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Governor Signs Trio of New Anti-Harassment Laws

October 24, 2018 by

Governor Brown on September 30 signed three new bills addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. Significant features of the three bills, all of which are effective January 1, 2019, include the following.

New Training: SB 1343 expands the current rule requiring employers with 50 or more employees to provide anti-sexual-harassment training. With this bill, training is now required for all employers with 5 or more employees, and the training must be provided to all employees, not just supervisors. Training for employees is required for a minimum of one hour – two hours for supervisors. The training must be provided every two years, and for new hires within six months of hire. Initial training must take place during calendar year 2019. (Beginning in 2020, for seasonal and temporary employees, or any employee that is hired to work for less than six months, the training must be provided within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.) This new law requires the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to develop one- and two-hour online training courses, to be posted with other resources on the agency’s website.

Ban on Non-Disparagement Rules: SB 1300 forbids employers from forcing employees to agree to any form of non-disparagement agreement as a condition of continued employment, or in order to receive a raise or bonus. The ban includes any sort of agreement that forbids the employee from disclosing information about unlawful acts in the workplace, including but not limited to sexual harassment.

Ban on Non-Disclosure Settlement Agreements: SB 820 prohibits settlement agreements from including a clause that would forbid the claimant from disclosing factual information related to a claim of sexual assault, sexual harassment, sex discrimination, or retaliation for filing any such claim. A settlement agreement that contains a prohibited non-disclosure clause will be void. The new law does not prohibit a clause designed to keep the identity of the claimant confidential, or a clause that forbids disclosure of the amount paid in settlement.

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