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4 Major Updates to the California Fair Employment & Housing Act: What California Workers Need to Know

As of April 1, 2016, new amendments to the California Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA) took effect, enhancing some protections for employees while instituting some new requirements for employers.

The following provides an overview of these new FEHA amendments.

New FEHA Amendments

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The latest updates to the FEHA & their impacts

The latest updates to the FEHA include amendments that pertain to:

  1. The scope of FEHA – Expanding the coverage of the FEHA, this set of amendments dictates that out-of-state employees staffed by California employers can now be counted when determining whether that employer is covered by the FEHA. An employer now only has to have one employee in California (and a total of at least five employees) in order to be covered by the FEHA.Additionally, these updates extend protection beyond workers or employees, providing that unpaid interns and volunteers are also covered by the provisions of the FEHA (when their employers are covered by it).
  2. New policy requirements for employers – This amendment now requires California employers to have detailed policies and procedures for addressing harassment and discrimination complaints. Specifically, this update mandates that employers’ harassment and discrimination policies must:
    • Be written and include language regarding the fact that the FEHA prohibits discriminatory, retaliatory and/or harassing actions from supervisors, coworkers, and third parties
    • Be communicated to the employees
    • Clearly define the protocols and procedures for making internal complaints of discrimination and harassment with employers
    • Comply with all training and recordkeeping requirements dictated by the FEHA.
  1. Pregnancy disability leave – This set of FEHA amendments clarifies some of the terms for taking pregnancy disability leave while expanding the definition of who qualifies as an “eligible female employee.” In particular, the new updates provide that up to four months of pregnancy disability leave (PDL) can be taken for each pregnancy and that:
    • The four months of PDL do not have to be taken consecutively.
    • Transgender employees can qualify as eligible female employees.
    • Covered employers must post the updated PDL provisions in their workplaces.
  2. Other Expanded Protections – FEHA sections covering disability and religious accommodation have also been amended. Among other things, a “support animal” may now constitute an appropriate accommodation for disability, and employers cannot refuse to hire applicants in an effort to avoid having to accommodate their religious beliefs and/or practices.  The amendments also include detailed explanations of “hostile work environment” and “quid pro quo” for sexual harassment claims,

To view the complete text detailing the latest amendments to the FEHA, click here.

Contact a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer at Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP

If you have been the target of workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation, contact a Los Angeles employment lawyer at Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP to find out more about your legal options.

You can call us at (310) 575-2550 or email us via the contact form on this page to schedule a free initial consultation.

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