On September 30th, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed and vetoed
bills that will substantially alter the employment laws for businesses
across the state. Below, we review some of the new laws that will take
effect starting on January 1, 2019.
The following are new assembly bills signed by Governor Brown:
Lactation Accommodation (AB 1976): Under the old law, employers had to provide a location other than a toilet
stall for employees who need to express breast milk. With AB 1976, employers
must provide a location other than a “bathroom,” and instead
than a “toilet stall, for employees to express breast milk. As of
January 1, 2019, employers in California can no longer designate a bathroom
as an adequate space to express breast milk.
Salary History (AB 2282): This law is supposed to clarify ambiguities for a law that bans salary
history inquiries and requires employers to provide pay scales to applicants.
The new law now specifies that employers can ask about an applicant’s
salary expectations for the position they are applying for. Although external
applicants are still entitled to a pay scale if they ask for one, they
must first complete an initial interview.
Defamation Protection (AB 2770): Under AB 2770, employers and victims of sexual harassment will have legal
protections from lability for defamation lawsuits for injury caused to
an alleged harasser’s reputation. If an employee makes a credible
report of harassment, they will be shielded from liability. The same goes
for an employer who communicates with victims and witnesses. Employers
can also reveal if a person is no longer eligible for rehire due to sexual
harassment when contacted for a job reference.
The following senate bills go into effect this year:
Confidentiality Clauses in Settlement Agreements (SB 820): This law will expand the range of cases in which “secret settlements”
are restricted. The law prohibits confidentiality provisions that won’t
allow the disclosure of factual information when a settlement is reached
in cases involving sexual harassment.
Paid Family Leave (SB 1123):
The Paid Family Leave wage replacement program will now be expanded for employees who need to
take time off from work for situations related to the covered active duty
status of their spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent who serves
in the armed forces. These situations are known as “qualifying exigencies,”
and include official ceremonies, briefings, changes to child care arrangements,
financial or legal arrangements, and counseling.
Sexual Harassment (SB 1300): Under SB 1300, there will be a lower bar for employees to bring harassment
lawsuits. The law also limits employers from obtaining summary judgment
in harassment cases.
Sexual Harassment Training (SB 1343): Starting this year, employers with five or more employees will have to
train supervisors on sexual harassment for two hours within 6 months of
months of their date of hire or promotion. Non-supervisorial employees
have to receive one hour of training within six months of their date of
hire or promotion, and every two years after that.
Do you have more questions about employment laws in California? If so,
you should get in touch with our legal team to get the answers you are
looking for. Call (888) 796-4010 to
schedule an appointment with a
Hollister employment law attorney. We offer free consultations!