For many, 2021 seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye. The new year is a time for everyone to prepare for the new laws around employment that go into effect in 2022, and California is no exception.
Most employers have to start looking ahead months in advance to keep up with the pace of changing regulations. For those who are still trying to keep up with it all, the Silenced No More Act going into effect is certainly one of the most prevalent changes to employment law that Californians should look out for in 2022.
SB-820 passes the torch to SB-331
Senate Bill No. 331 covers settlement agreements and releases as they relate to employment. This continues the thread from SB-820 of 2019, which was commonly referred to as the Silenced No More Act.
SB-820 effectively prohibited the inclusion of confidentiality clauses that relate to sexually related harassment and discrimination in employment contracts. The changes made in SB-331 include extending those protections, furthering the situations restricted by this Act to also include agreements relating to settlement and severance.
In the past, the California Code of Civil Procedure didn’t allow any non-disparagement or confidentiality agreements if they prevented harassment or discrimination claims based on sex from being disclosed. Under SB-331, the protection applies to discrimination and harassment claims related to any protected basis.
Additionally, there are more obligations now in place when a claim is asserted with an administrative agency or in civil court. These obligations also apply to any claim that has been addressed before the litigation.
Some laws tend to be in such a perpetual state of flux that it’s not hard to be left behind if you’re not paying attention – and missing a critical update to employment law may result in severe legal and financial consequences. With the Silenced No More Act going into effect in 2022, it’s something that employers and employees alike should be mindful of.