California Drug Testing Laws

drug testing

In California, employers are allowed to conduct drug testing of employees. But as much as this is allowed, employers can only be justified to do so under limited and well-defined scenarios as stressed by California state law. Below is a detailed analysis of California laws on drug testing.


California Law on Right to Privacy

An individual’s right to privacy is a key component of the state constitution in California which is in contrast to the majority of other states. This means that current and prospective employees both in government institutions and the private sector have the right not to disclose their private lives to employers. Although California stresses the right to privacy, under certain circumstances, employers can require drug testing of employees. However, employees are allowed to use marijuana if they have a valid written prescription from a doctor.


Potential Employees

California state law gives employers the right to have their employees undertake a “suspicionless” drug test as one of the pre-employment requirements. In doing so, employers must ensure the drug tests are done in a manner that demonstrates fairness and consistency to all potential employees.


Drug Testing for California Employees

As for existing employees, California state law prohibits employers from subjecting them to drug tests except under limited exceptions. Existing employees can only be required to have a drug test in instances such:

  • Adequate suspicion or reasonable grounds that an employee is abusing drugs. Enough objective facts must exist to support suspicion hence warrant a drug test.
  • The existence of a prevailing and clear physical danger that poses a threat to an employee, the rest of employees or the general public.
  • Employees are allowed to have the drug test samples tested again by a different drug testing facility.


Conducting Drug Tests

California law lacks strict guidelines on drug testing. But the possibility of drug tests being legally challenged is very unlikely especially if there exist any reasonable grounds to justify a drug test or if done at once for all employees. However, a drug test can be legally challenged if it appears that it was done in a discriminatory manner.


Drug Rehabilitation

As an employer with 25 employees or more, you have to reasonably accommodate an employee who voluntarily enrolls in a drug rehabilitation process. This is allowed as long as the reasonable accommodation does not cause warrant undue hardship on the employer.


Likely Liability Risks and Penalties

California strongly advocates for and recognizes an individual’s right to privacy. If an employer engages in unlawful random drug testing of employees, there are potential risks and penalties that can arise. An employer violates an employee’s right to privacy. An employee can file a lawsuit demanding claims for invasion of privacy.

Besides, where an employer terminates an employee for refusing to take a drug test, claims for wrongful termination by an employee can arise. Before requiring employees to take a drug test, employers should bear in mind potential litigation risks. Employers should therefore only conduct random drug tests if certain that the federal law allows such tests or if the employee’s role is one that is safety-sensitive.


Lawful Hiring Process in California


Most hiring claims come down to one of these two situations: The employer depended on data that was legitimately forbidden in settling on its choice, or the employer deceived applicant procedure of hiring. In a few circumstances, a candidate may even have a lawful case against a previous boss who is unlawfully impeding the pursuit of employment.


Segregation and Other Improper Hiring Criteria

There are various components that employer are legitimately disallowed from considering when they choose whether to employ applicant. Some of these cases are perceived in each state; others are most certainly not.



Government, state, and even nearby laws restrict managers from settling on work choices in light of secured qualities, for example, race, sex, inability, religion, et cetera. On the off chance that a business chooses not to procure somebody for one of these reasons, the candidate may have a segregation assert.


Record of Loan Repayment

The current monetary atmosphere has left a lot of individuals with not as much as stellar credit records. Perceiving this, a developing number of states have passed laws precluding bosses from asking for or considering credit reports in their activity choices, in any event for specific candidates and positions. On that you weren’t procured in light of the fact that a business disgracefully took a gander at your credit report, you may have a lawful case.


Laborers’ Remuneration Claims

California disallows bosses from declining to enlist applicants since they have petitioned for specialists’ pay with past managers. Despite the fact that there are restricted special cases, you may have a lawful case against a business that turns you down in light of the fact that you have gathered laborers’ comp previously.


Criminal Records

State laws confine whether, and to what degree, managers can think about criminal history in choosing whether to procure a candidate. A few states don’t enable bosses to consider capture records, feelings that have been fixed or erased, or feelings that don’t identify with the position. A few states permit criminal records checks just for specific occupations. A sweeping standard of precluding any applicant with a criminal record may likewise be unfair, in light of the racial difference in captures and feelings in California.


Misrepresentation and Other Claims Based on Employer Statements

If a business makes purposeful distortions to persuade a candidate to take a new job and the worker makes a move in dependence on those announcements, the representative may have an extortion guarantee. These cases frequently come up if the new activity either doesn’t appear – letting the candidate well enough alone for work and in a tight spot – or endures just for a brief timeframe.


Cases Against A Former Employer

In a few conditions, a rejected candidate may have a lawful case against a previous business for keeping the candidate from landing another position.


Striking Back

The laws that fugitive segregation additionally preclude businesses from making a move against representatives or candidates who have practiced their rights under these laws. These cases are quite often brought by representatives who are let go, downgraded, or generally rebuffed for gripping of separation or badgering.

Be that as it may, a candidate who isn’t procured may have a striking back claim against a previous boss, if the candidate lost the activity in view of that previous business’ retaliatory activities. For instance, if the previous business lied regarding why the worker was terminated, or broadly expounded on the representative’s inadequacies notwithstanding a strategy of not giving references, a striking back claim may be practical.



California has laws that deny bosses from taking certain activities to keep previous applicants from landing new positions. Some deny bosses from really making a circling a “boycott”. Others are less exacting and disallow an assortment of activities a previous manager may remove to keep previous representatives from the workforce. To disregard this sort of law, the previous manager regularly needs to put forth dangers or false expressions.



In the event that a previous employer deliberately puts forth a false expression that harms you or potentially keeps you from landing a position, you may have a maligning claim. In any case, if the previous business’ announcement is genuine – regardless of how awful – or made in accordance with some basic honesty, your case won’t get too far.

Lawful Firing Process in California


Administrators and entrepreneurs must be cautious while suspending or firing a worker. In the case that your business or establishment has a disciplinary arrangement set up, audit it before pushing ahead with a suspension or firing.


Most work environments utilize dynamic train, which is a progression of disciplinary advances that ought to be taken all together. Recording each progression shields your business from claims and different difficulties.



Verbal Warning


Two stages more often than not go before suspending or firing an employee. The first is a verbal cautioning. This is a formal discussion with the employee about the issue that should be settled. The date of the meeting and subject of discussion ought to be noted in the worker’s HR record. The worker ought to be offered time to make strides.



Composed Warning


The following disciplinary advance commonly is a written cautioning. The notice ought to be given face to face and should plot the purpose behind the notice and steps the worker has consented to take to rectify the issue. The notice likewise ought to incorporate results for not enhancing conduct.


One duplicate of the composed cautioning ought to be given to the worker, and another ought to be incorporated into his/her HR document. If necessary, verbal and composed notices can be rehashed.





Suspending a worker implies the representative is given automatic time off without pay. The length of suspension ought to be resolved in view of the sort of infraction and whether you have to explore the infraction. A suspension notice ought to be given to the representative that diagrams the length of the suspension, the explanation behind the suspension and results for promoting infractions.


On the off chance that the representative submits an infraction that may warrant quick end, suspend the worker for a few days initially to give yourself an opportunity to verify that end is the suitable reaction.





The firing of an employee is the most serious advance of any disciplinary approach. There are circumstances, for example, robbery or viciousness, that may warrant prompt end. Despite the reason, draft a letter of the end that blueprints the explanations behind the termination. Incorporate the date of end and data in the matter of how the worker can get his last paycheck if it’s excluded from the end letter.


Create a duplicate of the letter to incorporate into his HR to record. Afterwards, give the worker a copy of this letter. On the off chance that it’s not sheltered or conceivable to do this, mail the letter utilizing ensured mail with an arrival receipt.

New Laws in California

new laws

With each new year, new laws come to fruition from rulings and voting propositions of the previous year. Some of these new laws take several years to come into law because they need to be implemented in portions.

Expanding the minimum wage increase, made possible by the new laws, is going to aggressively change the California employment landscape. Not only are wages going to rise steeply over the next few years, but along with it, experts say costs of goods and services are going to skyrocket.

The enactment of the bill has two subset laws that will be going into place at different times. The two calendars increments are as follows: one for organizations with 25 or fewer employees and one for those with more than 25 workers. The state has posted a Fact Sheet in regards to the planned increments that employers can easily look up and learn more about to stay compliant.


Employee Restrooms

Starting March 1, 2017, organizations are disallowed from naming any “single-client bathroom office” as either “male” or “female.” AB 1732 characterizes “single-client can office” as “a can office without any than one water storeroom and one urinal with a locking system controlled by the client.”

Bosses must “illuminate every worker of his or her rights” upon contract and whenever from that point upon ask. The Labor Commissioner will build up a shape for these reasons and distribute it by July 1, 2017.


Getting Employee Information

The new laws restrict bosses from getting some information about or considering data identifying with captures, feelings, or different procedures that happened while a candidate or representative “was liable to the procedure and purview of juvenile court law.” Basically, if it happened while you were a minor, it is not to be taken into account during the hiring process or while employed with a company.


What would employers be able to do to prepare?

  • Make beyond any reasonable doubt that HR staff, employing directors, and bosses comprehend the procedures before initiating them within the company or on any individual within the company.
  • Stay up to date on the new laws for the upcoming years and put plans into action now that will allow them to stay ahead of them.
  • Review pay practices to recognize potential incongruities in light of race and ethnicity, and gender. If disparities are noticed, fix them.
  • Obtain and introduce proper signage for single-client restrooms to stay in accordance with the law.
  • Ensure that applications don’t receive bias decisions based on the actions taken while the applicant was an adolescent.

The Fair Pay Act Has Reduced Pay Discrimination In California

fair pay

Employees are essential to any organization or company, but without fair pay, no one would stick around very long. If you have employees in your business or company, you should ensure that you pay them well, especially the ones that you want to stick around.

In addition, you should ensure that they have good working conditions. Good remuneration is one of the motivating factors that can make employees perform better in the workplace.

However, there are circumstances where employees are normally discriminated due to their races. This leads to a race-based disparity in pay. This is detrimental. This can actually make an employee lose morale in his or her job. However, in California, Fair Pay Act came to mitigate this problem.


What is Fair Pay?

You will note that employees who perform similar work under similar working conditions should be paid equally. However, there are instances where the employees who work under the same conditions can be paid differently.

In this case, the employee should be able to manifest that the wage differential is based on either of the following; senior system, merit system and so forth. He or she should also show that he or she gets more salary not as a result of sex or race but due to factors such as education or experience.

You will note that this law requires that each factor is relied on. Each factor should account for the entire wage differential. This is one way of reducing discrimination in the workplace. As we move towards the future, employees will need to be paid for the position he or she is worth.

However, if the same employee has extra skills and competencies that can help the company or the organization, he or she can get a higher salary. The burden of paying employees falls on the employer.

The employer should check these factors so that he or she can pay the employees what they deserve. If you promote fairness in your workplace, your employees will be encouraged to work. In addition, their morale will increase. This goes a long way in improving their productivity.


What the Fair Pay Act Does

The Fair Pay Act basically calls for an overhaul of hiring practices of HR professionals who work in California. These professionals should check the credentials of the job applicants and then reward them accordingly.

This can do a long way in reducing race-based disparities in pay. Earlier on, job applicants used to negotiate for their salaries with their employers. However, times have changed. This Act has enabled most employees to get a fair pay for their services. This can be very beneficial to your company or business in California.

New Arbitration Protections for CA Employees

arbitration protection

Nowadays, it has become conventional for most employers to incorporate employment arbitration protection agreements in their employees’ contracts. These employees, however, ought to be sure about the arbitration protection before they sign the agreement. The reason for this is that most employment arbitrations get prepared in favor of the employer’s side.

For example, if an employer signs an employment contract for a specified period of years, he or she loses the mandates to sue their employer if they get fired or discriminated at their workplace.


Business Practices

Most employers incorporate employment arbitration agreement regarding the contract. This means that employees who sign for such a deal cannot impose a legal action against their employers in a court of law. In such a case, disputes arising in the workplace get settled through arbitration, which is an alternative to filing a lawsuit in the court.


New Laws

As a way of mitigating employees’ oppression by the harsh arbitration agreements, the legislature in California has enacted two new statutes which have favored employee’s arbitration protection against workplace disputes. One of the laws, SB 1007, offers either of the arbitration parties with the right to hire a certified reporter whose role is to officially transcribe all the proceedings, depositions, or hearings, for record keeping.

Transcription of testimonies and hearing reports can get essential for employers because it could get more comfortable to refer or cite from a stored record of previous proceedings.

The second statute that the California legislature passed was referred to as SB 1241. This enactment held that provisions by the arbitration cannot allow employees in the state of California to arbitrate their complaints in foreign states or enable arbitrators to utilize laws from other states in the U.S.

Apparently, such provisions would have gotten regarded as unconscionable even in the previous law. This regard is because the courts primarily insist that employees ought not to be burdened with expenses or other consequences in arbitration, which surpass what a court action would require them to bear.


The Pros of Workplace Arbitration Protection

  • Arbitration helps to keep off harsh and emotion-fueled verdict by the jury.
  • Procedures of arbitration are quite straightforward.
  • Arbitration offers more privacy with no media glare, as compared to a public court trial.
  • Settling of a case is cheaper and quick in arbitration than in a court of law.
  • There are limited chances of appeal by the loser.


     The Cons

  • The law remains unsettled on the enforceability of arbitration agreements.
  • The costs of an arbitrator and forum are high.
  • It becomes difficult to do away with cases on summary judgment or dismissal.

California Changes its Smoking Restriction Law


The US state of California, for the first time in over 20 years, has divided to change its smoking laws that are enforced throughout the state. These laws impact the way people consume cigarettes and other devices that are used for their nicotine-delivery methods.


Now, some workplaces that had an exemption from the previous smoke-free law are no longer in existence and the minimum smoking age has been raised from 18 to the 21. Also, the law equates vaporizers and e-cigarette, which are quickly gaining popularity in every corner of the world, including California, with regular tobacco products in these new smoking restrictions.


Here are the most important details about the changes and how will they reflect themselves into the California’s workforce.




The Impact of the Changes


The changed laws include those which cover all state’s employers, even those businesses that are owner-operated, which allow non-employees like clients or customer access to the same workplace. Now, the single exception from these smoking restrictions is those businesses that are operated by a single employee-own with no access to the outside whatsoever.


Apart from this, employers can still allow the act of smoking in very specific workplaces like truck driver cabins which do not have any other employees who do not smoke present at that time. Business premises like tobacco shops can have private smoking areas like lounges where smoking restrictions do not apply.



Old Smoking Restriction Laws


The old laws had several big exceptions to their restrictions. Firstly, they did not cover those employers who have five or fewer employees. Before the change in the law, a company could allow smoking in their official break room.


Finally, the old law did not include workplaces operating mostly in the hospitality industry like hotel lobbies, taverns, bars, and banquet rooms, but also failed to cover places like warehouses. The new laws take away all of these exceptions aside from a few very narrowly-defined place of business.



Tobacco Products


The last major change brought about by the new law is the recognition of all nicotine delivery products, electronic and traditional, as virtually the same. This means that electronic devices like e-cigarettes and vaporizers are seen as identical in the eyes of the law as regular cigarettes.


Because of this, it is now a crime to sell vaporizers to a person under the age of 21, while it is also a crime to use them in a place that restricts smoking on their premises.



Bottom Line of the Law Change


The changes in the law mean that almost all businesses and workplaces are now smoke-free, regardless of the number of their employees or their industry. The same is true for electronic devices used for smoking, which are now effectively banned from the same location in the same way as traditional cigarettes.


California Law Concerning Domestic Violence Leave

domestic violence

The law in California requires employers to notify employees about their rights when it comes to domestic violence leave. There are several legislations which have yet to become law and others that have been signed by the governor to become law.

For example, the law on the rights of employees concerning domestic violence leave. Stalking and special assault have been discussed in the house of legislation. Many employers and workers in California know their rights when it comes to the legislation.

There are several reasons why an employer can take leave to seek medical attention due to sexual violence.

Some of the reasons why an employer can seek leave under the domestic violence leave legislation include the following circumstances:


To seek medical attention for injuries

Some domestic violence case can lead to injury. If you have been injured in the violence, the law has provisions where you can seek leave at your workplace for you to attend to the injuries. There are many people who have gone through domestic violence which affects their productivity to work. The law tries to make it possible for workers to seek for a leave so that they can attend to the injuries for them to become more productive.

Obtaining services from domestic violence program

There are several programs such as domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center among other service providers. An employee is allowed legally to seek for leave from his place of work and seek the services of the programs. As an employer, you should know your employee has the rights to seek the services of experts in the field hence you should be prepared to allow your employee carry out the duties.


To obtain psychological counseling

If you have been abused in a domestic violence, then you need to seek the services of a psychological counselor the law in California allows people who have undergone the domestic violence to access the help of the experts. If you have been affected, then it is necessary for you to seek the services of the experts after you seek leave at your workplace. The employer is required by law to grant you the leave.


To take safety actions

You can decide to relocate for sometimes you solve the issue or decide to move out of your marriage completely. In such a case, you need time and the law allows you to access such opportunity so that you can move out of the abusive relationship.

Mistakes Made When Filing A Workers Compensation Claim

workers compensation

A workers compensation lawyer will work with you through the claims process. If an employee is injured while on the clock, the employer’s insurance should provide financial protection for the individual. However, a claim must be filed, and the insurance company must approve the claim for the individual to receive this coverage.

Though the process is strictly regulated, it is still possible for individuals who are in need of such claims to be denied coverage. That could mean you are paying thousands of dollars in medical bills because of a mistake somewhere in this process. An attorney can help you to avoid those complications.

The Employer Didn’t File the Claim

Though it is not legal for them to do so, some employers will not file such claims and will offer to pay out of pocket for such types of medical issues. The problem with this is that it does not protect the injured individual. Without a paper way, there is no way for you to prove that you were injured on the job. That is a significant risk for you to take. Rather than do this, work with a workers compensation lawyer to get the type of protection you need to avoid this kind of problem.

The Insurance Company Denied The Claim

It is common for individuals to make mistakes during the filing process and for the insurance company merely to deny coverage. You do not qualify for such levels of protection in some instances. For example, if you are facing concerns related to a claim that you have no evidence for, it may be hard to prove your case. However, with the help of attorneys, you may be able to get the help you need finally.

If you have been denied, it will be up to you and your attorney to petition for an appeal. This is done through a specific method. If you were missing information or otherwise limited terms of evidence, you would need to correct that problem before trying to file your claim again. The attorneys will help you to gather such information. If the claim is further denied, it might be necessary to take the process to court for further exploration of your risks to compensation.

There is no doubt that this process can be a challenge. However, there is help available. With the aid of an attorney, you can finally get the compensation you deserve. The key is to hire a workers compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Putting it off could obligate you a lot in the long term.

Same-Sex Couples and Shared Employment Benefits


Despite the highly rising number of same-sex couples, it has looking harder and harder for them to be included in the shared employment benefits. For a long period of time, marriage has been giving spouses a chance for them to share and enjoy their employment benefits. Such benefits include dental and health insurances, among others.


The couples have triumphantly been fighting for jurisdiction recognition and are winning extensively. What now remains in question is whether their employment benefits should be equal to those enjoyed by heterosexual couples.



Gaining Clarity

Under many interpretations, the question remains not clearly answered. In the U.S v. Windsor decision by the U.S Supreme Court, the Act named Defense of Marriage was found unconstitutional and same-sex matrimony was opened as a lawful possibility.


States were however left able to regulate marriages depending on their own interpretations. Same-sex marriages, therefore, remain unrecognized by various states. Such states maintain their stand even for the marriages that were conducted in other states that allow the union.



Protected Classes

Race, religion, gender, and ethnicity are protected classes because of their good establishment. This raises the concerns over whether the LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) may be protected by the anti-discrimination laws through being considered as one of the protected classes.


Laws protecting these classes are always interpreted differently and after strict reviews, the courts often overturn any of the laws that if it is found lacking a legitimate purpose, violating equal protection right or if there exists a way of accomplishing the intended goal through a lesser restriction.



Stance On Gay Marriage

With the complexity of the answers to the question in hand, the employers are left facing a difficult predicament. All the states have not come to a common agreement despite the Federal Court’s ban of the law stating the unconstitutionality of gay marriage.


The individuals have also not been determined to be under a class with protection by the law. Such protection includes the equality of employment benefits just as is the case for heterosexual couples. The wonder that therefore remains is, should an employer offer the same-sex couples equal employment benefits as to those offered to straight couples?



State Jurisdiction

The jurisdiction taken by various states is varying and according to the way the politics are unfolding, there seems to be a brighter future for the LGBT couples. The laws protecting them may spread further and further. As an advice, for companies that are caught up within the varying jurisdictions, it might be better for them to operate within the laws stated by the majority of the states.


This will beef up the employees’ equality rights and also prevent future conflicts with the laws set under the jurisdictions. In fact, a good number of Fortune500 companies are already in the move towards equal domestic partners or spouse’s benefits for their LGBT employees.



Business Stance

Companies that are only operating under one state can consider the laws of the particular jurisdiction. A corporate counsel can be consulted on the matter. It is, however, important for such companies to keep looking at how the laws are changing because it seems that more equal rights for same-sex couples or individuals will continually be imposed. For same-sex couples who feel that their right to share their employment benefits is in denial, they can seek advice from an experienced attorney.


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