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Bills could intensify state sexual harassment laws

Despite the attention that has been drawn to the issue, sexual harassment remains a major concern for many women in California workplaces. This is one reason why several bills are pending in the California legislature to further address the laws related to sexual harassment and employment in the state.

One proposed bill, SB-1343, enhances the responsibility of employers to provide training about sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. Current law requires that employers with 50 or more staff members must train supervisors about sexual harassment shortly after they begin their jobs. However, this bill requires that all employers with five or more employees must provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees. This must be repeated at least once every two years thereafter, under the provisions of the bill. The new law would also mandate the creation of a standard training video that employers could use for this purpose.

Another proposed piece of legislation, AB-1867, would require all employers with 50 or more employees to keep records of sexual harassment complaints filed in-house. These records would need to be maintained for 10 years after the date of filing and would authorize state agencies to seek orders compelling compliance from employers. One more bill, AB-2366, is intended to strengthen job protections for victims of sexual harassment. While current law forbids discrimination against victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking for taking leave, the proposed bill would extend those protections to people who have experienced sexual harassment.

These proposed pieces of legislation indicate that sexual harassment and workplace discrimination can be a major concern for many workers on the job. People who have been subject to harassment in their workplace may speak with an employment lawyer about how to protect their rights. An attorney may help workers file complaints and pursue their action in court.

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