California Employers With Minor Employees Face Additional Requirements

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

A new California law has created additional requirements for employers that have workers under the age of 18. AB 1963 amends the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act to add to the list of mandatory reporters a human resources employee of a business with five or more workers that employs minors.

That means that if HR employees, in their professional capacity or within the scope of their employment, have knowledge of or have observed a child whom they know or reasonably suspect has been the victim of child abuse or neglect, they must report it.

As defined by the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, “child abuse” includes acts and omissions constituting physical abuse, sexual abuse (both sexual assault and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect.

Frontline supervisors for employers with five or more employees whose duties require direct contact with and supervision of minors were also added as mandatory reporters of sexual abuse.

Failure to report is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months of jail time, a fine of $1,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. Employers are also required under the new law to provide their employees who are mandatory reporters with training on identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.

The new law takes effect January 1, 2021.

To read AB 1963, click here.

Why it matters: For California employers that often employ minors—such as those in the fast food and retail industries—the new reporting requirements (as well as the accompanying training on how to identify child abuse and neglect) are significant changes, and employers should begin implementing procedures to comply with them before the effective date just three months away.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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