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California September 2019 HR Updates

Emily Hartman /
Text: "Regulatory Update"

Every month we cover timely federal and state legislative and regulatory employment updates. Check out what you need to know and gain compliance tips to help you stay on top of HR the right way.

Anti-harassment Training Deadline Extended

Who: California employers with 5+ employees

When: Effective Immediately (deadline has moved from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021)


Governor Newsom has signed new legislation into law that extends the sexual harassment prevention training deadline from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021.

This extension applies to all California employers with 5 or more employees who must provide 2 hours or more of interactive training to supervisory employees and 1 hour of interactive training to nonsupervisory employees.

If your employees or supervisors took interactive training this year, they’ll be set until 2021. If no one took training this year, ensure they’re trained in 2020. New hires must be trained within six months of their hire date. Everyone must complete the training every two years.

The extension does not apply to seasonal workers, temporary employees, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, and other employees who work less than 6 months. It may be necessary to train these workers earlier in 2020 to ensure compliance.

With the delay of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s (DFEH) training modules, employers now have more time to decide if they want to use the DFEH provided trainings or use their own modules. KPA has several anti-harassment trainings that meet all of California’s requirements.


Although there is more time, you should keep working toward the 2020 deadline.

Additional Resource

SB 778

Meal Breaks Must Be 30 Minutes

Who: California employers

When: Effective Immediately


In the court case, L’Chaim House, Inc., et al. v. Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, about employee on-duty meal breaks at a residential care facility, the California Court of Appeals First Appellate District concluded that employees are entitled to a 30-minute meal break, regardless of if that time is on- or off-duty.


  • Review your policies and handbooks to ensure on-duty meal break language is reflective of this decision.
  • Inform and train your managers and supervisors to ensure they’re aware of the required 30- minute meal break, regardless of whether it’s on- or off-duty.

Arbitrating Unfair Competition Claims Is Okay

Who: California employers

When: Effective Immediately


A state court ruled that an employer can require an employee to arbitrate his unfair competition claim (UCL). Although California’s unfair competition law is about fair competition, it does cover employees; for example, the failure to pay wagers could be filed as a UCL claim.

The ability to arbitrate a UCL claim has to do with the type of relief the employee or plaintiff is seeking. If an individual files a claim on behalf of the general public, employers can’t force arbitration, but if the claim seeks relief for an individual or a group of similar individuals, it’s not considered a claim on behalf of the general public and can be forced into arbitration.


  • As unfair competition claims come up, work with your legal counsel to review whether or not the case could qualify for arbitration.

Be sure to also check out this month’s federal regulatory updates.

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