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The California Legislative Report - August 2019

Aug 5, 2019 | Related Attorney Michael S. Kalt | Topic: Employment

The California Legislature is currently on its annual summer recess until August 12th.  However, before commencing this recess, it first enacted a new law (SB 188) amending the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to preclude workplace discrimination based on hairstyles and other traits historically associated with race.  Governor Gavin Newsom has already signed this law, which will take effect January 1, 2020.

Before leaving Sacramento, the legislature also advanced a number of other employment bills, including bills to:

  • Delay the new harassment training deadlines for smaller employers and non-supervisory employees from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021 and clarify that employees who received sexual harassment training in 2018 need not be re-trained in 2019 (SB 778);
  • Prohibit mandatory pre-employment arbitration agreements for FEHA and/or Labor Code violations (AB 51);
  • Impose joint liability for harassment upon client employers and labor contractors (AB 170);
  • Amend the Labor Code to preclude discrimination or retaliation against sexual harassment victims and their family members (AB 171);
  • Extend the statute of limitations for FEHA claims from one to three years (AB 9) and for Labor Code claims from six months to two years (AB 403);
  • Require employers to provide up to an additional thirty days of unpaid leave for organ donations (AB 1223);
  • Further expand workplace lactation accommodation requirements (SB 142);
  • Amend the California Consumer Privacy Act to temporarily exclude information gathered by employers in the employment context (AB 25);
  • Prohibit so-called “no rehire” provisions in employment-related settlement agreements (AB 749);
  • Codify the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex ruling regarding independent contractors while identifying various exemptions (AB 5); and
  • Require larger employers to submit annual “pay data reports” (SB 171).

However, a bill that would have amended FEHA to modernize and expand California’s veterans hiring preference (AB 160) stalled despite bi-partisan support, but may be revisited next year.

The Legislature will reconvene on August 12th, and will need to move quickly to pass bills before the September 13th deadline to send bills to Governor Newsom.

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