New Year’s Laws

Every year brings in new laws on the books and 2017 is no different.  Below is a summary of a few California and Federal laws going into effect in 2017.


  • California: Cellphones may not be used while driving unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation.
  • California: The state updated the standard for valid digital signatures providing that they are valid if (i) it is unique to the person using it; (ii) it is capable of verification; (iii) it is under the sole control of the person using it; and (iv) it is linked to data in such a manner that if the data are changed, the digital signature is invalidated.
  • California: The state prohibits “commercial online entertainment employment service providers” (which primarily means IMDB) from publishing or sharing the subscriber’s birth date or age without the subscribers consent.  This arose from an unsuccessful privacy suit by an actress who claimed IMDB improperly published her correct age.  IMDB is arguing the provision violates the First Amendment.


  • California: Minimum wage increases to $10.50/hour with businesses with 26 or more employees and the following year for those under 26 employees.  Eventually the minimum wage for all empl0yers will reach $15.00/hour  over the next five-years.  The minimum salary for exempt employees also will rise from from $41,600 to $43,680 per year.
  • California: An employer may not pay employees differently based on race, ethnicity or sex for the same work and may not use a female employee’s salary history as a basis for paying the employee differently than her male counterparts.
  • California: All single user bathrooms must be all gender facilities.
  • California:  Employers with 25 or more employees must provide written notice to their employees about the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to take protected time off for medical treatment or legal proceedings.  The form of the notice will be released by the California Labor Commissioner later this year.
  • Federal:   A federal overtime rule that would doubled the maximum salary eligible for overtime to $47,500 was supposed to go into effect on  December 1, 2016, but a has been blocked by a Texas federal court.
  • Federal:  Beginning January 22, 2017 all employers use the recently updated Form I-9 Employee Eligibility Verification.


And Don’t forget:

  • California: Employees taking breaks to go to beauty salons or barber shops may be taking a little longer now that those shops are lowed to serve free beer or wine to customers.
  • California: A person may break into a car to rescue an animal if they call law enforcement first.
  • California: Prop 64 legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and established a licensed regulation system for commercial production and sale of marijuana beginning January 1, 2018.  One catch – its all still illegal under the Federal controlled substance act.