January 3, 2024

Important Handbook and Policy Changes for 2024 and Beyond

As California employers rightfully reflect on their accomplishments from 2023, it is time to look ahead to 2024 and make sure your company’s New Year’s Resolutions include the following:

  1. Employee Handbook/Policy Changes 2024
    • Paid Sick Leave Changes: As of January 1, 2024, most employers are required to provide 5 days/40 hours of paid sick leave under California law, but this amount, and rollover accruals from year to year, can be even greater if your company is subject to a local sick leave ordinance. See our blog post here.
    • Reproductive Loss Leave: Employers are now required to provide unpaid leave, intermittent or continuous, of up to five (5) days of leave following a “reproductive loss event,” which is defined as a day or, for a multiple-day event, the final day of a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction. The leave can be up to 20 days for employees who suffer multiple loss events.
    • Prohibition Against Discrimination for Cannabis Use/Drug Testing: Employers cannot discriminate against employees for their use of cannabis off the job and away from the worksite; for a required drug screening test that finds an employee to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their system; or for an employee’s prior cannabis use obtained from their criminal history unless the Company is permitted to consider or inquire about such information by state or federal law.
  2. Workplace Violence Prevention Plans Required for Most California Employers. Effective July 1, 2024, California law requires most California employers to create a written workplace violence prevention plan, a workplace violence incident log (consistent with OSHA standards), a workplace violence prevention curriculum specific to the employer, and annual training for all employees concerning identification and internal reporting of workplace violence concerns. The employee training and the written plan are required to be customized to the particular risk factors associated with each employer. (All of this is in addition to employers’ existing obligation under Section 527.8 of the Code of Civil Procedure to seek a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction where an employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual that can reasonably be construed to be carried out or to have been carried out at the workplace.)
  3. Compliance with California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), as amended by California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”): If a California employer/business engages in the selling or sharing of consumers’ (including employees, applicants and independent contractors) personal information OR had gross revenues in 2023 in excess of $25 million, it is subject to the CCPA. The CCPA creates a complex and comprehensive set of consumer rights and lays out steps, including a web-platformed privacy policy, a notice at collection, a procedure to respond to consumer requests to exercise such rights, and an obligation to eliminate and/or limit the use of consumers’ personal information as much as possible. Failure to comply can subject businesses to costly civil penalties and/or suits for damages by the State of California and consumers, individually or on a classwide basis. See our blog post here.
  4. Non-Competition/Non Solicitation Agreements. Noncompetition agreements/clauses have long been unenforceable in California, as developed through a long line of decisional (case) law. Now the California Legislature has expressly made the decisional law part of California statutory law. In addition, for the first time, a California employer who attempts to enforce an invalid non-compete – even one that was signed outside of California and is otherwise governed by and fully enforceable under the laws of another state – will be at risk of being sued under a new legal claim–a private cause of action permitting a former or existing employee to be awarded damages, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees and costs when challenging an invalid non-compete agreement/clause. Additionally, no later than February 14, 2024, employers must send individual notices to all current and former employees (if they were employed after January 1, 2022) informing them that their non-competes are void under California law. See our blog post here.

The policies and procedures described above are comprehensive and complex and should not be undertaken without the advice of legal counsel. We at Hirschfeld Kraemer stand ready to strategize and assist your company with all aspects of compliance and implementation.

For more information, contact Monte Grix or your Hirschfeld Kraemer legal counsel with any questions. Monte can be reached at (310) 255-1827 or mgrix@hkemploymentlaw.com.