Governor Signs New Laws in 2018

On September 30th, 2018, the last day to sign or veto bills, Governor Jerry Brown altered the landscape for California employers in a number of significant ways. Here are some of the new laws taking effect in January 2019 that employers should anticipate:

Assembly Bills

Lactation Accommodation (AB 1976): Under current state law an employer must provide a location other than a toilet stall for an employee to express breast milk. The location must also be private and in close proximity to the employee’s work area. This law requires that the employer provide a location other than a “bathroom,” rather than a “toilet stall.” As a result, employers cannot designate a bathroom as a designated space to express breast milk. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Salary History (AB 2282): This new law clears up ambiguities in last year’s AB 168, the ban on salary history inquiries and the requirement to provide pay scales to applicants. The Labor Code will now specify that employers may inquire about an applicant’s salary expectations for the position being applied for. External applicants (not current employees) are entitled to a pay scale upon request, but only after completing an initial interview. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Defamation Protection (AB 2770): Employers and victims of sexual harassment will be protected from liability for defamation lawsuits for injury to an alleged harasser’s reputation after a complaint of sexual harassment has been made. An employee who makes credible reports of harassment will be shielded from liability, as will an employer who communicates with interested parties such as victims and witnesses. When contacted for a job reference about a current or former employee, an employer will now be permitted to reveal whether the individual is not eligible for rehire because the employer determined that he/she engaged in sexual harassment. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Joint Liability for Harassment (AB 3080): Currently, Labor Code Section 2810.3 requires a client employer to automatically share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for the payment of wages and the failure to obtain valid workers’ compensation coverage. This new law will now require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for harassment of all workers supplied by the labor contractor. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Labor-related liabilities, direct contractor (AB 1565): AB1565 amends Section 218.7 of the Labor Code and takes effect immediately as an urgency statute. Contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2019, would require a direct contractor or a subcontractor to include a specified provision in its contract that lists the specific documents or information that the direct contractor or subcontractor will require a lower tiered subcontractor to produce before the direct contractor or subcontractor is allowed to withhold any disputed payments from the lower tiered subcontractor under these provisions. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Senate Bills

Confidentiality Clauses in Settlement Agreements (SB 820): This new law expands the types of cases in which so-called “secret settlements” are restricted. It prohibits any settlement agreement in a case where sexual harassment, assault or discrimination has been alleged from including a confidentiality provision that prohibits disclosure of factual information regarding the claim, except with regard to the claimant’s identity. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Paid Family Leave (SB 1123): The Paid Family Leave wage replacement program will be expanded beginning January 1, 2021, to any employee who takes time off to attend to situations related to the covered active duty status of the employee’s spouse, registered domestic partner, child or parent who is a member of the US Armed Forces. Known as “qualifying exigencies,” these situations could include time off for official ceremonies, briefings, changes to child care arrangements, financial or legal arrangements, counseling or spending time with the covered service member during rest and recuperation leave, among others. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Sexual Harassment (SB 1300): In this sweeping new law, the legislature declared its intent to create a much lower bar for employees to bring harassment lawsuits, and limited the ability of employers to obtain summary judgment in such cases. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Sexual Harassment Training (SB 1343): Current law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment training within six months of hire or promotion. Beginning January 1, 2020, all employers with five or more employees will be required to provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors and one hour to non supervisorial employees within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years after that. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing will be required to provide an online training course that meets the new legal requirements. Click here to read the law on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Source: CalChamber  |  2018 © Copyright Payroll Masters

Payroll Masters is not a licensed insurance broker or agent, law firm or accountancy and does not provide professional or legal advice and therefore Payroll Masters assumes no responsibility for claims arising from the use or implementation of any information proffered here or verbally. This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal or financial advice. Please contact your attorney, CPA, insurance agent or financial advisor in connection with any fact-specific situation in which you intend to take significant employment action. Reader shall and does hereby indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Payroll Masters from and against any and all claims, demands, losses, costs, expenses, obligations, liabilities, damages, recoveries, and deficiencies, including without limitation interest, penalties, and reasonable attorney fees and costs, that either party may incur or suffer and that arise from, result from, or are related to this article, topics contained herein or any actions reader may have taken as a result of reading said article.