New California Labor laws for 2019
California is often in the forefront of labor law. In 2019, these are some of the laws that will take effect in state:
SB 1343 expands anti-harassment training requirements to businesses with five or more employees. Employers must provide at least two hours of training to supervisors and one hour to employees before 2020 and once a year after that. The law also requires the state to make training materials available.
AB 2034 and SB 970 also require training. Employers in specifically defined areas of the transportation and hotel industries will need to provide employees with at least twenty minutes of training on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and report on suspected human traffickers.
AB 1976 makes California’s lactation accommodation law consistent with federal law, which grants workers break time to express milk. In addition, workers must have a place other than a bathroom stall in which to express milk. The law allows some flexibility regarding this location.
SB 826 requires that publicly traded California corporations appoint at least one woman to their board of directors by the end of 2019. Boards with four directors must have one woman, those with five directors must have two, and those with six must have three, by the end of 2021.
AB 3109, SB820, and SB1300 target sexual harassment, making it harder for employers to sweep it under the rug. AB3109, for example, disallows any provision in a settlement agreement or other contract that prohibits a party from testifying about sexual harassment in any administrative or judicial proceeding. SB820 expands the definition of working relationships to include those held with producers, directors, and lobbyists, and it allows the claimant to exclude from the publicly accessible settlement agreement those facts that would allow for the claimant to be identified. In a similar vein, SB 1300 prohibits an employer from conditioning a raise, bonus, or continued employment on an employee’s signing a release on a claim of harassment by non employees for which the employer may have liability. The new law also tightens the rules on harassment, making it easier for employees to pursue harassment claims.
SB 1412 tightens the rules against an employer’s asking an applicant about a prior criminal conviction. Those employers whose jobs require, for security reasons, that employees disclose prior convictions will be limited to ask only about a relevant “particular conviction.” It must be “a conviction for specific criminal conduct or a category of criminal offenses prescribed by any federal law.”
Additional new laws in California address the rights of unionized construction employees, carve out an exception to a ruling against an on-call requirement for employees on rest breaks for safety-sensitive positions in the petroleum industry, expands protections for port drayage workers, expands the state’s paid family leave law to include active military duty, provide employee access to payroll records, and clarify the requirements for contractors that withhold payments to subcontractors over disputed wage claims.