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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Curtiss

Anti-Harassment Legislation

There Is Significant New Anti-Harassment Legislation For 2019:

(1) By January 2020, and every 2 years thereafter, employers with 5 or more employees must have provided 2 hours of training to supervisors and 1 hour of training to non-supervisors regarding sexual harassment, abusive conduct, and harassment based upon gender. Previously, only employers with 50 or more employees were subject to this requirement. (Senate Bill 1343)

(2) It is no longer legal to require the facts underlying a sexual harassment complaint to be subject to a confidentiality obligation, which are commonly included in settlement agreements. (Assembly Bill 820, 3109)

(3) A single incident of harassing conduct is sufficient to form the basis for a sexual harassment lawsuit. (SB 1300)

(4) Sexual harassment claims should "rarely" be disposed of before trial. (SB 1300)

(5) A discriminatory remark may be relevant to a claim of hostile work environment, even if not made by a decision-maker or in the context of an employment decision (overruling the "stray remarks doctrine"). (SB 1300).

(6) Employers may be responsible for sexual harassment committed by non-employees over which the employer exercises control. (SB 1300) (7) The legal standard for sexual harassment should not vary by type of workplace. (SB 1300)

(8) The Civil Code and Fair Employment And Housing Act have been amended to include workplace harassment between people who don't work directly for one another, but have a working relationship. The bills includes investors, elected officials, lobbyists, directors, and producers among those persons who may be liable to a plaintiff for sexual harassment. The purpose of the amendment is to address non-employment relationships where a power imbalance exists. (Senate Bill 224)

(9) There is expanded protection for complainants, witnesses and employers from defamation claims brought by alleged harassers. Privileged communications include: (a) complaints of sexual harassment made without malice based on "credible evidence"; (b) witness statements made without malice during an investigation; or (c) statements made without malice to harasser's prospective employers regarding rehire. (Assembly Bill 2770)


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