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California Civil Rights Law Group celebrates that amongst the new legislation was Assembly Bill 9, which extends the deadline to three years to file an allegation of unlawful workplace harassment, discrimination, or civil rights-related retaliation under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This bill was a response to the #metoo movement and was designed to help victims of sexual harassment so that they have sufficient time to process what happened to them, learn about their rights, and become comfortable speaking out publicly.
The benefits extend to claims for racial harassment and other types of discrimination, so the new law is a welcome change for victims workplace civil rights violations. Filing an administrative claim with FEHA is a prerequisite for filing a civil lawsuit. Existing law authorizes a victim of unlawful workplace discrimination to file a complaint within one year from the date upon which the unlawful practice occurred. The new legislation, which comes into effect January 1, 2020, does not allow this statute of limitations extension to revive previously lapsed claims, but it will help others in the future to benefit from the extended limitations period.
CCRLG partner Navruz Avloni, says extending the deadline “allows victims of sexual harassment, who frequently feel overwhelmed and unempowered, more time to process what happened and seek the justice they deserve.”
Other new legislation includes Assembly Bill 51, which aims to end forced arbitration (see [add link to blog post October 11, 2019]). Arbitration agreements limit the rights of an employee and are confidential, which prevents the public from learning about the harassers and the companies that keep them employed. Assembly Bill 51 prohibits employers from requiring employees, or applicants for employment, to waive a right, forum, or procedure for a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act or the Labor Code as a condition of employment or employment-related benefit. Business groups are advocating members to do an end-run around this new legislation by recommending that employers without arbitration agreements consider implementing them before January 1, 2020, when the new law takes effect.
We have experience in successfully representing sexual harassment and race discrimination victims against employers large and small in jury trials and arbitration. If you have questions about an arbitration agreement, contact the California Civil Rights Law Group at 415-453-4740.