9 California Legal Updates You Must Know About

by Nov 23, 2019

Hi there,

Kendra Wilson here, the Director of HR Compliance & Awesome at Civility Partners – seriously, I eat, sleep and breathe compliance. 

It has been a crazy year here in California with new laws being passed left and right, so I hijacked the Civility Partners blog to provide you with some updates. 

To our California readers, here are a few key laws that you absolutely need to know about. Of course, this is all very high-level information – email me if you have any questions!


SB 778 – Extends Deadline to Provide Harassment Training to Managers and Employees (PASSED)

I’m pretty sure you knew this one already, but by January 1, 2021, employers with 5+ employees must provide at least 2 hours of interactive training regarding sexual harassment prevention to all supervisory employees and at least 1 hour to all non-supervisory employees in California, within 6 months of their hire.

We offer harassment prevention training in-person and via webinar. And you know our version is way more awesome than those boring too-focused-on-compliance trainings since we’re all about positive cultures.


AB 5 – Rewrite of Independent Contractor Rules (IN PROGRESS)

This rule requires strict adherence to the ABC test. Employers must meet all 3 parts of the test in order to have independent contractors. 

This bill will also create the Opportunity to Work Act. Employers with 10 or more employees will be required to offer additional hours of work to an existing nonexempt employee before hiring an additional employee or subcontractor. Of course, you’ll have to post some corresponding notices about this alongside your other posters.


AB 51 – Prohibits Most Mandatory Arbitration Agreements (PASSED)

This bill outlaws forced arbitration in employee handbooks, offers, and contracts, and prohibits mandatory signing of arbitration agreements by employees.  This bill also extends the amount of time employees have to file for workplace civil rights.


SB 707 – Arbitration Fees Must be Paid Promptly by Drafting Party (PASSED)

The filing party is required to pay certain fees and costs before any arbitration can proceed. The drafting party has 30 days to pay these fees or they will be found in material breach of the arbitration agreement, and the employee can then withdraw from arbitration and file their claim in court, or compel arbitration.  


AB 749 – End to “No-Rehire” Provisions in Settlement Agreements (PASSED)

This bill prohibits and invalidates all provisions in settlement agreements that prevent workers from obtaining future employment with the settling employer or its affiliated companies. 


AB 9 – Extends Deadline to File Workplace Bias Claims to 3 Years (PASSED)

This bill extends the time frame a person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful practice can file a verified complaint with the DFEH – it’s now three years instead of one.


AB 25 & AB 1355 – Amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) (PASSED)

Beginning January 1, 2020, these amendments grant consumers various rights with regard to their personal information held by businesses, including the right to request a business disclose specific pieces of personal information it has collected and to have information held by that business deleted. The act requires a business to disclose and deliver the required information to a consumer free of charge within 45 days of receiving a verifiable consumer request from the consumer. 


SB 142 – Expansion of Lactation Accommodation Requirements (PASSED)

This one hits home for our boss-lady as she has a four-month-old at home. Employers must provide a lactation room or location that includes access to a sink and refrigerator in close proximity to the employee’s workspace. Denial of reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk is a failure to provide a rest period in accordance with state law. The bill also prohibits an employer from discharging, discriminating or retaliating against an employee for exercising or attempting to exercise rights under these provisions and establishes remedies that include filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees can seek exemption by demonstrating the bill poses an undue hardship on the business – whether that be financial or otherwise. The bill requires an employer who obtains an exemption to make a reasonable effort to provide a place for an employee to express milk in private.


SB 188 – Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Hairstyles (PASSED)

SB 188 prohibits workplace dress codes and grooming policies that restrict natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks that have a disparate impact. 


We are happy to review your HR practices to be sure you’re in compliance, including reviewing your handbook, personnel files and more. I am here to make sure you feel comfortable that you are in compliance.

Email me directly here!  

Kendra Wilson, Director of HR Compliance & Awesome

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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