spotlight-consultingservices-011714In 2014, the California Legislature passed several new laws affecting employers, ranging from the heavily publicized sick-leave statute, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, to the less-hyped Assembly Bill 326, amending the Labor Code to now permit employers to report workplace accidents via email.

Below is a review of some of the significant employment-related laws that will affect employers in the coming year and suggestions on what employers should do to prepare for the impending changes. Unless otherwise indicated, each new law will become effective as of January 1, 2015.

Assembly Bill 1443 provides new legal protections for unpaid interns and volunteers with respect to harassment and discrimination. Employers may be liable for violations of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) if their unpaid interns or volunteers are unlawfully harassed, discriminated against on the basis of a legally protected classification, or not provided religious accommodations as applied to employees. In addition to updating their anti-harassment and other relevant policies to include interns and volunteers, employers should notify interns and volunteers of both their rights under this new law and the company’s complaint procedures.

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