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New California Laws Impacting Employers – Part 2 of a 3-part Series

January 21, 2020

Summary of New Laws for Employers- Part 2 of 3

by JoLynn Scharrer

SB 142- Lactation Accommodation

This bill newly requires employers to provide a lactation location at the workplace, including access to a sink and refrigerator. Denial of time or a location to express milk results in a violation of rest break rules, and can be punished by fines and penalties under state law. The bill requires an

employer to develop and implement a policy regarding lactation accommodation, unless an employer with less than 50 employees can show undue hardship in the form of significant difficulty or expense. Any adverse employment actions taken in response to an employee’s assertion of the right to lactation accommodation is a violation of state law.

SB 188- Definition of Race for FEHA

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, it is unlawful to engage in specified discriminatory employment practices, including hiring, promotion, and termination based on certain protected characteristics, including race, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification or applicable security regulations. The act also prohibits housing discrimination based on specified personal characteristics, including race. The act also prohibits discrimination because of a perception that a person has one of those protected characteristics or is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics. Existing law defines terms such as race, religious beliefs, and sex, among others, for purposes of the act.

This bill would provide that the definition of race for these purposes also include traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, and would define protective hairstyles for purposes of these provisions.

SB 530

California has bolstered its employer requirements for sexual harassment prevention training. This bill now mandates that employers with more than 5 employees provide classroom or interactive training for the prevention of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation—two hours for supervisory and managerial employees and one hour for all other employees. The deadline to begin such training, required every two years, is January 31, 2021. New employees and new supervisors and managers must receive their first training within 6 months.

This bill also authorizes a building and construction trades apprenticeship program to provide prevention of harassment training programs for journey-level workers, and would require the apprenticeship program to maintain certain records and to issue a certificate of completion to the apprentice or journey-level worker.

JoLynn M. Scharrer is a shareholder at Hunt Ortmann and leads the firm’s Employment Law Group and Insurance Group. Our team is ready to guide you with handling your employment matters.  Please contact us at:

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