Don’t Stand So Close to Me: Ten California Sexual Harassment Bills to Watch

by Orrick - Global Employment Law Group

In tandem with the growing #MeToo movement, sexual harassment appears to be top of mind for California legislators in 2018. In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and the like, California has been flooded with an unprecedented number of bills aimed at combatting sexual harassment.  The 20+ pending bills take on topics ranging from confidentiality provisions to increased mandatory harassment training.  Now more than ever, employers must pay heed to how sexual harassment issues are handled at their companies. Here are the highlights from the top 10 bills that – if passed – will most likely impact employers:

Senate Bill 820 would prohibit settlement agreement provisions that prevent the disclosure of facts related to claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment or sex discrimination cases. Otherwise known as the STAND (Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures) Act, the bill would apply to agreements entered into after January 1, 2019 and would create an exception where a complainant requests a nondisclosure provision (unless the defendant is a government agency or public official, in which case the exception would not be available). The STAND Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, 2018 with a vote of 5-1, and is now headed to a full vote in the Senate. Assembly Bill 3057 contains similar prohibitions, and is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

While employees may be personally liable for Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) harassment claims under existing law, Senate Bill 1038 would extend personal liability to employees for FEHA retaliation against a person who filed a complaint or opposed a prohibited practice, including alleged harassment or discrimination. The bill is currently with the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senate Bill 1300 would amend FEHA to (1) allow a plaintiff to sue her employer for failure to prevent discrimination and harassment without needing to prove that she actually endured any discrimination or harassment; (2) prohibit a release of FEHA claims in exchange for a raise or bonus, or continued employment; and (3) require all employers – regardless of size – to provide harassment prevention training to all employees within 6 months of their hire and once every 2 years. SB 1300 is currently with the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senate Bill 1343 imposes similar training requirements to Senate Bill 1300, requiring companies with five or more employees to provide at least two hours of harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees by 2020. Following 2020, companies would need to conduct the training once every two years. Additionally, the bill requires the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to develop a training video and informational posters and fact sheets for companies to use. SB 1343 is currently with the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Bill 1867 would require an employer with 50 or more employees to maintain records of employee sexual harassment complaints for 10 years. This bill would allow the DFEH to seek an order compelling non-compliant employers to comply. AB 1867 is currently with the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Bill 1870 would expand the statute of limitations for an employee to file a DFEH administrative claim from one year to three years. The bill passed the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment with a vote of 6-0, and is currently with the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Existing law prohibits an employer from terminating, discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Assembly Bill 2366 would extend this protection to victims of sexual harassment. The bill also would expand the definition of family members for whom an employee may take time off to assist them, as victims, seeking relief from domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or sexual harassment. The bill is currently with the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Bill 2770 considers sexual harassment complaints “privileged communications” by an employee to an employer based upon credible evidence, for communications between the employer and “interested persons,” and would authorize an employer to answer whether the employer would rehire an employee and whether or not the decision not to rehire is based on the employer’s determination that the former employee engaged in sexual harassment. The bill is currently with the Assembly Rules Committee.

Assembly Bill 3080 would prohibit an employer from (1) requiring, either as a condition of employment or contractually, that employees or independent contractors refrain from disclosing sexual harassment that they suffered or witnessed; (2) requiring job applicants or employees to waive any FEHA right as a condition of employment; and (3) from threatening, retaliating, or discriminating against an applicant or employee because of the refusal to sign a consent to a FEHA waiver. The bill passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee with a vote of 5-1, and is currently with the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Bill 3081, much like Assembly Bill 2366, prohibits an employer from discharging, discriminating or retaliating against an employee because of his or her status as a victim of sexual harassment (in addition to status as a victim domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking under existing law). However, unlike Assembly Bill 2366, Assembly Bill 3081 also creates a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation if an employer takes an adverse action against the employee within 90 days following the date he or she provides notice to the employer of sexual harassment. The bill is currently with the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

In addition to these heavy-hitters, other notable anti-harassment bills include: Assembly Bill 1761 (hotel workers and guests), Senate Bill 224 (extended liability where professional relationship exists with elected official, lobbyist, director, producer), Assembly Bill 2338 (talent agencies and models), Assembly Bill 1938 (familial status inquiries), Assembly Bill 3082 (in-home support providers), Assembly Bill 403 (legislature), Assembly Bill 3109 (agreements restricting free speech and reemployment), Assembly Bills 2079 and 1978 (janitors); Assembly Bill 2946 (extended filing time for DLSE complaints).

California is not alone in facing this tidal wave of anti-harassment bills. Similar efforts are appearing across the nation and show no sign of slowing. To the extent not already done in the wake of the #MeToo movement, employers should use this time to examine their sexual harassment policies and procedures and ensure their companies take harassment prevention seriously.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Orrick - Global Employment Law Group | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Orrick - Global Employment Law Group

Orrick - Global Employment Law Group on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.