New Laws for Business Owners and Government Agencies - Expanded Smoking Prohibitions, All-Gender Restrooms, Prohibition on Travel, and Increase to Minimum Wage

For employers, the new year brings many new laws regarding worker benefits, hiring practices, and workplace protections. In addition to ensuring workers are properly classified, employers should also be aware of the increase to California's Minimum Wage, the identification of restroom facilities, smoking prohibition, and rights to refuse to travel.

For employers with 26 or more employees, minimum wage is increased from $10.00 per hour to $10.50; for those with 25 or fewer employees, the increase is not scheduled to occur until January 1, 2018. Beginning on March 1, 2017, all single-user toilet facilities must be identified as all-gender restrooms in any business establishment, public accommodation place, or government agency.

Employees of state agencies and the California Legislature cannot require employees, officers, or members to travel to a state, or request funding for travel to any state, that has enacted a law voiding or repealing laws designed to protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, or to any state that has enacted laws authorizing or requiring discrimination against same-sex couples or their families, or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Smoking prohibitions have been expanded beyond enclosed spaces at places of employment for owner-operated businesses. Additionally, certain work environments also now prohibit smoking, such as in employee breakrooms, hotel lobbies, warehouse facilities, bars, and taverns.

If you have questions regarding requirements for your industry, please contact one of our attorneys today.

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