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Each new year brings about new changes in employment law. Governor Gavin Newsom signed into legislation a number of new laws that impact California employers. Here’s what to look for in 2020:

AB 5 – New Employee Classification Test: The law codifies and modifies the California Supreme Court’s “ABC test” from its decision in the Dynamex case last year. The law severely limits the ability of California companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Stated in an abbreviated manner, to satisfy the ABC test and classify a worker as an independent contractor, the company must prove that the worker is (A) free from the company’s control, and (B) performs work outside the company’s primary business, and (C) is regularly engaged in the trade the worker is hired for, independent of work for the company. There are specific exemptions for certain industries.

AB 9 – Statute of Limitations for FEHA Claims Expanded: The period of filing a complaint for workplace harassment, discrimination or retaliation has been extended from one to three years.

AB 25 – Employee Data Exempt from CCPA: The current California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) allows consumers various rights with regards to their personal information held by businesses, including to have their personal information deleted. The bill broadly included employees and job applicants, who could potentially ask to have information deleted from their personnel files. Under the new law, employee data is exempt from the CCPA; however, the exemption is only good for one year.

AB 51 – Banning Mandatory Employment Arbitration Agreements: Beginning January 1, 2020, employers are prohibited from requiring any applicant for employment or employee to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment or continued employment. Employers cannot retaliate against or terminate any employee or applicant who refuses to sign an arbitration agreement.

SB 83 – Expansion of Paid Family Leave: Beginning July 1, 2020, Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits from California’s State Disability Insurance program will be increased from six to eight weeks.

SB 142 – Expanded Lactation Accommodation Requirements: Employer requirements to provide appropriate workplace lactation accommodations have been expanded. The added requirements require employers to provide a lactation room close to the employee’s work area, shielded from view, and free from intrusion. In addition, employers must provide access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator. Employers must implement a lactation accommodation policy.

SB 188 – Protected Hairstyles: Under FEHA, the law prohibits discrimination and harassment based upon a person’s natural hairstyle. Natural hairstyles such as “braids, locks, and twists” are now protected.

SB 778 – Extending Deadline to Complete Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: Sexual harassment prevention training deadline has been extended from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

Join us in late January for our Annual Employment Law Update! Our attorneys will discuss these new employment laws in detail and provide you with the tools and information your California business needs to ensure you are in compliance for 2020.

About the Author
Theodore J. Schneider practices in the areas of business and corporate transactions, employment law counseling, municipal and public law, real estate and land use, and homeowner associations. Ted began his legal career in 2002 when he joined the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, L.L.P. before relocating to Ventura County to join his father in practice.