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When it comes to paying your arbitration fees in whole and on time, the stakes for California employers just got more serious. Under legislation just signed by Governor Newsom, a drafting party that fails to pay arbitration fees and costs in employment or consumer disputes is subject to some fairly significant ramifications. They include not being able to compel arbitration and being forced back into court. Did that get your attention? Read on to get the full details.

Following San Francisco’s lead, California will soon significantly expand the obligation of most employers to provide break time and a location to express breast milk. The new law, just signed into effect by Governor Newsom on October 10, 2019, will become effective January 1, 2020. What do California employers need to know about their new obligations?

A big focus of the #MeToo movement over the last several years has been on efforts to increase the statute of limitations for bringing sexual harassment claims. Governor Newsom just signed into law Assembly Bill 9 (Reyes), which will extend the deadline for filing an employment-related administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by two years. Under existing law, individual employees have one year to file an administrative charge with DFEH (which is an administrative precursor to filing a civil lawsuit in court). AB 9 will extend that administrative filing period to three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. However, while the proposal was couched as a “sexual harassment” bill, it actually extends the statute of limitations for all employment claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), not just sexual harassment claims. 

It’s been a long legislative year. And this being Governor Newsom’s first term in office, many observers have been anxiously awaiting to see what approach he takes when it comes to labor and employment legislation. Now all of the flurry of activity is behind us and hundreds of bills now sit his desk for either a signature or a veto.

As the 2019 legislative year is about to come to a close, there are a number of critical labor and employment proposals still making their way to Governor Newsom’s desk. With just four short weeks remaining for the Legislature to pass bills, there will be a flurry of activity as everyone watches to see which bills cross the finish line on or before the September 13 deadline.

Governor Newsom recently signed legislation to provide that prohibited employment discrimination based on race under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also includes discrimination based on hair texture and protective hair styles.  This new law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. California employers will need to review workplace grooming standards in order to ensure compliance with the law.

A measure currently pending in the California Legislature, and garnering wide bipartisan support, would provide that prohibited employment discrimination based on race under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also includes discrimination based upon hair texture and hairstyles.  If enacted into law, this bill will require California employers to re-evaluate workplace grooming standards applicable to their work sites in order to ensure compliance with the law.

February 22 was the last day to introduce new legislative proposals for the 2019 California legislative year. A whopping 2,576 bill were introduced before the deadline, making for an extremely busy legislative year ahead. Although new ideas can be added later through the “gut and amend” process, we now have a fairly clear sense of the labor and employment issues the California legislature will be confronting in 2019.

December 3 was the first day of the new legislative session in California. It was a day of festivities and ceremony, as new members were sworn into office and Democrats had their first taste of the “super-duper majority” dominance in both houses of the legislature.

While much of the attention this midterm election has been focused on Congress and federal issues - the “blue wave” and a “referendum” on the Trump presidency - California employers know all too well that employment and labor policy is largely being driven at the state and local level. The split in Congress between the Republican-led Senate and the Democrat-controlled House means that we can expect continued gridlock and lack of significant federal legislation on employment issues.

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