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Employment law still striving to protect the workplace

The year 2018 may go down as the year that California got serious about sexual and other forms of harassment in the workplace. The downfall of Harvey Weinstein led to the MeToo movement that increased awareness of the problem in the entertainment industry and elsewhere. As an effort to put an end to some of these practices, a number of laws were passed at the end of the year that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019 and are now part of current employment law.

The most wide ranging of the new laws is SB 1300 which aims to put an end to all kinds of harassment, not just sexual harassment. One of its provisions makes it illegal for companies to require that an employee sign two kinds of documents as a condition of promotion or retaining a job. One document states that the employee will not bring a lawsuit against the employer. The other document prohibits the employee from revealing details of illegal acts and includes sexual and other forms of harassment.

In an attempt to improve the situation for all employees, SB 1343 expands training for sexual and other forms of harassment to include more employees. The previous law requiring training in companies with more than 50 employees mandated that supervisors receive two hours of training every two years. The new law says that companies with five or more employees must provide two hours of training to supervisors and one hour to other employees within six months of being hired. Subsequent training must occur every two years from then on. The law also applies to temporary or seasonal workers who must receive training within 30 days or 100 hours, whichever comes first.

It is hard to believe that in 2019 sexual harassment is still such an issue in the workplace. These new laws strive to right a wrong. No one should ever have to fear sexual harassment in the workplace. Employment law strives to create and protect a safe work environment. Anyone in California who feels one is the victim of workplace harassment should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in dealing with employment law.

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