Following in the wake of the #MeToo movement, two new bills adopted by the California Legislature will expand the temporal scope of state-law harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and sexual assault claims. The first of these two, Assembly Bill 9 (“AB 9”), increases the time limit for individuals to file a discrimination, harassment, or retaliation claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Filing such a claim is an administrative prerequisite to suing under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. AB 9 will raise the current one-year time limit on filing this administrative claim to three-years, extending the practical statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit under FEHA to four years (e.g. three years to file the administrative claim, and then one year thereafter to file a civil lawsuit).
The second bill, AB 1510, amends last year’s Assembly Bill 1619 (“AB 1619”). AB 1619 expanded the statute of limitations for adult victims of sexual assault to the greater of ten years after the last incident of assault or three years after discovery of the assault. However, AB 1619 only acted prospectively, applying only to claims brought on or after January 1, 2019. Assembly Bill 1510 (“AB 1510”) amends the scope of AB 1619 so that it revives certain, otherwise time-barred civil claims where those claims:
- (1) Arise out of sexual assault or other inappropriate conduct by a physician at a student health center from Jan. 1, 1988 to Jan. 1, 2017;
- (2) Seek damages of greater than $250,000; and
- (3) Would otherwise have been time barred prior to Jan. 1, 2020.
Taken together, these two bills have been framed as part of California’s continued response to the #MeToo movement. However, as Hogan Lovells attorney Tao Leung writes in a recent article, the true impact of these bills, if signed by Gov. Newsom, may be much greater than advertised. The employment lawyers at Hogan Lovells are experienced in helping employers navigate the changing landscape of labor and employment law. Anyone with questions is encouraged to reach out to the authors of this article, or the attorney with whom they normally work at Hogan Lovells.