The last year has seen a tidal shift in how harassment of a sexual nature has been talked about in society. Ranging from tone-deaf behavior to outright assault, women (mostly, but also a few men) have been sharing their stories by the thousands on how sexual harassment has affected their companies’ work environment and their personal careers. while many of the stories we hear in the news relate to high profile characters, similar things are taking place all down the line in many different industries and professions. As a result, lawmakers have taken notice and have begun initiating legislative solutions to the problems. Because this is such a big topic, I’d like to split it into a number of posts highlighting some of the legislation being put out there and how it will affect your business.
California, always ahead of the curve on these types of issues, has been leading the charge on getting laws on the books. Governor Jerry Brown signed a raft of bills September 30th, 2018 meant to curb the abuses being described in a lot of these cases. Let’s take a look at a few:
SB 1343 updates and amends the Sexual Harassment Training requirements for employers. The new law applies to employers with five or more employees and requires that they provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors and one to nonsupervisory employees by January 1, 2020. Thereafter, the employer must provide one hour of “continuing” sexual harassment training to all employees who have completed this initial requirement every two years. The requirements apply to seasonal and temporary employees.
A common feature of many #metoo stories surrounds efforts to keep victims quiet and the stories under wraps. This is usually done by having employees waive their rights to testify when they sign their employment contracts or settle harassment cases. AB 3109 nullifies any term or clause in a contract or settlement that waives a party’s right to testify about criminal conduct or sexual harassment.
To be continued…