California's Governor Signs New Employment Laws for 2019


On September 30th, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed and vetoed bills that will substantially alter the employment laws for businesses across the state. Below, we review some of the new laws that will take effect starting on January 1, 2019.

Assembly Bills

The following are new assembly bills signed by Governor Brown:

  • Lactation Accommodation (AB 1976): Under the old law, employers had to provide a location other than a toilet stall for employees who need to express breast milk. With AB 1976, employers must provide a location other than a “bathroom,” and instead than a “toilet stall, for employees to express breast milk. As of January 1, 2019, employers in California can no longer designate a bathroom as an adequate space to express breast milk.
  • Salary History (AB 2282): This law is supposed to clarify ambiguities for a law that bans salary history inquiries and requires employers to provide pay scales to applicants. The new law now specifies that employers can ask about an applicant’s salary expectations for the position they are applying for. Although external applicants are still entitled to a pay scale if they ask for one, they must first complete an initial interview.
  • Defamation Protection (AB 2770): Under AB 2770, employers and victims of sexual harassment will have legal protections from lability for defamation lawsuits for injury caused to an alleged harasser’s reputation. If an employee makes a credible report of harassment, they will be shielded from liability. The same goes for an employer who communicates with victims and witnesses. Employers can also reveal if a person is no longer eligible for rehire due to sexual harassment when contacted for a job reference.

Senate Bills

The following senate bills go into effect this year:

  • Confidentiality Clauses in Settlement Agreements (SB 820): This law will expand the range of cases in which “secret settlements” are restricted. The law prohibits confidentiality provisions that won’t allow the disclosure of factual information when a settlement is reached in cases involving sexual harassment.
  • Paid Family Leave (SB 1123): The Paid Family Leave wage replacement program will now be expanded for employees who need to take time off from work for situations related to the covered active duty status of their spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent who serves in the armed forces. These situations are known as “qualifying exigencies,” and include official ceremonies, briefings, changes to child care arrangements, financial or legal arrangements, and counseling.
  • Sexual Harassment (SB 1300): Under SB 1300, there will be a lower bar for employees to bring harassment lawsuits. The law also limits employers from obtaining summary judgment in harassment cases.
  • Sexual Harassment Training (SB 1343): Starting this year, employers with five or more employees will have to train supervisors on sexual harassment for two hours within 6 months of months of their date of hire or promotion. Non-supervisorial employees have to receive one hour of training within six months of their date of hire or promotion, and every two years after that.

Do you have more questions about employment laws in California? If so, you should get in touch with our legal team to get the answers you are looking for. Call (888) 796-4010 to schedule an appointment with a Hollister employment law attorney. We offer free consultations!