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3 bills address sexual harassment in California workplaces

The laws in California enable people to hide sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace. This is, in part, due to nondisclosure agreements that often come with settlements. A set of bills that go into effect on January 1, 2019, will make it a bit harder for people to hide these incidents.

The first of these is Assembly Bill No. 2338, which has to do with the entertainment industry. It requires the state's labor commissioner to provide sexual harassment training for workers age 14 to 17 in the entertainment industry. The training must also extend to the teens' parents or legal guardians. Additionally, talent agencies must make materials related to preventing sexual harassment available. The information must also let people know about reporting resources and retaliation. All of this can be provided online.

The second is Senate Bill No. 820, which has to do with nondisclosure agreements. When a public or private employer has a settlement or summary judgment to resolve a case, there is some information that must be disclosed. While the claimant's identity and the settlement terms can still be hidden, the factual foundation of the complaint can't be hidden.

The third is Senate Bill No. 1300, which prohibits other nondisclosure agreements related to sexual harassment and overturns previous court rulings that served to limit these lawsuits. It also makes it easier for employees to raise sexual harassment claims against employers by rejecting two federal court decisions. This inclusion in the bill makes it harder for employers to receive a summary judgment in these cases.

Victims of sexual harassment can learn how these laws will apply to their cases. Since these are new bills, there are no examples to look to, making it interesting to see how these will be applied in the coming months and years.

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