The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment on the basis of their race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, martial status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.
Oct. 12, 2018
New Sexual-Harassment-Related Laws in California
Sexual harassment poisons work environments and can cause lasting harm to its victims. Unfortunately, this unacceptable behavior continues to show up in many workplaces here in the United States. Another sad reality is that many sexual harassment victims are subjected to an environment which could leave them feeling like they are not free to speak up about the wrong being done to them.
In recent times, some states have taken efforts to change their laws to try to help reduce workplace sexual harassment and help victims feel empowered to speak up against such harmful behavior. California is among these states.
Over the weekend, a handful of sexual-harassment-related bills were signed into law by the state’s governor. Examples of things these new laws touch on are:
Sexual harassment training: One of the signed bills makes it so now nearly all employees in the state will be covered by requirements for biennial sexual harassment training.
Liability releases: One of the new laws prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign a liability release related to things such as sexual harassment in exchange for continued employment or a bonus.
Settlements: Under one of the new laws, “secret” settlements are no longer allowed when it comes to sexual harassment claims. While victims can keep their names confidential in such settlements, the accused no longer can.
What do you think of these new laws? Do you think they will be a big help in the battle against sexual harassment in California?
Now, not all of the sexual-harassment-related bills which made their way onto the governor’s desk lately have received his approval. There were also a handful of such bills that the governor opted to veto. The veto reasons varied based on the bill.
Are there any additional law changes you would like to see made in California when it comes to the issue of workplace sexual harassment?
It is important for victims of workplace sexual harassment to know what rights, protections and options they have under state and federal law. Employment law attorneys can give such workers guidance on this.
How many times have you wondered if you’re getting paid your fair share? Do you think you’re underpaid because of your race, sex, gender, disability, or even your prior salary history?
If you cannot work because you’re injured/sick or you need to care for a qualifying family member, eligible employees (those who worked more than 1,250 hours in the year prior for an employer with 5 or more employees) are eligible for up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) and/or California Family Rights Act protected Leave (CFRA).