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Some new laws that took effect this year in California could impact the way you conduct business. Many of the new HR regulations are in response to the outcry over workplace-related sexual harassment, otherwise known as the #MeToo movement. Employers should take this time to review current practices to see that they are in compliance and limiting their exposure to lawsuits.

The National Law Review details each provision, bill, amendment, and law. You can read all the details here if you’re interested, but here’s the breakdown:

Anti-harassment training

In September, Governor Brown approved a bill (SB 1343) that expands the requirements for providing anti-harassment training. The new law requires both supervisors and employees be trained every two years in companies where there are five or more employees. In addition, everyone must go through training in calendar year 2019, even if they already completed training in 2018.

Limitations on Confidentiality

Several new bills were put in place as a response to victims’ complaints that they often feel they’ve been silenced through the use of settlement agreements.

SB 820 essentially says there will be no more secret settlements. Any settlements pertaining to civil or administrative claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender discrimination or retaliation, may not include a non-disclosure provision as to the factual allegations of the complaint. In other words, victims of such crimes cannot be forced to stay silent about why they sued their employers.

AB 2770 has to do with giving references for former employees. It protects victims and employers from defamation claims related to communicating information about alleged sexual harassers to others. The provision intends to allow former employers to warn potential employers about an individual’s alleged conduct in the workplace without worry of facing a defamation lawsuit for doing so.

AB 3109 makes a provision for victims who might want to testify against those they are accusing of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Often a contract or settlement agreement will waive that person’s right to testify once a civil case has been settled. Now if the same case goes to criminal court, AB 3109 will allow the victim to speak in court.

Statute of Limitations

AB 1619 extends the statute of limitations for a victim of sexual assault to ten years.

More Women on Corporate Boards

By the end of this year, California’s publicly-held corporations must have at least one female on their board of directors. The number of female directors must increase again in 2021, depending on the size of the board.

Private Lactation Stations

There is an existing law which allows lactating mothers a reasonable amount of break time to express breast milk and requires employers to provide a place other than a bathroom stall for employees to do this. However, a provision to this law, AB 1976, now requires an employer to make reasonable efforts to provide a space other than a bathroom. An exemption applies if the employer can offer proof of undue hardship.

How Spectra360 Can Help

Managing the people in your organization is a full-time job. Making sure everyone is following proper rules regarding your sexual harassment and other policies is just the tip of the iceberg. Training, benefits, recruiting, hiring, and nurturing a happy and productive work environment are often those things which keep great employees happy.

Spectra360 can help you find the right people for your organization, including your human resources team. The professional services we offer are based on your hiring needs. Let us put our massive database of potential employees to work for you. Whether you need contract, temp-to-hire, or direct-hire employees, we can help you find the perfect person for the job. Contact us today to find out how we can help!