On September 30th, 2018, Governor of California, Jerry Brown, signed several bills into law that help combat sexual harassment in the workplace inspired by the #MeToo movement.
State Bill 1343 broadens the anti-harassment training requirement significantly. Prior to the passage of this bill, originally the law required that employers with 50 or more employees provide supervisors with a minimum of 2 hours of education and training on sexual harassment, bullying, and gender-based harassment. Now, employers with 5 or more employees must provide training and education. Supervisors are still required to receive 2 hours while nonsupervisory employees must receive at least one hour. This new law will go into effect January 1st, 2020 and training must be provided every two years.
An additional state bill, SB 1300, authorizes, however, doesn’t require employers to provide “bystander intervention training” which will allow employees and employers to identify behaviors and intervene when they observe aforementioned behaviors.
State Bill 820 was created to help with greater transparency regarding claims of sexual harassment and assault. Formerly, it was commonplace for employers to provide clauses in contracts that prohibited parties from disclosing terms of settlement regarding a sexual harassment or assault case. However, this new bill eliminates clauses such as these being in settlement agreements. This goes into effect January 1st, 2019.
Another area covered is harassment that takes place within the venture capitalist industry. State Bill 224 prohibits harassment by investors. A person can now be held liable for sexual harassment if a plaintiff can show there was any sort of business or professional relationship between the plaintiff and defendant.
For more information about all of the state bills that will be going into effect, please read the expanded version here. If employers are worried about all the new requirements, it’s recommended to hire an employment attorney who can help you create company policies that comply with the new set of laws.