Category Archives: New Laws

New 2019 California Workplace Laws Overview

Every year, California initiates new laws in the employment arena that impact employers and employees. As employers, we are held to the standards set forth in the law, not just in our practice to date. So be sure you review this overview and contact our office or your own attorney with your questions. This post is intended to create awareness and instigate inquiry for your benefit and is not an exhaustive list of new laws.


SB 820 prohibits broad confidentiality provisions in any sexual harassment settlement agreements or for any sex-based claims entered into on or before January 1, 2019. This means the standard release documents you have used in the past should be reviewed with counsel.

AB2770 provides that employees who report sexual harassment, based on credible evidence and without malice won’t be liable for injury to the alleged harasser’s reputation such as in a slander type lawsuit. Of course, retaliation protection remains strong, but this raises the standard for when a falsely accused manager or co-worker can be vindicated for reports that later are determined to be without merit. Stronger protections surround communications between the employer and victims or witnesses. Moreover, this new law permits an employer to reveal in a job reference response whether an individual is eligible for rehire because the employer determined that he/she engaged in sexual harassment. Use this authorization with great caution. Contact your attorney if this situation arises.


SB1123 relates to the Paid Family Leave Benefits for military families. Employees may collect paid family leave beginning January 1, 2021, when they take time off for activities related to the covered active duty status of their spouse, registered domestic partner, child or parent who is a member of the US Armed Forces. “Qualifying exigencies” include official military ceremonies, briefings, changes to childcare, financial, or legal arrangements as a result of military service, counseling or spending time with the covered servicemember during rest and recuperation leave, et. Federal FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks of protected leave for qualifying exigencies as well.


AB2282 amends Labor Code Section 423.3, adding language to prohibit an employer from seeking salary history information, including compensation and benefits, from an applicant. The applicant may voluntarily provide said information, without any prompting from the potential employer, and the employer may consider said voluntary information.

Employers in the past have restricted their employees from sharing wage information among themselves. This new law restricts employers from prohibiting employees in disclosing their own wages, asking another’s wages, or discussing wages of others.


SB1343 requires businesses with five or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training to ALL workers by January 1, 2020, and every two years thereafter.

Currently, California law requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide supervisory training for sexual harassment prevention.

Our office provides quality interactive sexual harassment training for supervisors and all workers. Watch for our online course option coming soon.


SB826 requires that publicly traded California companies appoint a certain number of women to their Board of Directors. Each such company must have at least one female on their Board by end of 2019. Boards with five directors will need two, and boards with six directors will need three female members by the end of 2021.


The California Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 requires all employers of any size, public and private to provide paid sick leave to all of its employees, with minor exceptions.  The law became effective on January 1, 2015, requiring employers to post the Labor Commissioner’s poster, and to serve their employees with this Notice (Labor Code Section 2801.5) advising them of their rights under then new law.

Employees will accrue sick time of one hour per every 30 hours worked, yet may use only 3 days or 24 hours per year.  The accrued hours will carry over from year to year.  An employer may cap the accrual amount and limit the accrual to 6 days or 48 hours.  An employee must work a minimum of 30 days within a year of commencing employment to be eligible to use the paid sick leave.  And an employee may be required to work 90 days before sick leave may be used in the first year of employment.

The law includes anti-retaliation provisions to protect employees who file a complaint, participate in an investigation, or opposing any employer’s unlawful practices relating to paid sick leave.

Possible remedies for violations of this act include, payment of any withheld sick leave pay (up to 3x), penalties, interest, attorneys’ fees, reinstatement, and back pay.  Employers should revise any company policies within the Employee Handbooks, payroll records, and written company policies to ensure that their current policies comply with this new law.

Skanadore Reisdorph Law Office consults with employers about employment policies and practices.  Feel free to inquire by an email or telephone call to Deborah’s attention.  714-375-1529 or



AB 1443 amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act list of individuals protected by the discrimination laws to include unpaid interns and volunteers.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act protects against discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status sex, gender gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status.

Government Code Section 12940 (c) was amended to affirm that it is an unlawful employment practice:   “For any person to discriminate against any person in the selection, termination, training, or other terms or treatment of that person in any apprenticeship training program, any other training program leading to employment, an unpaid internship, or another limited duration program to provide unpaid work experience for that person because of the race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of the person discriminated against.”

Further, “An employer may also be responsible for the acts of nonemployees, with respect to sexual harassment of employees, applicants, unpaid interns or volunteers, or persons providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace, where the employer, or its agents or supervisors, knows or should have known of the conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. ”  An employer should protect all persons working  within its facilities and environment, whether or not paid, with this amendment.

The amendment also extended religious belief protections and religious accommodation requirements to anyone in an apprenticeship training program, an unpaid internship or any other program to provide unpaid experience for a person in the workplace or industry.

It is a recommended practice to include interns and volunteers in your company policy provisions that relate to discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and to have a Volunteer Handbook for those who provide services to your organization or company for their protection and yours.