Question: I am the new HR manager at my office and I am trying to update the company’s new hire packet. Are there any new notices that employers need to give new employees upon hire that I should be aware of?
Answer: Yes, California has recently added new notices to the list of documents employees must be provided upon hire. Most recently, the California Labor Commissioner published the “Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking” notice (www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Victims_of_Domestic_Violence_Leave_Notice.pdf). Employers that have 25 or more employees must immediately begin using this notice, or a notice of their own design that is substantially similar in form and content, to inform employees of the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, including the right to take protected time off work for medical treatment, legal proceedings, and safety planning. This notice also explains that employees have the right to use accrued paid sick leave for these same purposes; the right to reasonable accommodations for their safety while working; and that they cannot be retaliated or discriminated against for exercising these rights. Qualifying employers must provide this notice to employees at the time of hire and upon request.
Another recent employee handout update was released by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in May 2017. The newly revised Sexual Harassment brochure (DFEH-185) provides employees with notice of California’s legal protections against sexual harassment. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) mandates that all employers provide specific information to their employees at the time of hire regarding sexual harassment prevention, in addition to the employer’s written policy on prevention of discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Employers can satisfy this mandate by distributing either the revised DFEH-185 brochure (www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2017/06/DFEH_SexualHarassmentPamphlet.pdf) or the newly released and more printer-friendly information sheet (DFEH-185P) which contains identical information (www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2017/06/DFEH_SexualHarassmentFlyer.pdf). Alternatively, employers can create their own sexual harassment prevention handout, but it must contain, at a minimum, all of the information required by the FEHA, and should be reviewed by an attorney to confirm compliance with California law.
Another critical employee handout is the Labor Code section 2810.5 notice, which is also known as the Wage Theft Protection Notice. This notice must be provided to all nonexempt California employees at the time of hire and within seven calendar days of any change made to the information in the notice (with some exceptions), in accordance with California’s Wage Theft Protection Act. This notice provides employees with basic information regarding the employer and terms of employment, including wage information, the employer’s legal name and address and its workers’ compensation carrier, and the employer’s paid sick leave policy in compliance with the Healthy Workplace Healthy Families Act of 2014. The Labor Commissioner’s template for this notice can be found at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/lc_2810.5_notice.pdf.
Other new hire notices specific to California include the Employment Development Department’s Paid Family Leave pamphlet (DE-2511) and Disability Insurance Provisions pamphlet (DE-2515). California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) also requires employers to give new hires written notice containing certain details regarding workers’ compensation benefits. Employers should consult with their human resources professional or attorney regarding additional new hire notices and forms required for their business, as notice requirements vary based on the number of employees the company has and company policy.