California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law 15 new employment-related bills last week, according to the California Employment Law Report. Among that new laws are a ban on forced arbitration and more time for sexual harassment victims to file complaints. In addition, New York may follow the Golden State’s lead in addressing independent contractor classification.
Arbitration. Assembly Bill 51 prohibits employers from requiring applicants for employment or existing employees, as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit, to waive any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or other specific statutes governing employment.
The bill also prohibits an employer from threatening, retaliating or discriminating against, or terminating any applicant for employment or any employee because of the refusal to consent to the waiver of any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of specific statutes governing employment. The bill would establish a specific exemption from those prohibitions. Because a violation of these prohibitions would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Last year, the US Supreme Court upheld clauses in employment contracts that require workers to bring disputes via individual arbitration, rather than through other methods such as class-action lawsuits in the court.
Sexual harassment and discrimination. AB 9 extends to three years from one the time a person claiming sexual harassment or discrimination has to file a verified complaint.
New York IC. Bloomberg Law reports a New York lawmaker plans to introduce updated legislation to extend protections such as unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation benefits, and minimum wage and overtime pay requirements to a new class of “dependent workers.” But a coalition is pushing lawmakers to adopt something similar to California’s new ABC law.