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2019 Year End Employment Law Review – California

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Christina Davis, LMC People

California business owners know how challenging it can be to stay in compliance with the ever-changing employment laws! LMC People has created a review of the changes California made in 2019 that may affect businesses in 2020.

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Training

Effective August 30, 2019, California employers with at least five employees are required to provide sexual harassment training according to the guidelines set forth by California Government Code section 12950.1. The guidelines include providing management with two hours and non-management employees with one hour of interactive (not video) training within six months of their hire date. Training must be completed by January 1, 2021.

Discrimination and Harassment

Effective January 1, 2020, California became the first state to prohibit discrimination of hair texture and protective hairstyles (such as afros, twists, dreadlocks, braids, or cornrows) under Senate Bill 188, CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair).

Effective January 1, 2020, the deadline to file an allegation of harassment in the workplace was extended from one year to three years from the date of the alleged harassment. Employees who plan to sue for harassment must first file the allegation with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA).

Disability and Leave Management

Effective January 1, 2020, employers with at least 15 employees are required to provide employees with 30 days of paid leave and an additional 30 days of unpaid leave when an employee donates an organ. Prior to January 1, 2020, employers were only required to provide 30 days of paid leave.

Effective January 1, 2020, the consequences to employers for failing to provide a safe and clean private lactation space for lactating mothers have significantly increased. Employers are required to have a policy documented in the handbook that outlines the lactating employee’s right to request a lactation space.

Effective July 1, 2020, the Paid Family Leave will increase to eight weeks, up from six weeks previously.

Wage and Hour Laws

Effective January 1, 2020, California Supreme Court has adopted the ABC Test to determine if a worker can be classified as an independent contractor. An independent contractor a) is free from control and direction of the company for the performance of his/her work; b) performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s business; and c) is “customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”

California’s Wage Orders have previously required employers to provide reporting pay if an employee shows up for work but is sent home because of lack of work. The California Court of Appeals now says that employees may also be entitled to reporting pay if they are required to call in advance to confirm if they are needed for the run/shift.

Effective January 1, 2020, employees may now demand penalties from their employer for failure to pay on time. Penalties are $100 for the first violation, $200 for each subsequent violation, and 25% of the total payment that was late.

Effective January 1, 2020, employers with up to 25 employees must pay a minimum wage of $12/hour; employers with more than 25 employees must pay at least $13/hour. (Local minimum wage ordinances may exceed the state-mandated minimum wages. Employers must pay the higher rate.)

For more information or to schedule sexual harassment training in person or via video or webinar, please contact Christina Davis at

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