May 5, 2018

The #MeToo movement’s momentum may have slowed, but it is undeniable that the continuous outpouring of sexual harassment claims, which gained traction in October 2017, has changed workplace policies in Riverside and all across California.

And while the #MeToo movement has been less prevalent in everyday headlines than it used a few months ago, it triggered a ripple effect that can be felt even today. Our Riverside sexual harassment attorney at the JML Law explains that there are several prominent employment law bills that are pending before the California Legislature, which, if approved, would bring significant changes to workplace policies.

As you may have guessed by now, these employment law bills are related to sexual harassment and were designed to eliminate some of the imperfections in California sexual harassment law. Let’s review three employment law bills that could transform workplaces and bring dramatic changes to employment practices in the nearest future.

Sexual harassment prevention training for ALL employees

SB-1343 focuses on amending the current legal requirements relating to sexual harassment prevention training. Under the current employment law in California, businesses with 50 or more employees are required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to supervisory employees within half a year of their assumption of the duties. Furthermore, eligible supervisors must go through the same training once every two years thereafter.

The goal of the new bill – SB-1343 – is to oblige a significantly larger number of employers in Riverside and all across California to provide sexual harassment prevention training. Under the proposed legislation, businesses with 5 or more employees would be legally required to provide at least two hours of this training to ALL employees (not just supervisors, as it is under the current law) by January 1, 2020. Similarly to the current law, employees would have to repeat the training once every two years thereafter.

After reviewing the proposed law in detail, our sexual harassment attorney in Riverside says that SB-1343 would offer employers two options: to use a 2-hour sexual harassment training video developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or develop their own training program that would be in compliance with the requirements provided in the legislature.

Sexual harassment complaints remain for 10 years

Under the other proposed bill – AB-1867 – employers in Riverside and all across California that have 50 or more employees would have to maintain records of sexual harassment complaints from their employees for 10 years from the date the claim was filed.

The proposed legislation would authorize the DFEH to be able to seek orders requiring employers to comply. It is unclear whether the new law will include any penalties for employers who are not compliant and/or violate the new law.

Taking time off from work after sexual harassment

The third proposed employment law bill, AB-2366, has the goal to amend Labor Code sections 230 and 230.1. Under the current law, employers are not allowed to terminate, discriminate or retaliate against victims of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking if they request or take time off from work.

Under the current legislature, employers with 25 or more employees are legally required to accommodate requests for leaves from employees who were victims of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking. The new bill, meanwhile, seeks to extend this protection to workers who were victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. Furthermore, AB-2366 would also allow employees to take time off from work to provide moral support or assistance to their immediate family members who were victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, stalking, or domestic violence.

These three proposed laws could be approved by the Governor by the end of 2018. Currently, they are being reviewed by the Legislature. If you have any questions regarding these three bills – such as how they might affect you as an employee or employer – or you have any other questions about sexual harassment in the workplace, get in touch with our Riverside sexual harassment attorney at the JML Law today. Call our offices at 818-610-8800 or send us an email to get a free consultation.