Governor Newsom’s recent list of new employment laws, set to go into effect January 1, 2022, includes a number of changes to wage theft repercussions, employee severance agreements, leaves of absence, and more. Among these additions is SB 331, which expands the state’s restrictions on the use of non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in settlement agreements for employment law matters.
Starting in 2022, SB 331 will prohibit non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions for claims of harassment, assault, and discrimination based on any protected category. This law expands upon SB 1300 which became effective in 2019, prohibiting employers from requiring non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in sexual harassment suits only. The passage of SB 331 means that claims related to age, race, and disability also will be protected from employer non-disclosure provisions in California.
SB 331 also requires employers to include clearly stated provisions in the copy of employee separation or settlement agreements. More specifically, if an employer requires their staff to enter a non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreement, or any other agreement related to the employee’s separation, the provision must incorporate this clause from SB 331:
“Nothing in this agreement prevents you from discussing or disclosing information about unlawful acts in the workplace, such as harassment or discrimination or any other conduct that you have reason to believe is unlawful.”
Lastly, SB 331 calls for employers to notify employees of their right to an attorney after entering into a separation agreement. Employers will now have to allow five days minimum for the employee to review and voluntarily sign the agreement.
For a deep dive into the full list California’s new employment laws, be sure to visit these online sources:
- The North Bay Business Journal provides an easy-to-read overview of California’s new employment laws for 2022. The article references changes to overtime for agricultural field workers, minimum wage for disabled persons, expanded family leave, and much more.
- The California Employment Law Report provides a preparation checklist for employers to consider before Newsom’s string of laws go into effect. The article discusses the importance of updating employee handbooks for AB 1033 compliance, updating severance agreements, and more.
- Littler takes a look at new employment laws for 2022 on a national level and references new laws in 19 states, not including California. The article also brings up federal changes to wage and hour laws, COVID-19 legislature, and vaccine mandates for the healthcare industry.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.
Reddock-Wright has also launched her own radio show, Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright, airing on Tavis Smiley’s new KBLA Talk 1580 radio station on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. PT with replays on subsequent Sundays. Listeners may tune-in by downloading the APP @kbla1580 and call the PowerLines at 1-800-920-1580.
For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.