On September 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 778 to extend the deadline for employers to complete their Sexual Harassment Prevention Training. The deadline has been extended by a full year, from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. The new bill also allows covered employers who have provided anti-harassment training in 2019 to wait two full years before providing refresher training.
The purpose of the bill is to give employers sufficient time to provide these trainings in a manner that values their importance and provides a greater impact towards improving equality in the workplace. A recent professional association survey found that over 80% of Human Resources and Operations Managers are aware of the new training requirements, but had not booked the training for their employees nine months into 2019.
On August 9, 2019, Jennifer Grady, Esq. was featured on episode 456 of The Remarkable Results Radio, with host Carm Capriotto, to discuss Sexual Harassment in the workplace and what employers can do to prevent it.
Key Talking Points
During the radio show, Jennifer and Carm discussed important points on sexual harassment in the workplace including:
Two female employees at a California winery were subject to repeated sexual harassment by the winery’s general manager and then subsequently retaliated against by the company. A Los Angeles jury awarded $11 million dollars to the two women. Each woman received $1 million for past emotional distress; $1.5 million for future emotional distress and $3 million in punitive damages. In addition to the $11 million dollars to the women, their attorneys will also receive their attorney’s fees.
Ford announced it would pay up to $10.1 million to settle a racial- and sexual-harassment investigation at two Chicago plants.
GREEN CARD BASED ON MARRIAGEWEDDING SEASON SPECIAL
Before getting married, engaged couples should start preparing their application to apply for a Green Card based on marriage to their US citizen spouse so that they can apply as soon as they receive their marriage certificate. Just in time to commemorate the start of wedding season, The Grady Firm is offering $100 off on our “Gold” Green Card Application Package, now through May 20, 2019. Just mention the code, “LOVE”.
We offer several levels of service to fit any budget, beginning with our most economical Bronze package at $1,000. For applicants wanting more hands-on service, or for complicated cases, we have our Gold and Platinum packages.
*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.
On March 19, 2019, The Grady Firm, P.C. celebrated its seventh anniversary. Since its inception in 2012, the firm has grown from supporting startups in the Silicon Beach region of Los Angeles, to adding immigration and employment law departments for dynamic, rapid-growth international clients with a California presence. The Firm has added multiple attorney specialists in each discipline, and offices in Beverly Hills, Irvine, and San Diego, California. Our network of tech-savvy, multi-lingual attorneys are fluent in Spanish, Italian, German, and Farsi. They are licensed in California, and can practice immigration in all 50 U.S. states.
In addition, the firm has partnerships with intellectual property and non-profit attorneys licensed domestically in Texas, Louisiana, and Washington, and with attorneys that specialize in immigration, business, and real estate licensed internationally in Canada, Italy, and Germany.
The Grady Firm has a diverse roster of clients that work in the fields of automotive repair, communications, construction, entertainment, beauty and wellness, fashion, life science, landscape construction and maintenance, marketing/branding, nightclubs, professional services, restaurants, retail, sports coaching, software engineering, startups, technology, and transportation.
Over the past year, we have broadened the scope of our immigration practice to include H-2B visas for ski resort and landscape industry employees, in addition to already helping our clients obtain visas, Green Cards, and citizenship based on family relations, investment or employment through the EB-1, E-2, EB-3, E-3, EB-5, F-1, H-1B, L-1, J-1, O-1, P, and TN categories.
We expanded our employment law practice as outside employment counsel/Human Resources support to our corporate clients that need help hiring, firing, and disciplining their employees, and bringing top talent to the United States from abroad. In particular, our firm helps Human Resources departments stay compliant with California’s new Sexual Harassment Prevention law that mandates training for employers with 5+ employees to train their employees on sexual harassment prevention biannually, and within six months of hire or promotion of supervisors.
The Grady Firm thanks its attorneys, clients, and referral partners for their support and confidence over the years.
On September 30, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law S.B. 1343, which now requires that employers with 5 or more employees in California provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct training to non-managerial employees, and 2 hours for managerial employees once every two years. Managerial employees must receive training within 6 months of hire or promotion. New hires must receive training within 6 months of hire.
BY WHAT DATE MUST EMPLOYEES BE TRAINED?
Originally, all managerial and non-managerial employees must have received training by January 1, 2020. However, Governor Gavin Newsom extended this deadline in September 2019 with SB 778 to January 1, 2021. Training must then be completed every two years thereafter. New hires and Supervisors must be trained within 6 months of hire, or promotion to supervisor.
As companies grow and evolve over time, it soon becomes clear that they will outgrow their employee and operations policies–that is, if they even had any in the first place! The best time for a CEO, COO, CFO, and Human Resources Department is to reassess these policies is at the end of the year, and to roll out new policies at the start of a new year. Every January, there are changes that will take place anyway (such as updated IRS mileage reimbursement rates and local minimum wage rates), so it’s a good time to include policy updates when you provide this information to employees all at once. There are numerous policies you can begin revising now to issue to your staff in January. Read further to begin your end of year action plan:
1. Employee Handbook
The first item that should be addressed is the company Employee Handbook. If your company does not have one, or has not updated an existing one in more than a year, it’s time to speak with an attorney about creating or updating your Handbook. In fact, for companies that have more than 5 employees, a Handbook is a no-brainer because it will have clauses in it that you are required to provide to employees (for example, Pregnancy Disability Leave is available for employees at companies with 5 or more employees, and the Employee Handbook is the best place to provide this information to employees). Besides using the Handbook as the opportunity to explain all of the California mandatory leave-laws, paid sick leave time, and cell phone reimbursement policy, you can use this as a forum to explain the company’s social media, use of technology, dress code, tardiness, absentee, and drug/alcohol use policies. You can also outline which behaviors will result in discipline or termination. Continue reading →
On September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed over a dozen bills into law with the intent on making the Golden State the leader in the nation on the much-analyzed and discussed topic of sexual harassment.
Governor Brown signed his last bill on Sunday night. Over his career, he signed nearly 20,000 bills, including 1,016 this year. The new laws, on a range of issues from climate change to criminal justice to gender issues, place California on the “left coast” politically. Brown’s ambitions can be summarized by his statement that, “We are going to be the moral compass and the policy trendsetter of the country.”
While these new laws will benefit employees and address serious and relevant issues, they will continue to place more demands on employers across California who attempt to comply with the most legislated corporate territory in the country.
A full list of Governor Browns approvals and vetoes can be found in his Legislative Update. Of the dozens of bills signed into law on September 30, the most relevant on this topic include the following: Continue reading →
As Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual harassment in the work place dominates the headlines on the heels of other scandals involving Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, President Trump, Billy Bush, and former President Bill Clinton, it is time to explore ways that we all can take tangible action to help make sexual harassment and violence extinct, whether it is through awareness, outreach, personal restraint/responsibility, and/or formal training. While claims against powerful individuals continue to surface in the media and on social media, and companies adjust their response polices, one thing is clear: sexual claims are very real, very expensive, and very destructive.
California legislators continue to create new and revise old laws. A summary of the changes for 2017, and annual best practices recommendations, are provided below:
Take note of increase to minimum wage and update in payroll/ with payroll processor
Advise employees of decreased mileage reimbursement to 53.5 cents per mile
Post updated federal, state, and local ordinance posters in common areas
Use updated I-9 form by January 21, 2017
Distribute Notice to Employee to reflect changes in wages or company polices within 7 days of the change
Update Employee Handbook (annually) and conduct Performance Reviews
Ensure personnel files are up to date with signed documents (including Anti-Harassment policy and Arbitration Agreement, among others)
Schedule Sexual Harassment training
As of January 1, 2017, the minimum wage has been increased to $10.50 per hour in California for employers with 26 or more employees, and remains at $10.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
In addition, several cities will see an additional increase in the minimum wage. The following is a short list of cities with more expansive minimum wages for employers of all sizes, unless otherwise noted: Continue reading →
While sexual harassment has been in everyone’s vocabulary since Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five graced screens in 1980, it has become a topic of increased importance and media coverage as more and more sexual harassment claims are brought against celebrities such as Bill Cosby, President-Elect Donald Trump, and former President Bill Clinton. While you or your employees may not identify with these over-the-top personalities in positions of power, sexual harassment claims are very real and very expensive.
For example, a recent claim against the popular P.F. Chang’s China Bistro chain cost the company $1 million in response to two employees’ claims that they were repeatedly sexually harassed and were subjected to a hostile work environment. According to the arbitrator’s written order, both women said they were subjected to offensive comments and conduct from the male kitchen staff at the restaurants, including jokes about sex, remarks about female workers’ bodies, and kissing and whistling noises aimed at female employees as they walked by. In addition, one of the women said she saw a group of male kitchen employees watching a pornographic video on a smartphone, and she frequently heard the cooks singing sexually explicit songs in the rear of the restaurant in University City. The reality is that these activities occur more often than you might think.
Sexual Harassment claims are on the rise and can cost employers significantly in terms of time, money, and lost productivity. According to the EEOC, over 1,700 complaints of discrimination based on sex (pregnancy or sexual harassment) were filed in California in 2014. When there is a sexual harassment claim, both sides can lose–in addition to the social, economic, and psychological effects suffered by victims of harassment, these complaints cost employers millions of dollars in legal fees and lost opportunities. Continue reading →