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California Expands Job Protections for Cannabis Users

On October 7, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 700 into law, with the law taking effect on January 1, 2024.

In 2023, Assembly Bill (AB) No. 2188 amended California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to prohibit employers from engaging in any adverse employment action against employees for off-duty marijuana use. SB 700 further amends FEHA to protect applicants from discrimination based on prior cannabis use, with certain exceptions. SB 700 prohibits employers from requesting information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis. SB 700 also prohibits employers from using information obtained from a criminal history about an applicant or employee’s prior cannabis use, unless the employer is permitted to consider or inquire about that information under the state’s Fair Chance Act, or other state or federal law.

Note that SB 700 does not preempt any state or federal laws requiring applicants or employees to be tested for controlled substances, nor does it apply to applicants or employees hired for positions that require a federal government background investigation or security clearance.

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“Ban the Box” and Salary History Ban to Take Effect

Two new state laws take effect on January 1, 2018 that will significantly affect employer hiring practices in California.

Under the Fair Chance Act (AB 1008), California’s new “Ban the Box” law, employers with at least five employees will no longer be permitted to consider the criminal history of a job applicant until a conditional job offer is made. There are limited exceptions to this prohibition: the law does not apply to certain positions at health care facilities, farm labor contractors, or positions with state criminal justice agencies; it also does not apply to any position where an employer is required by another law to conduct background checks or restrict employment based on criminal history.Continue reading

New California Regulations on Transgender Identity and Expression Take Effect

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers may not discriminate on the basis of the gender identity or gender expression of an employee or applicant. On July 1, 2017, newly amended California FEHA regulations on transgender identity and expression (which can be found here) took effect, specifically interpreting and expanding upon protections for transgender employees in a number of ways, including the following:Continue reading

Insurance definition

EPLI Coverage and Typical Exclusions

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) coverage typically covers a claim that the named insured(s) (usually the employer) has become legally obligated to pay. There are two main forms of policies. A claims-made policy covers claims reported during the policy period (which will be identified in the policy itself). An occurrence policy requires that the act that is subject of the claim take place during the policy period. Only certain claims that are identified in the policy will be covered.Continue reading