The new year brings new laws for California employers to grapple with. We highlight the most significant new employment laws affecting California employers as of January 1, 2018.  Companies based in California or with operations in California are encouraged to review their policies and procedures in light of these developments.
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On October 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a formal letter on behalf of the United States Department of Justice stating the DOJ’s official position that Title VII “does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status,” officially retracting the DOJ’s previous position under the Obama Administration and setting up a direct conflict with the EEOC’s current position on the scope of Title VII.
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The Trump Administration will leave in place an executive order signed by President Barack Obama, which bans sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination by federal contractors. President Obama signed the order in 2014. By doing so, he amended and expanded previous executive orders signed by Presidents Nixon and Clinton, which ban discrimination by federal contractors on the basis race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, status as a parent, and age.
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On November 3, 2015, Houston voters rejected Proposition 1, a broadly-worded human rights ordinance that would have made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of, among other things, gender identity. Opposition to that ordinance coalesced around the issue of restrooms, with many citizens expressing fear that the law would allow men to use women’s restrooms.
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In its recent decision in David Baldwin v. Dep’t of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080 (July 15, 2015), the EEOC ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, despite the fact that Title VII does not explicitly include sexual orientation or gender identity in its list of protected bases.
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Executive Order 13672 went into effect on July 21, 2014 and amended Executive Order 11246 by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes. Executive Order 13672, however, applies only to contracts entered on or after July 21, 2014.
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CNN is reporting that a Colorado school has decided that a 6-year-old boy, who identifies as a girl, and whose family is raising her as a girl, must use the boy’s bathroom or the staff or nurse’s bathroom for sick children.  The family is worried about the stigmatizing impact this would have, and is worried

In what has roundly been hailed as a landmark decision, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) held in Macy v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (April 20, 2012) that, although no federal statute explicitly prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity, transgender individuals may nonetheless state a claim for sex discrimination under Title VII.


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