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Most of us live our lives in relatively concentrated spheres. We go to work. We spend quality time with family and friends. We have cultural, community or religious affiliations that require some level of active involvement. In the busyness of everyday life, it’s difficult—but also important—to keep up with changes to laws that affect the major aspects of our lives.

Effective January 2020, California has new laws in effect dealing with discrimination in the workplace that every employee should know about.

What are the new laws?

  • California has officially extended the statute of limitations on discriminatory employment practices from one to three years. This means that you have longer to file a complaint about unlawful behavior in your workplace. You now have up to three years. This can be helpful in many scenarios. It’s possible that you would need time to work up the courage to file the paperwork or to process the situation emotionally before pursuing legal action. These new limitations give individuals more flexibility and the chance to think deeply about their options—possibly even change their mind and pursue legal action later.
  • The state has also created clearer guidelines for what sexual harassment training must entail.
  • California has made sexual harassment training mandatory for employers with five or more workers. Employers now need to provide at least two hours of training every two years, and new employees who are moving into supervisory roles need to receive their training within six months.

These new laws are positive steps on a path that will never lead to perfection. If you find yourself in a workplace situation that feels discriminatory or wrong in some other way, remember that you have rights. No form of discrimination or harassment is acceptable, and the law supports your right work in a respectful environment.