Each year, numerous California residents become victims in their workplaces. The #MeToo movement brought the plight of sexual harassment victims to the forefront, and the state’s legislature attempted to respond last year with new legislation, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it. Legislators tried again this year now that Gov. Gavin Newsom is in office, and he approved important changes to existing law.
The enhancements to California’s sexual harassment laws provide some new protections for victims. One change bans employers from requiring forced arbitration for these cases. Apparently, many employers were making their workers agree to it as a condition of employment. This took away a worker’s right to a trial, which may keep the matter confidential, but also allows the conditions that led to the harassment to continue.
Another change allows victims more time to file complaints. Prior to this change, victims of discrimination, harassment and civil rights-related retaliation only had one year in which to file claims. Now, they have up to three years to do so. This change was made because many people did not understand they only had a year to file a complaint from the time the harassment happened, which did not give victims enough time to understand and explore all their options.
With these new protections, victims of sexual harassment have the freedom to take their complaints to the courts. They also have more time to decide if that is the course of action that will bring them the resolution they desire and often need. Moreover, it provides more time to consult with an employment law attorney to help them learn about their rights and move through the necessary steps needed in order to increase the possibility of success as they exercise their legal rights under California law.