New workplace and sexual harassment laws in California

New state workplace laws recently went into effect at the beginning of the New Year. The laws were inspired by the recent focus on sexual harassment nationally. A total of eight bills were signed focusing on sexual harassment and other types of harassment and limiting the same in the workplace. One of the new laws relates to the number of women on the boards of publicly traded companies based in California.

Another new law prevents employers from requiring workers to sign certain documents as a condition for obtaining or retaining a job or receiving a raise or bonus. One type of document workers cannot be required to sign is an agreement not to bring a claim against the employer under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The other is an agreement that would prevent the worker from disclosing information related to unlawful activity in the workplace including sexual harassment. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, gender, race or other protected status. The latter law applies to both public and private employers in California.

Another new law relates to sexual harassment training and requires that companies with five or greater employees must provide supervisors with two hours of training and all other employees must receive one hour of training within six months of being hired. Additional requirements related to sexual harassment training in the workplace are also included in the law. Training can be conducted in person or online but must interactive. Greater than a dozen bills were signed related to workplace topics.

Sexual harassment prevention is important, as it is also important for workers to be familiar with the protections available to them against sexual harassment. There are a variety of protections available, including new ones, which is why it is essential for workers to be familiar with sexual harassment laws and protections.

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