If you work in California, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. California has some of the most robust employment laws protecting its workers. While there's been a lot of fuss in recent years over employers leaving the state for this reason, I personally think they'll be back (or at least want to).
Not only are Californians blessed with near year round sunshine (though rain need need you too!), but it's where technical innovation, imagination and the advancement of human kind become reality; it's the home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, world renowned universities, wine country and the largest agricultural state.
California's hardworking, talented and dedicated employees across all industries are the backbone of our state's economy and deserve to work with respect and dignity.
California's Legislature signed into law various employment laws further protecting its employees that are in effect this year. I highlight these notable two here:
1. Confidentiality Agreements (SB 331) expands the prohibition on non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in settlement agreements. After the "me too" movement, California banned gag orders in settlement agreements in cases involving sexual harassment, sexual assault and sex discrimination. The new law expands this protection to cases involving all forms of harassment or discrimination. The new law also protects employees from overly-broad confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses in severance agreements.
2. Arbitration Fees (SB 762) continues to keep companies accountable in Arbitration. (I'll be discussing the woes of arbitration for employees and California's efforts to ban them in another post, but was recently quoted in this Dice article about SB 51). SB 762 strengthens a previous law establishing an employer in breach of an arbitration agreement when it fails to pay arbitration fees within 30 days of the due date. So what does this mean? This means if an employer is in breach of an arbitration agreement, you the employee can file your law suit in state or federal court and have your case heard by a jury of your peers. The new law requires arbitration providers to send employees and the employer a copy of the fee invoice with the due date simultaneously. So what does this mean? You can keep your employer accountable in arbitration and avoid further delays to justice!
At SLF we keep up to date with new laws affecting your rights. If you believe you have been legally wronged at work Contact SLF for an initial consultation.