California: New Employment Laws Coming in 2019

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All Employers with CA Employees

EFFECTIVE

January 1, 2019, unless noted otherwise

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Governor Brown recently signed numerous employment-related bills, impacting various industries and employment practices; among these are a package of bills following the #MeToo movement.  The below list summarizes some key bills.

Sexual Harassment Prevention, Amendments, and Claims:

  • SB 1343 | Sexual Harassment Training: Employers of five or more employees must provide at least 2 hours of training to supervisory employees and at least one hour of training to non-supervisory employees by January 1, 2020, and every 2 years thereafter. The DFEH has been tasked with developing training materials for employer use.
  • AB 3109 | Disclosure of Sexual Harassment: Any agreement or contract preventing a party from testifying about criminal conduct or sexual harassment in an administrative, legislative, or judicial proceeding will become void and unenforceable.
  • SB 820 | Settlement of Sexual Harassment Claims: In cases of sexual harassment claims, settlement agreements entered after January 1, 2019 may not prevent disclosure of factual information pertaining to a claim of sexual assault, harassment, gender discrimination, or related retaliation.  However, the settlement amount and claimant’s identity may be precluded from disclosure.
  • SB 224 | Sexual Harassment Relationships: Expands the types of relationships that can be subject to a claim of sexual harassment to include lobbyists, directors, producers, elected officials, and investors.
  • SB 1300 | FEHA Amendments: Provides amendments to the Fair Employment and Housing Act, such as prohibiting employers from requiring employees to release a FEHA claim in exchange for a bonus, raise, or continued employment, and making employers liable for any kind of unlawful harassment by non-employees, not just sexual harassment, in situations where the employer failed to take appropriate remedial action.
  • AB 1619 | Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations: Lengthens the statute of limitations for filing a civil action for sexual assault to 10 years after the alleged assault, or three years after the plaintiff reasonably discovered an injury as a result of the assault, whichever is later.

Other Bills

  • SB 1252 | Payroll Records Copies: If requested by an employee, the employer must provide copies of payroll records. Previously, employers only needed to make the records available, and employees were responsible for making copies themselves.
  • SB 1123 | Paid Family Leave Usage Expanded: Employees may receive wage-replacement benefits from the Paid family Leave program if taking time off for reasons associated with the employee, or the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child being called to active duty, beginning January 1, 2021.
  • SB 970 | Training on Human Trafficking: Hotel and motel employers must provide at least 20 minutes of training on human trafficking awareness to employees who may come into contact with victims of trafficking. This training must be provided by January 1, 2020. Similarly, AB 2034 makes the same requirement, but for employers who operate intercity passenger rails, light rails, or bus stations, with a compliance deadline of January 1, 2021.
  • SB 826 | Gender Composition of Boards of Directors: Requires employers with principal executive offices in California to have at least one female director on its board by the end of 2019.  The ratio of male to female directors increases, depending on headcount of the board of directors, through the end of 2021.
  • AB 1976 | Lactation Accommodation: Employers must provide an area other than a bathroom for employees to express breast milk. The location should be generally permanent, but may be temporary under certain conditions. There are narrow exceptions for those in the agricultural industry.  Employers may also demonstrate that providing a permanent, non-bathroom space for lactation constitutes an undue hardship.
  • SB 1412 | Criminal History Inquiries: Clarifies an employers’ limited ability to make criminal history inquiries and use criminal history information when making employment decisions.
  • AB 1654 | PAGA Review for Unionized Construction Employers: Workers covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry will not be covered by PAGA when certain conditions are met.
  • AB 2605 | Petroleum Industry On-Call Rest Breaks: Unionized workers on safety-sensitive positions may be required to remain on call during rest periods, effectively immediately.
  • AB 1565 | Contractor Liability: Implements certain requirements that must be met for a direct contractor to withhold payments to a subcontractor as a result of a dispute.

Action Items

  1. Have harassment training protocols updated consistent with the new requirements.
  2. Have arbitration and confidentiality agreements reviewed for compliance with the new restrictions on confidentiality of harassment claims.
  3. Have harassment policies updated.
  4. Have policies and procedures updated regarding requests for payroll records.
  5. Review composition of board of directors to determine further action.
  6. Determine a set location for lactating mothers.
  7. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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