Los Angeles partner Mark Terman published an article for California CPA titled “Work It: What California Employers Should Know About New Laws for 2019.” Mark discusses several California laws that became effective on January 1, 2019, and what they mean for private employers.
Mark opens this piece by stating that “[a]s the #MeToo movement gained momentum to right the wrongs of sexual harassment alleged against Hollywood, business and politicians, so too has the California Legislature responded by declaring, in essence, #TimesUp.”
One of the new laws Mark covers is the nation’s first mandate of female membership on boards of directors. By December 31, 2019, it requires publicly held corporations (domestic or foreign, listed on a major U.S. stock exchange) whose executive offices are located in California (according to the corporation’s SEC 10-K form) to have a minimum of one female director on its board of directors.
Other new laws discussed include: limited confidentiality of settlements in sexual harassment matters; inability to use agreements to block testimony about alleged criminal conduct or sexual harassment; safer harbors for job references and investigations related to sexual harassment; more anti-sexual harassment training requirements; narrower summary judgment potential in sexual harassment actions; and more employer responsibility for sexual harassment by non-employees.
Mark offers proactive steps to ensure compliance with these new laws and advises employers to review and update their personnel policies and practices accordingly.