2019 was a busy year for lawmakers across the nation, underscoring the need for employers to remain apprised of all the new laws that will be taking effect in 2020. Below we summarize some of the significant developments employers should be on the lookout for in the new year.
Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Laws
On August 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed into law a bill that, as previously reported, significantly strengthened and expanded workplace anti-discrimination protections in New York State. For additional information regarding the developments already in effect, refer to our previous posts.
In terms of changes still to come, contracts and other agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2020, that prevent the disclosure of information relating to any future claim of discrimination on the basis of any protected characteristic will be unenforceable, unless the provision notifies the individual that it does not prohibit them from speaking with law enforcement, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights (“NYSDHR”), a local commission on human rights, or an attorney retained by the individual. Likewise, effective February 8, 2020, the New York State Human Rights Law will be expanded to include all employers in the state, regardless of size. And, effective August 12, 2020, the statute of limitations for reporting claims of sexual harassment to the NYSDHR will be extended from one to three years.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 9 into law on October 10, 2019. The law, effective January 1, 2020, will extend the statute of limitations period for employees to file claims of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) from one to three years. After receiving a right-to-sue letter from the DFEH, employees will then have one more year to file a civil action in court. FULL ARTICLE