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On September 30, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 973 requiring large employers to report certain pay and other data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by March 31, 2021 and annually thereafter. Specifically, SB 973 requires employers of 100 or more employees to report to DFEH pay and hours-worked data by job category and by sex, race, and ethnicity (hereinafter “pay data”).

The desire of the government to obtain pay information is nothing new. On January 29, 2016, President Obama announced a series of actions intended to close the gender pay equity gap, including proposed revisions to the EEO-1 form that would require the submission of detailed pay information. However, in August 2017, the Trump Administration put a halt to the implementation of this new rule.” Following a federal court ruling, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was ordered to and did collect these data for 2017 and 2018. Since then, the EEOC has stopped collecting the data.

However, there are some stark differences to the federal law. Under the Gender Recognition Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 179), California officially recognizes three genders: female, male, and nonbinary. Therefore, employers would be required to report employees’ sex according to these three categories. Employee self-identification is the preferred method of identifying sex information.

California has some of the strictest labor laws in the country and employers are expected to comply with nearly every aspect of the employee relationship. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is charged with investigating wages, hours, and working conditions of employees. Most employers are familiar with meal and rest breaks, but there are some lesser-known laws that could create employer liability if ignored.


Want to save money by cutting the air conditioner? Not so fast. In California, the temperature maintained at work “shall provide reasonable comfort consistent with industry-wide standards for the nature of the process and the work performed.” Wage Order 7, Section 15.

In the classic novel The Scarlet Letter, author Nathanial Hawthorne depicts the story of a woman who was forced to wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ on her dress so the townspeople could publicly shame her for adultery. The major theme of The Scarlet Letter is the suffering of individuals from social stigmatizing – a vice that has only increased since the novel’s publication in 1850.

In recent years, the “Ban the Box” movement has sought to eliminate similar stigmatisms about convicted criminals who, after paying their debt to society, find it difficult to secure employment due to prejudice. The goal of this movement is to decrease discrimination against applicants who may have a criminal history. In 2015, President Obama “banned the box” on applications for federal government jobs. Currently, eleven states have mandated the removal of conviction history questions from job applications for private employers. In 2017, California passed multiple statutes that prohibit employers from considering expunged criminal records in hiring decisions.

Davis & Wojcik APLC recently settled an employment case against a major automotive company that withdrew its offer to hire a prospective employee after the corporation unlawfully investigated the employee’s expunged criminal record. The criminal conviction occurred more than ten years prior and was not the type of crime that affected the position.

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