In addition to several specific, significant changes in the law for 2020 that we have discussed in prior blog posts, this week we outline other developments that went into effect on January 1, 2020:
AB 25 – An Amendment to the California Consumer Privacy Act:
AB25 protects individuals in terms of how businesses collect, share, and use their personal information, and the disclosures those businesses must make to consumers. In the employment context, beginning on January 1, 2021, businesses must inform job applicants, employees, and independent contractors how the business will use the individual’s personal information collected.
AB 749 – Settlement Agreements – Ban on “No Rehire” Clauses
Prior to AB749, settlement agreements in employment cases generally required that if an employer settled a case with an employee, the employer would require a “No Rehire” clause. By agreeing to such a clause, the settling employee was agreeing either not to continue working for the employer, or not to apply for employment with the employer in the future. Under this new law, employers are prohibited from requiring employees to commit to a “No Rehire” clause as a condition of settlement. The law now treats any “No Rehire” clause included in a settlement agreement since January 1, 2020, as void and unenforceable.
SB 142 – Lactation Accommodation:
This law expands the rules that employers must follow in providing lactation accommodations to breast-feeding mothers to allow them to pump milk while at work. This bill requires employers to provide a room or location (not a bathroom) that meets all of the following conditions:
1. Is in close proximity to the employee’s work area;
2. Is shielded from view;
3. Is free from intrusion while the employee is expressing milk (i.e. has a locking door);
4. Is safe, clean and free of hazardous materials;
5. Contains a surface to place a breast pump and personal items;
6. Contains a place to sit;
7. Has access to electricity; and,
8. Has access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator for storing milk in close proximity to the employee’s working space
Additionally, the law requires employers to develop and implement a compliant lactation policy. Meanwhile, failure to provide a lactation break or space to lactate is subject to a $100 penalty per violation. However, there is an exception for smaller employers who can demonstrate that it would be unreasonably burdensome to comply with these requirements.
SB 188 – Crown Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair):
The CROWN Act aims to protect people against hair-style discrimination. Workplace restrictions against some natural styles, including dreadlocks and braids, can target certain communities because such styles have cultural and historical significance to some people of color. Banning such styles, as well as rules about the length of hair or policies that indicate what is a “professional” haircut can often discriminate against certain races, ethnicities, and religions, as well as LGBTQ+ employees. Very recently, Matthew Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver, the co-producers of the Oscar-winning short film “Hair Love”, used their Oscars speech to rally support for the CROWN Act nationally – it is already in place in New York and New Jersey too.
AB 547 – Janitorial Workers: Sexual Violence and Harassment Prevention Training:
This law now offers new safety protections for nightshift janitors, including requirements to provide training for custodians to identify and prevent sexual violence while at work.
SB 778 and SB 530 – Harassment & Discrimination Prevention Training:
Previously, California law required that most California employers provide certain anti-harassment training by January 1, 2020. These bills extend the deadline for employers with five or more employees to provide anti-harassment training by one year, until January 1, 2021. The new law also allows employers who already have provided anti-harassment training in 2019 to wait until 2021 before providing refresher training.
With this new law, employers with five or more employees are required to provide the following:
• A minimum of two hours of training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees; and
• At least one hour of training and education regarding sexual harassment to all non-supervisory employees in California within six months of hire.
Although SB 778 extended the initial training compliance deadline applicable to most employers, it did not affect the training requirements applicable to seasonal, temporary or other employees hired to work for less than six months, or to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. This gap was addressed by SB 530, which specifically extends the deadline for mandatory sexual harassment training to January 1, 2021, for these categories of employees, who have been “hired to work for less than 6 months.”
Stay tuned for new developments!
By Angela Reddock-Wright, Esq., Employment Law Mediator, Arbitrator & Workplace Investigator
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog, written materials or otherwise is intended as legal advice by the Reddock Law Group, Managing Partner Angela Reddock-Wright or any person associated with the firm. This blog is intended for educational purposes only. The Reddock Law Group does not represent clients in legal matters. We are a full-service mediation, neutral, investigations and alternative dispute resolution firm. For legal advice, please contact a licensed attorney with experience in employment law.