Employment Law Bulletin | August 2019

The Harassment Prevention Training Deadline is Fast Approaching – Are You Ready?

In December 2018, we reported on a new California law requiring employers with 5 or more employees to provide harassment prevention training to all employees by the end of 2019.  As 2020 is quickly approaching, we thought we’d remind you of the training requirements now so you can be sure you are in compliance by the end of the year.

  • Non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training.
  • Supervisors must receive two hours of training (even if they received training in 2018).
  • After the initial training in 2019, training must be repeated for every two years.
  • New hires must receive training within six months of their hire date, unless they can provide evidence they completed training with a previous employer during 2019.
  • Employees promoted to a supervisory position must receive the supervisor training within six months of their promotion.
  • Beginning January 1, 2020, seasonal and temporary employees, and employees who are hired to work for less than six months, must receive training within 30 days of their date of hire or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

Not sure where to go from here?  Contact an SMT employment attorney.  We can provide the employee training or discuss other options to help you select the most efficient and cost-effective training method for your business.

Sonoma and Petaluma Adopt Their Own Minimum Wage

The cities of Sonoma and Petaluma recently established their own minimum wage for nearly all employees doing any work in Petaluma or Sonoma, even those who perform only a few hours of work per week in those cities.  These new laws apply regardless of the employer’s business location and exceed the State of California’s state minimum wage requirements.

Both ordinances apply to any employee who works for more than 2 hours in any week within the city’s geographic boundaries.  In the City of Sonoma, once the 2-hour threshold is met, all time the employee works in Sonoma that week must be paid at Sonoma’s minimum wage rate.

Under both laws, the time an employee spends traveling from a point outside the city to a destination outside the city is not subject to the ordinance so long as the employee doesn’t make an employment-related stop in the city while traveling through.

As with the State of California minimum wage, the cities of Petaluma and Sonoma adopted a phase-in schedule based on employer size.  When counting employees, the employer must count all employees working inside and outside of the cities.

City of Sonoma

Effective 1-25 Employees 26 or more Employees
1/1/2020 $12.50 $13.50
1/1/2021 $14 $15
1/1/2022 $15 $16
1/1/2023 $16 $17

City of Petaluma

Effective 1-25 Employees 26 or more Employees
1/1/2020 $14 $15
1/1/2021 $15* $15*

*may be adjusted up based on the Consumer Price Index.

State of California

Effective 1-25 Employees 26 or more Employees
1/1/2020 $12 $13
1/1/2021 $13 $14
1/1/2022 $14 $15
1/1/2023 $15 $15

Starting January 1, 2021, the City of Sonoma ordinance provides that employers who pay at least $1.50 per hour per employee towards an employee medical benefits plan can take a $1.50 per hour health credit from the minimum wage listed above.  The City of Petaluma specifically rejected such a credit.

Both laws have some limited exemptions. They also have employee notice, posting and record retention requirements.

If you pay more than the minimum wages listed above, you can breathe easy.  If you don’t and you have employees who perform any work in the cities of Sonoma or Petaluma, please contact an SMT employment attorney to discuss how these new ordinances apply to your business.

No Se Habla Español?

SMT’s employment attorneys can provide your company with employment policies, forms and employee disciplinary documentation in Spanish.  Providing such important information to employees in the language they understand is critical to employee performance, providing a welcoming diverse work environment, and protecting your company against employment claims.  Contact an SMT attorney today to get started.

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Employment Law Group

Jan Gabrielson Tansil  | Lisa Ann Hilario | Kari Brown