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California may adopt new workplace sexual harassment laws

Three bills dealing with workplace sexual harassment are under consideration in the California legislature. SB-1343 will update the law that requires workplaces where at least 50 people work to give supervisors sexual harassment training within six months of the supervisor beginning the job and then every two years. It will require companies that have at least five employees to train all employees in sexual harassment by Jan. 1, 2020. This will need to be at least two hours of training every two years. Furthermore, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing will be required to develop a two-hour training program that employers have the option to use.

If AB-1867 passes, companies that have at least 50 employees will be required to keep employee complaints about sexual harassment for 10 years. The DFEH will have the authority to require the employer to comply.

Under Labor Code 230 and 230.1, workplaces that have at least 25 employees must accommodate requests for leave associated with stalking, domestic violence or sexual assault. It also protects those employees from retaliation, termination or discrimination. AB-2366 will offer these protections to workers who have faced sexual harassment and to immediate family members of victims who are assisting them.

It is not uncommon for people who believe they are facing sexual harassment in the workplace to not report it. They may feel that their company policies against harassment will be ineffectual or that their employer will retaliate against them. People in this position might want to talk to an attorney to discuss whether the situation constitutes sexual harassment and how it can be documented and reported.