Governor Gavin Newsom signed a slate of pro-employee legislation into law in the past month, including critical freelancer/independent contractor and family leave laws. In addition, businesses with more than 100 employees are now required to report data on salary by gender and race to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, providing more transparency into the wage gap.
Families in California should celebrate. Governor Newsom signed SB1383 into law, significantly expanding California’s family and medical leave coverage. The bill will go into effect January 1, 2021. Previously, only people who worked at companies of 50 or more employees were covered by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Now employees who work for smaller employers are covered, too.
According to the United Nations International Labor Organization, the economic crisis and the continued decline in working hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will impact 1.6 billion workers, or half the global workforce.
In the United States, employers are prohibited from harassing and/or discriminating against their employees by a variety of federal, state, and local laws. Exercising labor rights under any of these anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws is considered “protected activity.” After engaging in protected activity in California, an employee is shielded from workplace retaliation by the Labor Code, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and other whistleblower protection statutes.
America, and California in particular, has always been a place that believes in equality. However, individuals haven’t always practiced what they preach. The past several hundred years have been a long, uphill battle to help ensure everyone in the US is truly equal. In fact, August 26th was the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, when white women were officially granted the right to vote – a watershed moment for womens’ equality in the US.