Welcome to 2019! While some of us are struggling through our New Year’s resolutions, the State of California has once again resolved to implement new employment laws. Here is a list of some of the more notable changes:
Another step forward for a living wage
This year, the California minimum wage jumped to $11 an hour for companies with 25 employees or fewer, and $12 an hour for companies with more than 25 workers. Keep in mind that under a 2016 ordinance, the City of San Diego’s minimum wage is now $12 an hour.*
2018 – A Year for Women
Women won more than just a record 84 seats in the House of Representatives this year! As of January 1, Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide a place for a woman to breast feed, or pump their milk, in a space that is not in a bathroom.
All California public companies are also required to have at least one woman on its board of directors. This change in the law is discussed in detail in our Blog Post from October 2018.**
And the #MeToo movement has led to several important changes in state law concerning sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination.
Sexual harassment training is no longer just for big business
Managers of companies with 5 or more employees must complete two hours of sexual harassment training, and non-managers must complete one hour of sexual harassment training by January 1, 2020, and every two years thereafter. In other words, smaller businesses are held to the same obligation as larger companies when it comes to sexual harassment training. This training must also address harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, discrimination, retaliation, and abusive conduct.
Relieving the “Practical Obstacles” of sexual assault lawsuits
As we all saw on the national stage last fall, it is never easy for sexual assault survivors to come forward. Fortunately for victims, the state of California enacted Assembly Bill 1619, expanding the time limit to bring a civil claim for sexual assault. The new law increases the statute of limitations for a civil sexual assault claim up to 10 years after the alleged assault or 3 years after the victim discovered the injury, whichever is later. Marc Berman, a California Assemblyman who authored A.B. 1619, stated, “it is clear that significant time is needed to recover and overcome the many practical obstacles that prevent sexual assault survivors from civil recourse.”
Freedom to report harassment
Civil Code Section 47 was amended to protect victims of sexual harassment who make complaints to administrative agencies from defamation claims. Because the bill protects sexual harassment complaints by employees and also permits the employer to question interested parties, it received unanimous, bipartisan support. Finally, something everyone can agree to!
If your employer has failed to keep up to date and violated any of the above, you may have a case against your employer. For more information about your rights, and a free consultation, please call us at (619) 342-8000.
*Several other cities in California have established minimum wages that differ from the State minimum wage. For example, the minimum wage in San Francisco is $15 /hour