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California has strong labor laws that specify employee rights. Employers must diligently establish a safe work environment and implement well-documented policies that protect workers and ensure adherence to California’s workplace laws. In addition to implementing those policies, they must properly train all employees.

California’s Employment Laws

California laws outline how employers need to conduct themselves and their business. Some of the most prominent are:

  • California Labor Code – This code covers all the state labor laws. Employers who are not compliant with the labor code may face legal repercussions.
  • Fair Employment and Housing Act – FEHA prohibits discrimination based on protected characteristics and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities and religious practices.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA provides a set of federal safety standards for all businesses. OSHA compliance and safety audits are mandatory.
  • California Family Rights Act – CFRA provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific health and family-related reasons. During this time, you must maintain the employee’s job security.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act – Employees have the right to know how their employer collects, uses, and stores their personal data. Data protection measures must also be in place.

Workplace Policies

Policies are statements that outline the procedures and practices by which a company will run its business. A good set of policies will make clear what you expect of your employees, how employee issues are resolved, and the steps you will take to safeguard your employees. Examples of workplace policies include the following.

  • Employee Handbooks outline your company policies, procedures, and expectations. The handbook should include broad guidelines and serve as the primary resource for your employees. Most questions your employees have about working at your company should be answered in the employee handbook. The additional types of policies that follow may be included in the employee handbook, except employee contracts.
  • Health and Safety Policies should cover what to do in an emergency. These policies should include what actions employees should take after an accident or in other emergency siuations, and how they should report incidents. These policies should also comply with OSHA standards.
  • Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Policies explain that employees are protected from harassment and discrimination in the workplace based on age, ancestry, disability, color, creed, marital status, national origin, medical condition, sex, race, sexual orientation, or religion. The policies should inform employees how to report harassment and discrimination and must comply with the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
  • Leave of Absence Policies should cover the different types of absences (sick leave, family leave, vacation) and their limitations. They should comply with the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.
  • Privacy Policies outline how your employee’s data will be collected, used, and protected. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is one of the most robust privacy laws in the country.
  • Employee Contracts cover the terms of employment, including compensation and benefits. They also clearly state termination conditions so employers and employees are on the same page.

Employee Training Programs

Training programs help employees understand workplace policies. Depending on your business, some training programs may be mandatory. The following are examples of standard programs.

  • Onboarding Training introduces new employees to your company. The training should cover company culture, workplace policies, and the new employee’s roles.
  • Health and Safety Training teaches employees about workplace hazards, how to remain safe on the job, and the company requirements for reporting incidents.
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention Training is mandatory for companies with 50 or more employees under the California Assembly Bill 1825. This training explains what constitutes sexual harassment and how to report it.
  • Diversity Training promotes inclusivity. It focuses on how diverse backgrounds and perspectives benefit the company and society.

California Business Law Attorneys

Ensuring a safe work environment is one of an employer’s many duties. It improves employee morale and retention and can protect the employer from potential lawsuits.If you’re a business owner who is establishing or revising company policies, the business law attorneys of Schneiders & Associates can help. Contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

About the Author
Theodore J. Schneider practices in the areas of business and corporate transactions, employment law counseling, municipal and public law, real estate and land use, and homeowner associations. Ted began his legal career in 2002 when he joined the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, L.L.P. before relocating to Ventura County to join his father in practice.