California’s new sexual harassment rules relating to settlements

| Nov 2, 2018 | Sexual Harassment |

Under the current laws, employees and employers have been able to negotiate settlement agreements over sexual harassment claims. These settlement agreements have traditionally contained nondisclosure provisions that prevented either of the parties from talking about the sexual harassment allegations and the amount of money for which the cases settled. However, on Jan. 1, 2019, Senate Bill No. 820 will change this in the state of California.

The new bill prevents both private and public employers from creating settlement agreements with nondisclosure clauses that pertain to:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual discrimination
  • Failure to stop sexual discrimination and harassment
  • Retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and discrimination

In spite of these new prohibitions relating to settlement agreements and nondisclosure, employers may still demand that the financial amounts relating to settlements remain undisclosed. The victims will also be permitted to retain their anonymity in settlements so that they do not have to face more embarrassment than they already have.

The primary goal of Bill No. 820 is to prevent instances of serial sexual harassment, in which the same harasser continues to victimize workers again and again. Some believe that the legislation could result in more litigation — as accused parties will be more apt to fight to keep their records and employment pasts clean in the face of accusations.

If you’re currently being sexually harassed in California, you might want to discuss your legal rights and options with a qualified legal counselor. Sexual harassment laws are changing quickly and victims of this unconscionable behavior are about to have more power to stop sexual harassment than they’ve ever had before.

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