The California legislature is looking to pass a host of bills aimed at decreasing sexual harassment in the workplace and increasing rights of victims of sexual harassment:
- SB 820 bans confidential settlement agreements in cases involving sexual assault, sexual harassment or sex discrimination. This bill would make any such confidential settlement agreement void as a matter of law and against public policy.
- AB 3080 makes mandatory arbitration agreements unlawful for claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. This bill, if passed, would likely be challenged under the Federal Arbitration Act, which provides that agreements to arbitrate are valid and enforceable.
- SB 1343 expands the requirement that employers provide sexual harassment training to employees. The current law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors every 2 years. This bill would expand this requirement to employers with 5 or more employees and would require employers to provide training to all employees, not just supervisors. Additionally, the bill would require the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to develop or obtain a 2-hour online training course that would be available for streaming or download.
- AB 1867 requires employers to maintain records of sexual harassment complaints from their employees for 10 years.
- AB 2366 expands the requirement that employers with 25 or more employees provide a leave of absence to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, to also include employees who are victims of sexual harassment.
If passed, these bills will have a significant impact on California employers’ policies and practices, extending beyond those related to sexual harassment.