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New laws against workplace harassment take effect in California

Whenever January 1 rolls around, it means not just a new year but new laws in California and other jurisdictions. This year, in response to the #MeToo movement, some new laws have come into effect on the topic of harassment. This blog post will discuss some of these new laws here in California.

One new law, called SB1300, is a wide-ranging measure designed to prevent many kinds of workplace harassment. It prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign an agreement not to sue the employer under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. This is the law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age and other protected statuses. The new law also prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign an agreement not to disclose information about harassment and other unlawful acts happening on the job.

Another new law, SB820, applies to settlement agreements that resolve civil or administrative claims of sexual misconduct. The law outlaws provisions that prevent employees from disclosing facts about sexual misconduct claims. The new law applies to all facts except for the identity of the complainant if they wish to remain anonymous as well as the amount of money paid to settle the claim.

There are also other new laws that apply to harassment cases. Some new laws require various kinds of employees to receive sexual harassment training. These include supervisors at companies with five or more workers as well as migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. These training requirements will be phased in over the next year or so.

Workplace harassment is not acceptable in 2019. When employees are subjected to workplace harassment, they have a right to take action to stop the harassment and recover appropriate damages.

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