CalChamber White Paper Recaps New Laws for 2019

The California Chamber of Commerce has released the list of new employment laws scheduled to take effect in 2019 and later that will affect daily operations and policies of California employers.

Three of the new 2019 laws are featured in the latest edition of the CalChamber Capitol News Report. The video provides details about expansion of sexual harassment prevention training requirements and the need to provide lactation accommodations in the workplace, as well as providing information about a mandate requiring that women be placed on corporate boards.

Sexual Harassment Training

In the video, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank discusses new sexual harassment prevention training requirements that will have an impact on virtually every business in the state and all the employees and supervisors of those businesses.

Current law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training. Under SB 1343, by January 1, 2020, all employers with five or more employees will be required to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors and one hour to non-supervisorial employees within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years after that.

“Employers can satisfy this training in a number of ways,” Frank says. “They can offer live training or they can do computer-based training, which CalChamber offers.”

Beginning January 1, 2020, temporary and seasonal employees will be required to be trained within 30 days of hire or 100 hours worked, whichever is earlier.

Gender Representation on Boards of Directors

The video also features information on a highly controversial law mandating female representation on corporate boards.

Jennifer Barrera, CalChamber executive vice president of policy, explains that a publicly held corporation with principal executive offices in California will now be required to place at least one female director on its board by December 31, 2019.

Depending on the board’s size, up to three female members may be required by the end of 2021. Significant financial penalties apply if a company fails to achieve the required number of female directors.

When signing SB 826 (Chapter 954, Statutes of 2018) into law, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. acknowledged it could face significant legal challenges.

“Some company who’s impacted by the law could file a legal claim suggesting that it’s unconstitutional for a company to retain a member on their board of directors solely based upon their gender,” Barrera explains. “However, until that legal action happens, it is the law in California.”

Lactation Accommodation

Another new law requires all employers to provide lactation accommodations for employees. Before the new law, a bathroom was a permissible lactation accommodation space per California law.

As of January 1, 2019, an employer must provide a reasonable lactation space other than a bathroom. The employer may be able to utilize a temporary space, so long as it meets the specifications of the new mandate.

CalChamber Policy Advocate Laura Curtis explains that the requirement “is really going to impact employers with 50 or less employees because they haven’t previously had to provide a lactation accommodation space other than a toilet stall.”

CalChamber worked diligently with the office of the author, Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Goleta), to try to develop the most workable approach.

Full List of New Employment Laws

The white paper, An Overview of New 2019 Laws Affecting California Employers, is now available for nonmembers to download.

CalChamber members can download the white paper by logging onto HRCalifornia.

For a full discussion of the new laws, see the October HRCalifornia Extra or visit HRCalifornia.