Today's Law As Amended

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SB-419 Legislature: Whistleblower protection and retaliation prevention.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.

 Section 9149.32 of the Government Code is amended to read:

9149.32.
 For the purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Interfere” means to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or command, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or command a legislative employee who attempts to make a protected disclosure.
(b) “Legislative employee” means an individual, other than a Member of either house of the Legislature, who is, or has been, employed by either house of the Legislature. “Legislative employee” includes volunteers, interns, fellows, and applicants.
(c) “Protected disclosure” means a communication that is both of the following:
(1) Made by a legislative employee in good faith alleging that any of the following engaged in, or will engage in, activity that may constitute a violation of any law, including sexual harassment, or of a legislative code of conduct:
(A) A Member of the Legislature.
(B) A legislative employee.
(C) A person who is neither a Member of the Legislature nor a legislative employee whose behavior affects a Member or legislative employee who is engaged in a work-related activity.
(2) Protected under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 12900) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) or made to any of the following entities:
(A) The Senate Committee on Rules, or its publicly identified designee.
(B) The Assembly Committee on Rules, or its publicly identified designee.
(C) The Joint Committee on Rules, or its publicly identified designee.
(D) A state or local law enforcement agency.
(E) A state agency authorized to investigate potential violations of state law.
(F) An individual with authority over the legislative employee, or another legislative employee who has authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance.
(d) “Retaliate” means to take any action that would dissuade a reasonable individual from making or supporting a protected disclosure, including issuing a reprisal, threatening, coercing, or taking any similarly improper action against a legislative employee who makes a protected disclosure.
(e) “Use of official authority or influence” includes promising to confer, or conferring, any benefit; effecting, or threatening to effect, any reprisal; or taking, or directing others to take, or recommending, processing, or approving, any personnel action, including an appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, performance evaluation, suspension, or other disciplinary action.

SEC. 2.

 Article 12 (commencing with Section 9149.38) is added to Chapter 1.5 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:

Article  12. Legislative Discriminatory Harassment Retaliation Prevention Act
9149.38.
 This article shall be known and may be cited as the Legislative Discriminatory Harassment Retaliation Prevention Act.
9149.39.
 For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Discriminatory harassment” means harassment based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status.
(b) “Legislative advocate” means an individual whose activities include communicating directly or through his or her agent with a Member of the Legislature, or any officer or employee thereof, for the purpose of influencing legislative action.
(c) “Legislative employee” means an individual, other than a Member of the Legislature, who is, or has been, employed by either house of the Legislature. “Legislative employee” includes volunteers, interns, fellows, and applicants.
9149.40.
 (a) A house of the Legislature shall not discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against a legislative advocate or a legislative employee because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 12900) of Division 3), opposed any practice actionable under Section 51 or 51.9 of the Civil Code, or filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in any proceeding relating to a complaint of discriminatory harassment made pursuant to those laws. A vote of the house or the deliberation of legislative matters within its jurisdiction shall not be considered an act to discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against a legislative advocate or a legislative employee for purposes of this subdivision.
(b) A violation of this section is subject to a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(c) This article does not limit either of the following:
(1) The application of any other rights or remedies under federal or state law.
(2) The authority conferred upon the Attorney General, any state or federal law enforcement agency, or any other commission, department, or agency authorized to investigate the Legislature.
(d) The civil fine imposed under this article is in addition to those provided by any other federal or state law, including Section 1102.5 of the Labor Code and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 12900) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
9149.41.
 Each house of the Legislature shall implement a system to maintain a record of each discriminatory harassment complaint made to that house for a period of at least 12 years after the complaint is made.
SEC. 3.
 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
To enable victims and witnesses of discriminatory harassment to come forward as soon as possible without fear of retaliation, it is necessary that this bill take effect immediately.