Changes to Sexual Harassment Laws Could Open California Employers to Increased Liability

Category: Published Articles
Date: Feb 1, 2019 04:27 PM

Jesse Maddox featured in San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Orange County Register Articles

On January 1, 2019 an abundance of new laws took effect in California. One law in particular, SB1343, now makes it easier for employees to bring sexual harassment lawsuits against their employers before a jury - and businesses are going to have a tougher time settling those lawsuits. In these San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Orange County Register articles, Partner Jesse Maddox discusses the changes SB 1343 brings, including new mandatory harassment training, and the potential impact on the number of lawsuits filed.

“Under the previous laws a single offense of harassment wouldn’t necessarily merit a lawsuit, or those actions would often be dismissed at the summary judgment stage,” explains Jesse Maddox. “And when cases did make their way to the Supreme Court, the court would often decide that it just occurred on one occasion so it wasn’t that severe.”

But the “severe or pervasive harassment” legal standard has been removed under the new laws – and that changes everything.

“This will eliminate the court’s ability to throw out insubstantial cases, and it will allow for a single incident of harassment to be a triable offense,” Maddox said. “So if there was an incident that involved touching — even though it might have happened just once — that type of case will now make its way to a jury.”

This article also highlights SB1343’s requirement that all employers with at least 5 employees provide two hours of harassment prevention training to supervisory employees and one hour of harassment prevention training to non-supervisory employees in 2019 and every two years thereafter. 

Read the full article.   

 Liebert Cassidy Whitmore has extensive experience providing harassment training to California organizations.  As preventative training experts, we are uniquely qualified to provide your organization and employees the training they need under these new California laws.  To learn more about our harassment training program, please contact us at 

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