Calif. Government Code §§12940; 12965; 12923; 12950.2; 12964.5
Amended by S.B. 1300
Effective date: January 1, 2019
Beginning January 1, 2019, employers may be responsible for any type of harassment activity of nonemployees (such as a client or even a trespasser) towards their employees, applicants, individuals providing contract services, unpaid interns or volunteers. Previously, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers were only held responsible specifically for sexual harassment by nonemployees.
To be held responsible, the employer needs to:
- have actual knowledge of or reasonable cause to know about the harassment; and
- fail to take appropriate corrective action.
Employers are also now prohibited from requiring the execution of a release of claim or right under the FEHA as a condition for employment, continued employment, a raise or bonus. The employer is further prohibited from requiring an employee to sign a nondisparagement agreement or other document which limits the rights of the employee to disclose unlawful acts in the workplace such as (but not limited to) sexual harassment.
Attorneys fees and court costs will only be awarded to the prevailing party if the court finds that the court action brought by the individual was clearly unreasonable or groundless.
The new laws also encourage — but do not require — employers to provide bystander intervention training to their employees. This type of training may include information and guidance on how bystanders may recognize harassment in the workplace and what actions they can take to stop the harassment.