While most of us are starting to think about how we are going celebrate the New Year, few of us give much thought to how the laws will change come the New Year.  Since many of these changes will be significant, it is important to keep them in mind.  Some of the key changes that will take place are the following:

Increase to Minimum Wage

The State minimum wage will increase in 2019.  Businesses with 26 or more employees will have to pay their employees a minimum of $12.00 per hour under California law.  Small Businesses with 25 or fewer employees will have to pay their employees a minimum of $11.00 per hour under California law.

Of course, the minimum wage where you are can be higher than the minimum required by state law.  Certain cities and/or counties have minimum wage ordinances that have higher requirements than state law.  For example, in the City of Los Angeles the current minimum wage for businesses with 26 or more employees is already $13.25 per hour, and the current minimum wage for businesses with 25 or fewer employees is already $12.00 per hour.

Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Employers with 5 or more employees must provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training and education to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of such training to all non-supervisory employees in California, by January 1, 2020. Training and education must be provided once every two years thereafter.

Businesses may conduct the anti-sexual harassment training with other employees, as a group, or individually.  Also, the training need not be done all at once and can be broken up into shorter time segments, as long as the two-hour requirement for supervisory employees and one-hour requirement for non-supervisory employees is reached.

New Mother’s Lactation Accommodation Rights

Businesses can no longer force new mothers to use a restroom for lactation.  As of 2019, businesses must provide their employees a private area that is near the employee’s work area as a lactation accommodation.

Confidentiality Provisions in Sexual Harassment Settlement Agreements

In a series of new laws stemming from the #MeToo movement, settlement agreements involving sexual harassment claims cannot prevent or prohibit an employee from testifying in an administrative, legislative or judicial proceeding concerning the alleged criminal conduct or sexual harassment or otherwise disclosing the facts of sexual harassment.  Settlement agreements for sexual harassment claims with confidentiality provisions are void and unenforceable.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is not legal advice. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal advice unless and until it is formally retained, and an attorney client contract is signed. Each case is unique. The laws may or may not apply to your particular situation. This should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have laws and regulations that differ substantially from one another. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal services, or practice law outside of the State of California. You should always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding any specific legal issue. If you have any questions about your rights, it is best to speak with an experienced employment attorney.