday.

Even where an exception applies, employers still must give written notice to the applicant or employee that the credit report is being requested. In addition, the report must be provided free of charge to the employee. If employment is denied on the basis of information obtained from the credit report, the employer must advise the applicant and provide the name and address of the credit reporting agency that supplied the report. This mirrors the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011 (AB 469)
AB 469 can be expected to generate a great deal of interest given its newly provided mandatory employee notification requirements. AB 469 encompasses a number of revisions to various Labor Code sections, and includes provisions classifying certain “willful” actions by employers as misdemeanors.
There is one provision that will impact all employers. It is new Labor Code section 2810.5. This section requires all private employers to provide a list of specific written information to all new nonexempt employees who are not covered by the terms of a valid collective bargaining agreement. Employers must provide the following information to employees upon hiring in a format to be determined by the Labor Commissioner:

  • The rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, whether paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or otherwise, including any rates for overtime, as applicable.
  • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage, including meal or lodging allowances.
  • The regular payday designated by the employer in accordance with the requirements of this code.
  • The name of the employer, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer.
  • The physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address, if different.
  • The telephone number of the employer.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
  • Any other information the Labor Commissioner deems material and necessary.
  • Employers also must provide notification of any changes in the above information within seven days either by information on the employees’ next pay statements or in a separate written form.

There were many other changes in California including independent contractors, gender identity, pregnancy discrimination and commission statements. A full explanation can be found here.
Tennessee Changes
The Tennessee Attorney General issued an opinion that Tennessee employers are required to compensate employees for travel time to and from jury duty in addition to the employees’ actual jury service. According to the law firm of Ford & Harrison this means “Covered Tennessee employees summoned for jury duty are entitled to be excused from work to serve, provided they notify their employer and their jury duty responsibilities exceed three hours. Employees are entitled to their usual compensation for any time spent traveling to and from jury duty and actual time spent in jury duty. Therefore, covered Tennessee employers should not only request that their employees submit documentation of their time spent in actual jury service, but also their travel time.” However, no employer shall be required to compensate an employee for more time than was actually spent serving and traveling to and from jury duty.
If an employer employs less than five (5) people on a regular basis or if the juror has been employed by an employer on a temporary basis for less than six (6) months the employer is not required to compensate the juror during the period of jury service pursuant to this section.

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