A new year brings new changes. On January 1st, 2019, California received some new laws concerning sexual harassment and how the state responds to women and men who charge employees and employers with harassment.
For too long, people have had to deal with sexual harassment in private. Thanks to the #MeToo movement, people are no longer afraid to come forward, and they can do so with new laws to back them up.
One of the farthest-reaching laws to come out is SB1300. This law contains numerous provisions to help employees who have suffered from all kinds of harassment, not just sexual.
One major provision is that employers can no longer require workers to sign documents stating the employee will not sue the boss if he or she experienced harassment or discrimination.
The law also states employers cannot force workers to sign documents saying they will stay quiet if they witness any unlawful practices going on at the company. This law will, hopefully, make it much easier for employees to come forward sooner.
SB820 relates to the litigation that arises from sexual harassment claims. In the past, sexual predators' identities could remain private. That is no longer the case.
These types of documents can no longer contain clauses that state the perpetrator's name will remain anonymous in public documentation. SB820 only applies to legal settlements. Non-disparagement clauses can still be in these documents.
Beginning in 2019, businesses with at least five employees need to undergo a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment training once every two years. According to the previous law, only businesses with at least 50 employees needed to have this training.
Now, when new employees come onboard, they need to receive such training within the first six months of the job. Seasonal and temporary employees also need to go through training within the first 100 hours or 30 days of the job, depending on which comes first.