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Guest column: New California laws for 2018

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Announcements | Associations | Education | Legal | Repair Operations

Editor’s note: California collision repair facility owners and employees will have new rights or obligations next year under a series of laws and regulations taking effect soon. The Automotive Service Councils of California has put together a fantastic primer of shop-focused 2018 changes and graciously allowed us to reprint it here (minor edits). Even if you don’t work at a California shop, check it out: Laws and regulations have a way of trickling from the Golden State to the rest of the country.

By the Automotive Service Councils of California

Every year, hundreds of new laws are enacted that impact California automotive repair shops. Below is a short summary/highlights of some key measures that will take effect in 2018, unless otherwise noted.

Note: This summary is designed to provide information and should not be considered legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney on how best to proceed under these laws.

Minimum wage increase

Reminder that effective Jan. 1, 2018, the minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees will increase to $11 per hour. The minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $10.50. (Senate Bill 3 of 2017)

Smog check exemption

This new law extends the exemption for performing vehicle smog check inspections from 6 years to 8 years. Exempted vehicle owners will pay
$25 annual abatement fee (Assembly Bill 1274)

Mobile automobile repair

These Bureau of Automotive Repair regulations will require mobile automotive operators to display in any advertisement, the name, telephone number and BAR registration number. In addition, mobile operators must comply with all BAR laws and regulations, including estimates, work orders and invoices and provide consumers a copy of the official auto repair dealer sign. (16 California Code of Regulations 3351.7.1; 3351.7.2; and 3371.1)

Salary history

This new law prohibits employers from using or seeking job applicants’ salary information. Also, employers cannot rely on salary history information as a factor in determining whether to offer employment and what salary to offer to an applicant. (AB 168)

Immigration enforcement

This new law will bar employers from voluntarily consenting to allow an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of a workplace, except if the agent provides a judicial warrant or otherwise required by
federal law. Employers cannot provide these enforcement agents access to employee records without a subpoena or judicial warrant. Employers must follow specific requirements related to Form I-9 inspections. (AB 450)

Vehicle retirement and replacement

These new laws require updated guidelines for retire and replace options to purchase light-duty trucks and to set specific annual goals for retire and replace and post information online. (AB 188 and AB 630)

‘Ban the box’

This new law prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking about criminal history information on job applications and from inquiring about or considering criminal history at any time before a conditional offer of employment has been made. Once an employer has made a conditional offer of employment, it may seek certain criminal history information. The employer must follow specific requirements before denying employment because of criminal convictions. (AB 1008)

Taxicab inspections

This new law requires taxicab companies to maintain vehicles in safe operation condition and requires an annual inspection to be performed by BAR registered facility. (AB 1069)

Workplace safety

Employers that have designated cleaning products, including general cleaning, air care, automotive or polish or floor maintenance products, must obtain the safety data sheets from the manufacturers and make them available at the workplace. (SB 258)

Workers compensation

This new law lowers the ownership threshold for waiving workers’ compensation coverage from 15 percent to 10 percent and also creates specific waiving provisions for professional corporations, worker-owned cooperatives, and closely-held family business. (SB 189)

BAR vehicle procurement requirements

This new law allows BAR to be exempted from certain state vehicle procurement requirements governing the acquisition of vehicles purchased and used for undercover operations. (SB 547)

Parental Leave Act

This new law requires an employer with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child. If an employee takes leave, an employer must maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan at the same level and conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued working. (SB 63)

Proposition 65 signage

Current law Proposition 65 protects consumers from toxic substances that may cause cancer and birth defects by requiring warnings in advance of exposures to dangerous chemicals. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) passed a new regulation which provides specific language warnings for environmental exposures signage that may be used by vehicle repair facilities. This law will take effect Aug. 30, 2018. See the Prop 65 warning here: www.p65warnings.ca.gov/places/vehicle-repair-facilities. (27 CCR 25607.25)

Harassment prevention training

This new law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide supervisors with 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention training every two years. (SB 396)

Retaliation

This new law greatly expands certain employee retaliation and whistleblower claims. The law also allows the labor commissioner to initiate an investigation of employers, with or without a complaint being filed. (SB 306)

The Automotive Service Councils of California is the state’s largest independent auto repair group. www.ascca.com.

More information:

Automotive Service Councils of California guide to new 2018 California laws

Automotive Service Councils of California, 2017

Featured image: The California Legislature is shown. (dwporter/iStock)