To this very day, the #MeToo movement, which was established in response to a long list of women coming forward to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment, is reshaping California laws and workplaces.
It takes time to adjust California’s labor and employment laws to eradicate the pervasive problem that had been normalized and ignored for decades, and a new set of laws effective on January 1, 2019, are a reflection of how lawmakers are trying to punish for and prevent sexual harassment at work.
Interestingly, these are also some of the last acts signed by outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown, who left office on Jan. 7, 2019. We asked our sexual harassment lawyer Los Angeles from Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers to do a roundup of new California labor laws in 2019 that address sexual harassment in the workplace.
- From now on, if you hear your employer say something along the lines of, “Okay, I will pay you, but you will be prohibited from disclosing facts about this claim,” know that he or she is breaking the law. Specifically, your employer is breaking the SB 820, known as the Stand Together Against Non-Disclosure Act. The SB 820, which took effect on January 1, 2019, makes it illegal to enter into settlement agreements with provisions forbidding disclosure of facts about the disputed claims. “The new law applies to settlement agreements relating to claims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender discrimination, or resulting retaliation claims,” says our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer.
- Starting in 2019, employees will regain their right to testify regarding sexual harassment. The new law, AB 3109, nullifies any provision or term in a settlement agreement that waives the victim’s right to testify in an administrative, legislative, or judicial proceeding about acts of sexual harassment or sexual assault. The term or provision is nullified if the testimony is requested in a court order, subpoena, or written request from an administrative agency.
- Under AB 2770, the current or former employer has the privilege to answer a prospective employer’s questions as to whether he/she would rehire a current or former employee, and whether the refusal to rehire that employee is based on “credible evidence” that the employee engaged in sexual harassment.
- For the second consecutive year, California lawmakers have extended sexual harassment training requirements as part of their amendment of Government Code Section 12950. The new law, SB 1343, requires employers with at least five employees to provide each supervisor with two hours of sexual harassment training every 24 months. “Previously, only employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide such sexual harassment training,” reminds our experienced sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles.
- California lawmakers have also extended the statute of limitations for filing a civil action for actual or attempted sexual assault in the workplace. Effective on Jan. 1, 2019, AB 1619 allows to file such a civil action within 10 years of the date the alleged act of sexual assault occurred or three years after the employee discovered or reasonably should have discovered any injury or illness caused by the alleged act of sexual assault, whichever comes later.
As you can see, California is making giant strides in eradicating the problem of sexual harassment from workplaces and protecting the rights of employees. Still, if you have been sexually harassed in the workplace in 2019, do not hesitate to speak to our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 310-527-6994.
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