California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Enforcement Begins July 1

As previously reported, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020, but the earliest date the California Attorney General could enforce the law was July 1, 2020. That day is quickly approaching and, despite a lack of final CCPA regulations for employers to rely on, it looks like the Attorney General will not delay enforcing the law.

The CCPA significantly changed California’s consumer data collection rules to give consumers more control over how businesses use their personal information. Though employers are exempt from much of the law as it pertains to their employees’ personal information (employment information), employers must still comply with the requirement to disclose, at or before the time of collection, the categories of personal information collected about an applicant or employee, as well as the purposes for which the information will be used.

Many employers are doing their best to comply with the new law, but a big problem they face is uncertainty about how to comply. The Attorney General has been working on CCPA regulations since October 2019, but they have yet to be finalized. Though the regulations are not final, they give employers some guidance on how to provide a compliant notice. For example, the latest proposed regulations state that disclosure notices generally must be presented at or before the time of collection in a way that is easy to read and understandable to consumers/employees, including:

  • Using plain, straightforward language and avoiding technical or legal jargon;
  • Using a format that draws the person’s attention to the notice and makes the notice readable;
  • Being available in the language(s) the business typically uses; and
  • Being accessible to persons with disabilities.

Employers can review the latest draft regulations for more specifics. The Attorney General submitted them to the Office of Administrative Law for review on June 1, 2020, which means, if approved, the new regulations could take effect on October 1, 2020. However, despite final regulations being months away, the Attorney General indicated enforcement would not be delayed and is still set to begin on July 1, 2020.

Many employers already have employee disclosure notices in place, but it may be a good idea to take another look at your practices and the latest draft regulations before enforcement begins. While continuing compliance efforts, employers should also remember that the CCPA’s definition of “personal information” is extremely broad and may have implications for certain information collected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

James W. Ward, Employment Law Subject Matter Expert/Legal Writer and Editor

CalChamber members can read more about the California Consumer Privacy Act in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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