Assembly Bill 51, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, prohibits employers from requiring, as a condition of employment, that their employees agree to arbitrate all disputes. Companies and employees can still voluntarily enter into arbitration agreements, but employees can't be required to sign them. When they choose not to sign, the employer cannot retaliate. The law does not invalidate existing arbitration agreements.
When Assembly Bill 5 was signed into law in September, it codified the California Supreme Court's decision in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. That decision made it much more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.
About half of the states, including California, have state laws that protect people from job discrimination based on sexual orientation and, in many cases, transgender status. But in the rest, the LGBTQI community is not protected from workplace discrimination by state law.
In a recent set of rulings, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said there was "reasonable cause" to find that at least seven employers violated federal anti-discrimination laws. These employers allegedly used Facebook's ad targeting system to exclude women and older workers from even seeing job ads from their companies.
It is simple: retaliation is illegal. California employers cannot threaten, terminate or demote an employee in response to the employee engaging in a protected action, such as reporting discrimination. And most employers know this.