California Strengthens Laws Related to Sexual Harassment at The Workplace

California’s worker protection laws related to sexual misconduct and harassment are now stronger with new bills signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. These bills had been vetoed last year by his predecessor Jerry Brown.

Improved Worker Protection

Sexual harassment victims will now have more time to file their complaints as per the new law in California.

The state has also prohibited employers from using forced arbitration as an employment condition. A number of worker protection bills following the 2018 #MeToo movement have now been passed.

Newsom said that every worker has a right to respect, dignity, and safety at the workplace, but too many workers in California have been deprived of these basic essentials. He expressed hope that the new laws will help change this situation and pave the way for reduction in sexual harassment incidents.

File Complaints within Three Years

Under the new law, victims can file a complaint of workplace sexual harassment with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for up to three years after the incident.

The previous time limit was one year. Under California law, workers are required to submit their complaint to the state before they can file a civil lawsuit.

After receiving a notice from DFEH granting them the right to sue, the employees have an additional one year to file the lawsuit. According to experts, victims are often unaware that they have only one year to file a complaint from the time the sexual harassment occurred. Under the new law, they will now get more time to evaluate their options.

Making the Law Accessible to All

By extending the time limit to three years, the state has set a new standard, which should serve as an example for others who want labor laws to more accessible to all the workers.

Although Brown had said in his veto message last year that this extended time limit will prolong the process of resolution of workplace issues, but clearly it is going to be more protective and helpful from the perspective of the victims.

Brown had also vetoed a bill last year that was meant to end forced arbitration, but now that bill has also been signed into a law. Under this new law, employers are banned from requiring employees to waive their right to a trial in the event of any labor dispute as a condition of employment.

These types of arbitration agreements had the potential of limiting a worker’s ability to sue an employer before the sexual harassment has occurred. On top of this, the results of such arbitration are often kept confidential, which encourages the perpetrator to continue to harass others at the workplace.

Speak to a Skilled Sexual Harassment Lawyer in California

Makarem & Associates is led by accomplished California sexual harassment lawyers who will protect the rights of the victim. If you have faced workplace sexual harassment in California, call Makarem & Associates at 310-312-0299 or email us at info@makaremlaw.com today.