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14 Oct Sexual Harassment Bills Become Law

Governor Newsom has signed a suite of sexual harassment bills that will now become law. The legislature passed the three bills a while back, but Newsom's predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, vetoed them. While advocates were optimistic Newsom would reverse course and sign them, the bills lingered on the Governor's desk for several months. After a prolonged pressure campaign from #MeToo advocates and the California Employment Lawyers Association, among others, Newsom signed the bills into law, less than a week before the deadline. The sexual harassment assembly bills: what they would do Assembly Bill 9 will extend the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims from one year to three years. In addition, Assembly Bill 51 will limit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in the employment context. Finally, Assembly Bill 749 will prohibit the use of "no rehire" clauses. Some believe these updates were long over due, others are less enthusiastic Taken together, advocates hope these changes will make it easier for victims of sexual harassment to fight back. Conversely, business interests, such as the California Chamber of Commerce, have concerns. They claim the new laws will be job killers. By expanding employees' rights, they argue, the bills will invite increased litigation against California employers. This would make doing business in California more expensive, they contend. This may be true, but there are also costs to sexual harassment in the workplace. Accordingly, some of the concern from the business community may be shortsighted. If the changes have the desired effect, they could a boon to business in the long term. The fight against sexual harassment continues After helping these sexual harassment bills become law, advocates will turn their attention to other anti-sexual harassment efforts. While these changes to the law will help to fight against sexual harassment, there is still a long way to go. If you believe you've been the victim of sexual harassment, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For updates on these new laws and more, follow us on Twitter....

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14 Oct Title VII sex discrimination oral arguments

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two landmark Title VII sex discrimination cases on October 8, 2019. The two cases involve whether Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Court's decisions in these cases could transform federal employment discrimination law. Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia: Does Title VII's sex discrimination provision prevent employers from discriminating against gay employees? The first of the cases was Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia. This case is actually two cases that the court consolidated because they raise the same issue. The Bostock plaintiff was an employee of Clayton County in Georgia. When the county found out he was gay, it fired him. The Plaintiff sued the county, arguing it unlawfully discriminated against him for being gay. The county argued that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation. At the Supreme Court, the plaintiff's argument started with the text of Title VII, which prohibits discrimination "because of...

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09 Oct New Bills to Make Uber, Lyft Drivers Employees

Following California's lead, other states are considering bills to make Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as other gig economy workers, employees. In September 2019, California's legislature passed Assembly Bill 5, which would change how the state regulates the use of independent contractors. In practice, AB 5 aims to make many workers in the gig economy, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, employees. Currently, such workers are independent contractors. Now, other states are mulling similar bills. Illinois lawmaker preparing bill to make Uber, Lyft drivers, others in gig economy, employees Illinois State Representative Will Guzzardi, will sponsored a bill similar to AB 5. Like AB 5, Guzzardi's bill targets gig economy workers, such as Uber drivers and food delivery app couriers, turning many into employees. Doing so would bring these workers under the protection of more labor regulations, such as the state's minimum wage laws. This effort is in the early stages and it's unclear how much support the bill will have. Either way, experts believe other states will follow California and Illinois in considering bills limiting the use of independent contractors. Lawmakers in other states will certainly be monitoring the reaction to these bills in California and Illinois. New York considering a bill that would extend some protections to non-employees New York State Senator Diane Savino says she'll introduce new legislation that would extend protections to"dependent workers," a new classification the bill would create. Unlike the California or Illinois bills, this bill does not intend to make Uber and Lyft drivers employees. Instead, it will extend certain employee protections to gig economy workers without making them employees. Critics say this is a half measure that will not do enough to combat what they say are Uber and Lyft's predatory employment practices. However, such an approach may prove more politically appetizing for lawmakers weary of radical changes to employment law. The difference between being an employee and an independent contractor is significant There are significant differences between being an employee and an independent contractor. State and federal labor law often does not extend to independent contractors. For example, independent contractors are often exempt from minimum wage laws. Unsurprisingly, employers regularly classify their employees as independent contractors. Unsure if you're properly classified? Read our blog post, for more information. If you believe your employer has missclassified you as an independent contractor, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For updates on these bills and more, follow us on Twitter....

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08 Oct #MeToo inspired sexual harassment bills await signature

Three #MeToo inspired sexual harassment bills await the governor's signature. The legislature passed each of the three bills partly in response to the #MeToo movement, which has grown in response to sexual harassment in the workplace. As part of the movement, #MeToo advocates have called for updates to California's sexual harassment laws. While the bills all aim to deter sexual harassment, they each address distinct issues. AB 9, inspired by #MeToo criticisms, would extend the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims AB 9 would extend the time victims of sexual harassment have to file claims under state law. Currently, sexual harassment victims generally have only one year to take action. AB 9 would change the statute of limitations for sexual harassment to three years. Employment lawyers and supporters of the #MeToo movement have criticized the short statute of limitations California has for sexual harassment claims. They argue many sexual harassment victims don't immediately recognize they've experienced legally actionable sexual harassment. By the time they do, it may be too late to take action. Meanwhile, critics of AB 9 argue that it will increase employers' liability. Undoubtedly, this would be a major change to state employment law. But until the bill goes into effect, nobody can say for sure how much real world impact the change would have. AB 51 seeks to protect sexual harassment victims' right to sue in court AB 51 would prohibit employers from enforcing mandatory arbitration clauses against victims of sexual harassment. Employers are increasingly using mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts with employees. Arbitration is essentially a private court system. Arbitration generally has similar procedures as court, but there are some important differences. These differences, tend to advantage employers. Moreover, it's very rare that a court will decline to enforce an arbitration agreement. Unsurprisingly, many #MeToo advocates have been critical of arbitration agreements, arguing they take rights away from sexual harassment victims. Moreover, because arbitration is private, it allows employers to sweep sexual harassment lawsuits under the rug. AB 51 would make it harder for employers to enforce such agreements against victims of sexual harassment. Advocates hope the legislation would help victims fight back more effectively against sexual harassment at work. Even if passed, however, it's possible that AB 51 would conflict with federal law regarding arbitration agreements. Where state and federal law directly conflict, federal law prevails. Therefore, it's possible AB 51 would have little or no impact on sexual harassment lawsuits. If AB 51 does become law, courts will have to work this out. AB 749 would prohibit employers from including "no rehire" clauses in sexual harassment settlements AB 749 prohibits employers from including "no rehire" clauses in settlement agreements with sexual harassment victims. These clauses give employers the right to refuse to hire or employ the victim in the future. #MeToo advocates argue this is a form of retaliation against employees who file sexual harassment lawsuits. By prohibiting such clauses, the legislature sought to ensure that victims can move on without sacrificing future opportunities. #MeToo advocates hope governor will sign the sexual harassment bills As of now, these three #MeToo inspired sexual harassment bills are not law. They will only become law with the governor's signature. The governor has until October 13, 2019 to sign them. Activists in the growing anti-sexual harassment movement are hoping the governor will sign them before the upcoming deadline. If the governor does not sign one or more of the bills, don't expect that to be the end of the line. This is only the beginning of what will likely to be a long effort to reshape California's civil rights laws to combat sexual harassment. If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For updates on these bills and more, follow us on Twitter....

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03 Oct Court case on gay, transgender employment discrimination

The Supreme Court will decide whether discrimination against gay and transgender employees is illegal under federal law. The Court has agreed to hear three cases on the issues in the fall term. The cases involve Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on protected classes such as race, gender, and national origin. In these cases, the Court will decide whether sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes. Lower courts are divided on whether employment discrimination against gay and transgender workers is unlawful under Title VII Courts are split on whether Title VII protects gay and transgender employees. Most courts have found Title VII does not protect sexual orientation and gender identity. Where this is the law, employers can discriminate against gay and transgender people. For example, an employer can fire an employee for being gay. Some courts, however, say Title VII does protect gay and transgender workers. This means that gay and transgender employees can sue their employers for employment discrimination under Title VII. Therefore, whether federal law protects gay and transgender workers from discrimination currently depends on location. In some places it does, in other places it does not. This creates what's called a "circuit split." This means courts are split on the issue. The Supreme Court's decision will set the law for the whole country. Many states do not have laws prohibiting employment discrimination against gay and transgender people Title VII is federal law so it applies across the entire country. Because many states do not have strong employment discrimination laws, Title VII is very important. If you live in a state that does not protect gay or transgender employees, Title VII is your only protection. Therefore, millions of gay and transgender Americans will be left with no protection if the Supreme Court decides Title VII does not protect them. The Court will hear arguments on gay and transgender employment discrimination on October 8 The court will hear oral arguments in these cases on October 8, 2019. Next, the Court will issue decisions. This will likely happen in the next several months. However, it's possible the Court could dodge the issue and resolve the cases on procedural grounds. Accordingly, the Court may not definitely resolve the issues raised in these cases at this time. The Supreme Court will decide whether employers can discriminate against gay and transgender workers under federal law only Fortunately, California law does protect gay and transgender people from employment discrimination. Therefore, whatever the Supreme Court decides, California law will still protect gay and transgender workers from employment discrimination. If you believe an employer has discriminated against you, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For updates on these cases and more, follow us on Twitter....

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