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New California Laws Address Worker Harassment and Discrimination

Governor signs 15 worker protection bills into law this month

October 22, 2019

As the #MeToo movement continues to build momentum, California is the latest state to provide legal protection for workers who experience sexual harassment, STL News reports.

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 15 worker protection bills into law, three of which deal with sexual harassment. One of those bills, known as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extensive (SHARE) Act, extends the deadline to file an allegation of unlawful workplace harassment, discrimination, or civil rights-related retaliation from one year to three years. The new law will impose a statute of limitations period that is six-times the length of the federal standard and three-times the length of the current state standard. Workplace harassment includes discrimination as well as retaliation based on protected characteristics such as sex and gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age, religion, and disability.

Another new law concerns mandatory sexual violence and harassment prevention training for custodial employers and their employees. It requires that the director of the state’s Department of Industrial Relations convene an advisory committee to refine these training recommendations.

A third new law instructs the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to develop a construction industry-specific harassment and discrimination prevention policy and allows employers of multi-employer collective bargaining agreements to satisfy anti-harassment training by verifying they have received requisite training.

Employers looking for more information on how to protect their workers from sexual harassment can attend You Are Not Alone: Isolated Workers and Sexual Harassment, at ISSA Show North Americain Las Vegas. Panelists in this educational session, on Tuesday, November 19 from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., will discuss how employers and staff can proactively address the high incidence of sexual harassment among isolated cleaning workers and reveal proposed legislative actions that could affect the industry.

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