The year 2019 brought many changes to California employment laws. From new sexual harassment training regulations to the ABC Test for independent contractors, employers all across the state had to move fast to comply with these new laws to avoid lawsuits.

However, yet another change in state laws could leave employers facing more risk from discrimination lawsuits.

2019 law extended the FEHA statute of limitations

In October 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 9 into law, which extended the statute of limitations under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In the past, employees had one year to report an incident of:

  • Discrimination;
  • Harassment; or
  • Retaliation.

The recent law change extended the statute of limitations to three years. Employees now have three years to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. They also have an additional year to file a civil lawsuit.

What does this mean for employers?

Discrimination lawsuits can be a considerable point of stress for employers. They pose a serious risk to the company – both in terms of finances and the company’s reputation. Extending the statute of limitations to three years could only increase that stress.

In three years, employers might no longer have valuable information pertaining to a discrimination case, such as:

  • The employee’s record;
  • Documentation of the employee complaint; or
  • Witnesses of the incident.

Therefore, the extension of the statute of limitations should directly affect the way employers manage complaints of discrimination and keep records of these incidents. Proactively addressing the strategies for preventing discrimination and maintaining records can help businesses protect themselves in the long run.