Business Friendly
More Minefields in the Interview Process

It’s a great time to be in the roofing industry.  Demand is outstripping supply, and

most contractors have more business than they can handle.  The only limiting factor

seems to be the lack of qualified personnel that can work on a roof, at just about any

price.  Now we can add one more problem to the mix.

The California legislature, in its never-ending quest to protect the citizens of that great state, has come up with yet another list of regulations about how and what to ask a prospective employee.  Don’t get me wrong, a potential employee’s dignity and privacy needs to be protected.  However, it seems this recent round of restrictions is infringing on the rights of another sector of its citizens: the people who provide the jobs, sign the paychecks, and pay the taxes.

Since Western Roofing covers the entire West, why are we concerned with just the state of California?  California is the largest state in the nation, and consequently accounts for a good portion of our readers.  There’s also the fact that their ideas spread to other states.  As one roofing contractor said, “When they come up with a new regulation in California, we take notice, since we’ll probably have to deal with it eventually.”

California is not business friendly, and probably never will be.  I know because that’s the reason we moved our operation to Nevada.  Unfortunately, not everyone has that option.

What has California come up with this time?  As of January 1, 2018, among other items, restrictions have been tightened regarding what an employer can ask or talk about during an interview.  These include, but are not limited to:

•Prohibition against considering an applicant’s previous salary

•Ban the Box law limiting questions about an applicant’s criminal background

•Expanded protection for transgender workers, including any discrimination regarding grooming, dress standards, as well as access to bathrooms and other facilities

•Required supervisor training on sexual orientation harassment and gender identity

•Additional requirements for the handling of an immigration agency’s request regarding access to employment records or their ability to enter the workplace

•Liability levied on construction contractors arising from their subcontractors’ wage disputes, which could be good or bad

•Increased penalties for any retribution against medical staff employees

There are also new regulations on evaluating current personnel, employee handbooks, updating job applications, recommendations from previous employers, as well as training practices and how training is handled.

To be fair, many Western states have already implemented similar, if not so restrictive, regulations.  As one Western roofing contractor noted, “During an interview, you have just a few minutes to make up your mind about a potential employee’s character and work ethic.  You can’t ask the wrong questions, or too many questions.  Basically you have to start a conversation and hope the person volunteers something you can use to help evaluate his worth and reliability.”  Welcome to the jungle.

Marc Dodson