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Changes to California's sexual harassment laws

Residents in California have certainly been aware that the issue of sexual harassment or misconduct has received more attention in the last year or so. For many, there are not only concerns about potential sexual harassment in the workplace but also about how allegations of these actions are handled. The state of California will see new laws go into effect in 2019 that will continue to place the burden of proof on the person making any allegations but that may well make it easier to prove them.

As reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune, there are multiple components to the new laws. Among them is that no employers can no longer require employees to promise they will not publicly disclose allegations of sexual harassment in order to secure their jobs. Confidentiality as part of an agreement in a case is separate from this.

Currently, a person who asserts that they have experienced harassment must demonstrate that their productivity at work has been measurably hampered as part of proving that harassment actually took place. Under the new laws, that person will now only have to show that any reasonable person would have found it more difficult to be productive under the conditions that they experienced. 

Disparities in how rules are applied will be eliminated so that sexual harassment will be defined equally in all workplaces. The one exception here is for businesses in which discussions or actions that are sexual in nature are inherent, such as in entertainment when content includes some sexual references.

 

 

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